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Livingstone Range to strike committee on student engagement, enrollment

Trustees want to know why students leave schools.
Livingstone Range School Board voted Nov. 14 to strike an ad hoc committee on student engagement and enrollment.
“It will be kind of like an exit interview,” school board chairman Brad Toone said. “We want to find out what is precipitating that, to find out if there are any programming needs we are not meeting.”
The need for such a committee was discussed at a school board committee of the whole meeting.
The need for a student engagement and enrollment committee resurface on the agenda of the Nov. 14 meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.
“We have talked about this off and on over the years,” superintendent Darryl Seguin said.
Livingstone Range has seen enrollment decline for a number of years.
“The question was really, where are they going?” Seguin said. “Is it anything reflective of our programming, schools or anything else?”
“We didn’t really have an answer to that.”
Seguin said that in order to get some answers, the school division could send a questionnaire to students and parents who are leaving a school.
The idea is similar to exit interviews businesses sometimes conduct when employees leave.
“Part of this would be just to have information so we know how to address the situation,” Seguin said.
Students often leave a school because the family is moving from the community for work-related issues or other things that are not related to the school.
If the reasons for a student leaving are school-releted, Livingstone Range official would like to be aware.
“It would be useful for us to know that, so we can adjust our programming to accommodate the needs of students,” Seguin said.
Seguin said it would also be useful to also know why families choose to home school their children, or to send them to other alternative programs and schools.
“Our perspective is we can do a really good job of the students that live within our boundaries, and we really want to,” Seguin said. “So if we understand their concerns a little bit more we can develop the programs and supports that are needed to be their main education provider.”
Trustee Lori Hodges said a student engagement and enrollment committee is important.
Trustee Lacy Poytress agreed.
“I don’t think this is something that is going away,” Poytress said.
Trustee Jim Burdett said at one time four buses took students from Orton each day to Livingstone Range schools.
Today, one bus goes into Fort Macleod and three others head to other communities outside Livingstone Range.
“I think it’s really important to figure out how to accommodate the needs of the kids living in our jurisdiction,” Burdett said. “I think this is a really good idea.”
Toone agreed the committee’s work will be important to Livingstone Range.
“It’s something that is really important, that we support our students and our families and make sure they have every opportunity to get their education in our communities,” Toone said.
Administration will bring back recommendations on committee structure.