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Community Engagement

Community Engagement Questions and Answers | High Schools

Questions and Answers | High Schools

Q. 1. What is the high school engagement about?

As part of the CBE’s commitment to continuous improvement and supporting student success, we need to balance enrolment among our high schools to provide all students with a variety of course options, extracurricular activities, athletics and arts opportunities.

Twenty high schools throughout Calgary will be part of this engagement. Within the next five years, the CBE will have ten high schools operating at more than 100 per cent of their capacity, while seven high schools will be operating between 50 and 85 per cent of their capacity. Only three high schools will be operating within the balanced range of 85-100 per cent.

Q. 2. Why does student enrolment at a high school matter?
Student enrolment that is above or well below a school’s capacity (utilization rate) affects access, flexibility and choice for students.


The CBE aims to have a utilization rate between 85-100 per cent at each of our high schools, which gives students access to a wide range of option courses, increased flexibility in their timetable for required courses and provides greater opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. It also enables the school to make the most appropriate use of space and resources within their facility.

Another factor is that schools are funded based on student enrolment. Balancing enrolment in high schools across the CBE will help to even out funding and ensure all students have access to programs, services and supports.

Q. 3. How can I find my child’s designated high school?

Visit the CBE website - - to find your child’s current designated high school based on their primary home address and program choice. School designation is based on a student’s home address, not on the junior high or middle school they attend.

Step-by-step process

  • Search by Address – enter the primary address where your child lives
  • Using the View Program Options drop down menu, select the program your child plans to attend in high school (Regular, French Immersion, Spanish Bilingual, Arts-Centred Learning, International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement)
  • Filter by Grade Level – check Grade 10, 11 and 12
Q. 4. What is the timeline for the engagement?

Spring 2019 Online survey
Fall 2019 Feedback and input on in-scope factors
Spring 2020 Feedback and input on possible scenarios
Winter 2021 Feedback and input on proposed plans
Fall 2021 CBE will communicate decisions
Fall 2022 Implementation of changes

Q. 5. If schools are over capacity now shouldn’t the CBE do something sooner, 2022 is a long time away?

Changes we make at one high school will affect others. That is why our engagement process considers all of our high schools at the same time. This approach will allow us to make the most sustainable decisions for our system as a whole.

We do recognize there are current pressures at some high schools that may require action or decision prior to October 2021. Principals will work with their directors and others in the organization to develop interim strategies that address any pressures or challenges they are facing. With 82 junior high/middle and high schools involved in this engagement, this is the largest community engagement initiative ever undertaken by the CBE. The number of participants, complexity of aspects to be considered and limited resources will require a more lengthy process than is typical.

We are committed to working collaboratively with families to arrive at solutions that reflect the learning needs of current students given current and projected student enrolment.

Q. 6. Who will be impacted by potential changes made to balance enrolment in high schools?

The longer timeline of the high school engagement makes it unique because the students who are currently in high school will not be impacted by the implementation of any changes. Students who are in Grade 6 in the 2018-19 school year will be entering Grade 10 in the year the proposed changes will be implemented.

Use the following chart to see when your child will be impacted by potential changes to CBE high schools, based on their current grade:

School Year


Engagement launch


In scope factors and possible scenarios


Possible scenarios and proposed plans


CBE will share decisions and plan for implementing changes


Implement changes

Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9
Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10
Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11
Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 -
Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 - -
Q. 7. What schools are included in the high school engagement? What is the future utilization range (UR) at each school if changes arenot made?

Bowness UR=50-85%
Centennial UR=100-120%
Central Memorial UR=50-85%
Crescent Heights UR=85-100%
Dr. E.P. Scarlett UR=over 120%
Ernest Manning UR=over 120%
Forest Lawn UR=50-85%
Henry Wise Wood UR=50-85%
Jack James UR=50-85%
James Fowler UR=50-85%
Joane Cardinal-Schubert UR=over 120%
John G. Diefenbaker UR=100-120%
Lester B. Pearson UR=100-120%
Lord Beaverbrook UR=50-85%
Nelson Mandela UR=over 120%
Queen Elizabeth UR=85-100%
Robert Thirsk UR=85-100%
Sir Winston Churchill UR=100-120%
Western Canada UR=100-120%
William Aberhart UR=100-120%

Q. 8. What schools are NOT included in the engagement and why?

Some CBE high schools offer unique programming that supports student success and high school completion. These schools cannot accommodate other high school programming or students.

They include:

Q. 9. Is Chinook Learning Services included in the engagement?

Chinook Learning Services will continue to operate at Lord Beaverbrook High School and James Fowler High School. Both schools will be part of the engagement, so Chinook Learning Services’ staff, students and parents may want to participate in the engagement as decisions could impact them.

