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Proposed $20K-per-student high school hockey academy raises enrolment concerns

Kelvin High School has proposed a hockey academy, but the Winnipeg School Division has raised concerns about what it will do to enrolment. The students who could be drawn from all over the province, and even across Canada, would enter Kelvin as school-of-choice students, according to the division.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Kelvin High School has proposed a hockey academy, but the Winnipeg School Division has raised concerns about what it will do to enrolment. The students who could be drawn from all over the province, and even across Canada, would enter Kelvin as school-of-choice students, according to the division.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2015 (1316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A proposed elite hockey academy for 44 boys at Kelvin High School could be bad news for Grade 8 students from outside the Kelvin neighbourhood hoping for a desk next fall.

No one has worked out any rules for how those 44 boys get accepted both academically and athletically, board chairman Mark Wasyliw said Monday.

Nor are there any rules worked out how they would compete for space with the hundreds of students who want schools-of-choice seats at Kelvin each year.

Trustees gave their approval in principle Monday night for Kelvin to develop a partnership agreement with Winnipeg-based RINK Hockey Academy, which would operate a hockey academy at the River Heights Community Centre arena at a cost of $20,000 per boy.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2015 (1316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A proposed elite hockey academy for 44 boys at Kelvin High School could be bad news for Grade 8 students from outside the Kelvin neighbourhood hoping for a desk next fall.

No one has worked out any rules for how those 44 boys get accepted both academically and athletically, board chairman Mark Wasyliw said Monday.

Nor are there any rules worked out how they would compete for space with the hundreds of students who want schools-of-choice seats at Kelvin each year.

Trustees gave their approval in principle Monday night for Kelvin to develop a partnership agreement with Winnipeg-based RINK Hockey Academy, which would operate a hockey academy at the River Heights Community Centre arena at a cost of $20,000 per boy.

The students would attend Kelvin for academics while following a heavy hockey schedule.

The academy’s teams would compete against other elite academies across Canada and the U.S.

The students who could be drawn from all over the province, and even across Canada, would enter Kelvin as school-of-choice students, the division said Monday.

The division says Kelvin has room for them — and, technically, that’s true.

Kelvin is at capacity again this year at 1,355 students, as it was last year, when almost half the student body were schools of choice.

Of those 1,357 students enrolled last year, 482 students lived outside the catchment area but within WSD, and 182 lived outside the division.

Once in, a schools-of-choice student stays until she or he graduates, so about one-quarter of those 664 schools-of-choice students would be new each year.

The division said it does not track how many students are turned away, but a few years ago Kelvin had a waiting list of 100 students seeking a spot.

Bottom line, hundreds of students in Grade 8 this year hoping to get in next fall through schools-of-choice would be competing against the 44 hockey players — with no rules set for how they would compete with each other.

Trustee Dean Koshelanyk complained to the board Monday night that the issue is being rushed with too little information: "Some students may want to go to Kelvin, but they may be prevented" because the 44 boys get dibs on spaces, Koshelanyk said.

"Kelvin High School accepts a large number of schools of choice students and non-catchment students every year. Usually all the spots for the upcoming year are full by March and since traditionally there has not been any openings after the spots are full, no wait list is kept. Student who will attend Kelvin as part of the hockey academy will be registered as part of the schools of choice group," a division official said Monday.

"We are at the initial stage of this project. Those type of issues will be negotiated in a final agreement," said Wasyliw, who could not say if Kelvin would have approval of students on an academic basis, or would simply have to accept whatever 44 boys RINK presented.

Pilot Mound School has the only other boys elite hockey academy in Manitoba, while there are girls’ academies at Shaftesbury High School, St. Mary’s Academy, and Balmoral Hall School.

Glenlawn Collegiate has a soccer academy, but it is non-profit unlike the hockey academies.

In other business Monday night, the WSD trustees agreed to conduct a review of ward boundaries to ensure an equal number of voters in all nine wards in 2018, given housing growth in the division’s northwest corner.

Trustees backed Wasyliw’s proposals to develop an arts education strategy across the division, and to conduct a survey to determine equity in arts programs, teachers, and opportunities in each division school.

"Not all schools have the same resources, and many children have no access to the arts outside of school, he said.

"We don’t have a master plan for arts education in Winnipeg School Division," he said. "To develop an effective arts strategy, we need data.

"We often measure the wrong things in education," he said. "It specifically helps at-risk students — we still have a high drop-out rate," Wasyliw said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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