BY RYAN WELLICOME
Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is has implemented a few changes and additions in Lacombe and Blackfalds as children throughout the area return to the classroom Sept. 1st.
The summer has been busy for WCPS with program changes being implemented at Wolf Creek Academy in Lacombe and the opening of Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus in Blackfalds and according to WCPS CEO and Superintendent of Schools Jayson Lovell, the organization is ready to go for the new school year.
“There is a lot of excitement in Wolf Creek,” Lovell said. “I am looking forward to seeing our students and our staff back to school on Thursday.”
The Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus opens its doors this fall to approximately 400 students (Grades 4-6) in its inaugural school year. It is opening on time and without delays, according to Lovell, and WCPS is breathing easier.
“They are sometimes a bit nerve-racking for a school division, those projects,” he said. “It’s taken a year to build it and we’re really pleased that it is on schedule and ready to go.”
The intermediate campus was born of WCPS’s need to accommodate a larger student population and Blackfalds’ steady population growth. “Of all of our communities, Blackfalds continues to grow incredibly quickly,” said Lovell.
Blackfalds’ population increased by 8.15% last year and has more than doubled since 2006.
“There has just been such unbelievable growth; we anticipated that we would just get to a point where we couldn’t accommodate and provide the same type of learning opportunities,” he said.
The addition of the school has created a restructure of grades among WCPS’s schools in Blackfalds. Iron Ridge Elementary Campus (previously Kindergarten to Grade 4) will now be Kindergarten to Grade 3 and Iron Ridge Junior Campus (previously Grades 5-9) will now house Grades 7-9.
“The board of trustees made that decision based on an understanding of each of the three sites and specifically what those sites can provide and specialize in,” Lovell said. “It’s challenging to really ensure that you are on the mark when it comes to designing and delivering programs that reflect the interests and the needs of the students and the community.”
According to Lovell, the new campus will emphasize extra-curricular activities and boast a number of opportunities for students. “(In the school) there is a very strong focus on extra-curricular offerings for students; fine arts will also be very strongly represented,” he said. “For example, they will have a very strong music program with a music specialist. We are really excited about the opportunities that (the intermediate campus) will bring.”
The elementary campus has undergone changes to its pickup/drop-off locations, allocating Broadway Ave. for bus pickup only, relegating parent/guardian pickup/drop-off zones to Minto St. and the gravel alleyway adjacent in order to alleviate traffic issues on Broadway Ave.
Lacombe Wolf Creek Academy (WCA) has seen a change in its secondary programming, having now included it with the outreach services at the Lacombe Outreach School. Students that were registered in the secondary program at Lacombe WCA have been transferred and are now registered as Lacombe Outreach School Students.