Q. 10. How could decisions potentially impact my child?

There are a few things we can do to balance enrolment and that are in-scope for this engagement. Potential changes mean some students may be designated to a school different from the currently designated high school. These changes could include:

  • Changing the communities that are currently designated to a specific school. Reviewing current boundaries and community designations.
  • Moving programs, which will redistribute students to schools that have available space
  • Adding an existing program to a school
  • Removing an existing program from a school
  • Changing the grades offered at an individual high school
Q. 11. How does the CBE determine the communities that are designated to a specific school (attendance area) and why?

The designation of communities to schools for both regular and alternative programs is a balance between the space available and the number of students anticipated from a given community.

Decisions also take into account the CBE’s Planning Principles:

  • minimize disruptions for students
  • provide program continuity from kindergarten to Grade 12
  • keep cohort groups of students together
  • allow students to attend school as close to home as possible
  • provide long-term sustainability
  • use space and resources effectively
  • provide equitable access for all students to quality learning environments

These principles are not a checklist and they are not mutually exclusive. They are principles that are used to guide our work.

Q. 12. When will the new north high school be built?

On March 23, 2018, the CBE received funding from Alberta Education to design a new high school on a site located in the north Calgary community of Coventry Hills. To date, the provincial government has not provided approval and funding to construct this high school. Once the provincial government provides funding for the construction of the new north high school, it will take approximately two years to complete.

Q. 13. How does the CBE decide where and when to build a new school?

The CBE does not decide where and when to build schools. Each year we submit a Three-Year School Capital Plan to Alberta Education. This plan includes our requests for new school construction and modernizations. Alberta Education decides where and when schools are built throughout the province and provides funding for those projects.

Before the CBE can request a new high school in our Three-Year School Capital Plan, the residential developers for the community must prepare the site. High school sites require larger land parcels that will service multiple communities. These sites are identified during the regional context study phase when community developments are planned for a minimum of 50,000 to 60,000 residents.

Q. 14. How is school capacity calculated?

School capacity is calculated using an Alberta Education formula that focuses on the “instructional” space of a school. Exempted space is deducted from the total capacity and includes:

  • areas leased to the public sector, non-profit groups, private schools, charter schools
  • decentralized administration space in schools

Exemptions are not granted for space leased to the private sector for non-private school use.

School Capacity Formula

Provincial capacity (school capacity) is determined by dividing the total instructional area by an area per student based on their grade configuration, plus Career and Technology Studies (CTS) spaces, gym and library spaces.

Provincial Net Capacity = Instructional Area + Rated Capacities
Area per student
Instructional Area = total area (m2) of all instructional space
Rated Capacities = CTS + Gyms + Physical Activity Room (PAR) + Libraries

Q. 15. How is school utilization calculated?

School utilization is based on a provincial formula that weights kindergarten students and students with severe complex learning needs. The graphic below illustrates how weighted enrolment is calculated based on Sept. 30 student enrolment each year:

  • Kindergarten student enrolment is divided in half in schools that offer ½ day programs, so a school with a total of 80 kindergarten students will only have 40 of them in the building at one time.
  • Students with severe complex needs require more space and resources for their learning program to be delivered, so student enrolment is multiplied by three.

Once the weighted enrolment is determined, utilization is calculated by dividing a school’s weighted enrolment by the provincial capacity.

Q. 16. How can I find out more about CBE high school programs, course options and activities?

There are many choices in high school and no one path suits everyone. High school has programs and pathways that lead to university entrance, college, technical schools, or directly to work. Planning is about finding the routes that support each student’s learning, goals, and interests.

Please visit the CBE high school webpage for more information and to see our high school information guides.

Q. 17. Is transportation available for high school students?

Most CBE high school students take Calgary Transit to get to school if it is not within walking distance. Please visit our Calgary Transit webpage for more information.

Q. 18. Can my child attend a high school other than their designated school?

Students can submit a Transfer Request form if they would like to attend a high school that is not their designated high school.

  • Transfer requests will be approved only if access to an academic program* that is not offered at the designated school (including space and resources) is available in the requested school/grade.
  • Transfer requests will not be granted on athletics programs.

The following requests will be considered in exceptional circumstances and only if space and resources at the requested school are available:

  • Peer group support
  • Transportation
  • Siblings who wish to remain together

*Academic program: a series of courses, which culminate in credit or credentialing at the 30 level.

Last modified: 7/29/2019 11:19 AM
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