‘Traditional’ schools proving very popular in Delta

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Pebble Hill Elementary

Delta, BC – A more formal learning environment with a focus on manners, school-wide homework policies, and uniforms is proving to be a popular choice for Delta families.

The Delta School District introduced its first ‘Traditional School’ at Tsawwassen’s Pebble Hill Elementary in 2008. A ‘traditional’ setting provides a private school style, but in a public school setting. The Delta School District decided to offer this form of education, as a way of delivering choice to families. The more structured learning environment quickly proved to be a popular option.

Enrollment at Pebble Hill had been declining. From September 2006 to September 2007, the student population dropped from 184 students to 146. Once the school became traditional, enrolment started to increase, back up to 164 students in the 2010/2011 school year. Kindergarten numbers have nearly quadrupled from 12 students in 2008 to 43 students enrolled for the upcoming 2011/2012 school year.

The success at Pebble Hill prompted the district to open a second traditional school in North Delta the following year. Jarvis Traditional Elementary School opened its doors in September 2009. Enrolment jumped from 363 students in 2008 to 391 students in 2010. Parents supported the new school format for a variety of reasons.

“At Jarvis, the parents who have chosen the traditional school seem to be parents  who prefer schools with uniforms and with the increased attention to displays of  respectful behaviour, such as formal greetings and the emphasis on manners,” said  Ragini Kapil, Principal at Jarvis Traditional Elementary and formerly Principal at  Pebble Hill Traditional Elementary.

The traditional model offers parents a choice that was not available previously in the public school system, explains Garnet Ayres, Delta School District Deputy Superintendent. “All of our schools are fairly traditional in one sense of the word, but parents have responded to these changes positively and the increase in enrolment at each school has been an indicator of that,” he said.

Now, the Delta School District is proud to announce that Heath Elementary School will become a traditional school as of September 2011. This decision was made following a consultation process involving parents, students and staff, which garnered great support for a switch to a traditional model.

“I’m excited because this decision was very much made in community,” said Janet Lauman, Principal at Heath Elementary.

Heath Traditional Elementary School is located at 11364 72nd Avenue in North Delta. Registrations are now being accepted for the fall and already there is an upturn in enrolment.