The number of students enrolled in Grande Prairie Catholic schools is up from 2018. The GPCSD has a total of 5,599 students enrolled for the 2019/2020 school year, up from 5,397 students enrolled last year.

“It was a little over a 3.5 per cent growth so we’re pleased to see that,” says Superintendent of Schools Karl Germann.

“We do know that the growth is slowing a little bit in the city of Grande Prairie so it’s always nice to grow in a variety of grades and a variety of schools throughout the district,” he adds.

Germann says the biggest jump in enrollment is in schools in the City of Grande Prairie and Beaverlodge. Despite the increase, he says the turnover rate for families remains at an alarming 18 per cent.

“Normally, you would see five per cent turnover but we’re seeing in this whole Grande Prairie Region. People move in for work and a number of people move out for work.”

Germann says in the long term, they’d rather have families stick around, as it helps both the student and school staff.

“If we have a family for three years or more, we find that the academic achievement of the students increases by more than a year over year. If the students are in and out over the course of a year, the academic achievement isn’t as strong for kids.”

Elsewhere, the Peace Wapiti Public School Division has 5,989 students enrolled, with the most growth seen at Sexsmith Secondary School, Robert W. Zahara Public School, Whispering Ridge Community School, and Peace Wapiti Academy.

The Grande Prairie Public School Division also saw an increase, with the total student population growing by 90 students.