Windsor-Essex Catholic school board reports higher than forecasted enrolment numbers
23 elementary school teachers and three secondary school teachers have been hired
Higher than forecasted enrolments numbers for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) have led to the hiring of more than 20 new teachers between elementary school and secondary school.
Colleen Norris, superintendent of human resources with the region's Catholic school board, delivered a verbal report at Tuesday evening's board meeting explaining that almost 13,385 students are enrolled in WECDSB elementary schools, compared to the 13,250 forecasted.
Additionally, the school board enrolled 6,945 secondary school students, compared to the 6,825 that were forecasted.
As a result, the board was able to hire 11 new English-speaking elementary school teachers, 12 new elementary French class teachers, as well as three new secondary school teachers.
"We have some of our occasional teachers that have dedicated themselves to our board over a number of years and we are pleased to finally be able to offer them permanent positions," Norris said.
She added that Grade 9 enrolments accounted for the largest spike across secondary school levels.
"It's a great problem to have," said Norris. "We see a lot of growth in our specialized programs. We have families who are choosing, say our [International Baccalaureate] program, our French immersion program, our sports academies."
According to Norris, the spike in enrolment numbers is a sign that families are coming to Windsor.
"We have cohorts from Iraq, Syria [and] Nigeria," she said. "We see families moving to Windsor from areas in Ontario. It's got to be a sign that the economy here in Windsor is good and people are choosing this area."
This year's enrolment figures represent a pattern of growth for the Catholic school board.
Norris said the previous school year also recorded higher than expected enrolment numbers, adding that this is the first year that no teachers have been laid off at the beginning of the school year.
"Usually in the last couple of years, we start the school year with laid off teachers, and then we would recall them as the year began," said Norris. "We have increased numbers of classrooms and increased numbers of teachers, so obviously there is an impact by that level of growth."
Windsor-Essex Catholic schools aren't the only schools with more students than expected.
The Greater Essex County District School Board confirmed last week that approximately 400 more students than expected are enrolled in classes this year.