News: Reprieve for kindergarten

Published in the August 25 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

Reprieve for kindergarten

Jason Scott cheered when he found out the kindergarten program at Riverdale Elementary School had been saved.

“Yahoo,” Scott said with a smile on Tuesday. “I was ecstatic.”

The community member and father of Griffin, 4, who is entering kindergarten this fall, is part of a group of parents who spent the summer working to save the kindergarten class that had been on the chopping block due to low enrolment numbers.

But on Tuesday, Edgar Schmidt, superintendent for Edmonton Public Schools, announced the class wouldn’t be cut as originally planned back in June.

“The community has done an outstanding job of promoting the school and letting people in the community know about what is going on,” Schmidt said.

“The kindergarten program will be offered for this school year.”

Parents at Riverdale school, 8901 101 Ave., spent the summer conducting surveys, putting up posters and speaking at daycares in an effort to ramp up enrolment numbers in the kindergarten program, which had only seven students registered in June.

Through an open house on Monday, the parent group was able to deliver a number of new registration forms to the school principal.

“We’re really happy,” said Mike Evans, president of the Riverdale Parent Advisory Council.

“We appreciate that they recognized the hard work of our community.”

Schmidt said 13 students are currently enrolled in the kindergarten program with one more registration pending.

Evans adds another parent who expressed interest on Monday could bump the total to 15.

Even though the class has been spared for at least this school year, Schmidt said the board would review enrolment numbers again next spring.

But that’s not scaring Riverdale parents.

“We’re going to keep working hard as a community and a parent advisory council to make sure we get the numbers and whatever else the schoolboard decides that we need to make sure the school goes for another 100 years,” Scott said.

For now, kids will head back to class on Sept 1.

But although Riverdale’s program has been saved, two other kindergarten programs in the city weren’t as lucky.

Schmidt said the kindergarten program at Donnan School and the English kindergarten program at Malmo School won’t be operating this coming school year due to low-to-zero enrolment.

Malmo’s Arabic Bilingual kindergarten program is still running.

There are currently 72 students from kindergarten to Grade 6 registered at Riverdale.

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