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Catholic board welcomes 13 new teachers as enrollment keeps climbing

Student population at St. Basil alone is more than 700; seven new classrooms established at St. Georges Avenue East school
Danny Viotto, Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (H-SCDSB) director of education, Sept. 20, 2023.

Enrollment is up for the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board for the second year in a row.

The H-SCDSB has attracted approximately 180 new students for the 2023-24 school year, said Danny Viotto, H-SCDSB director of education, in a report to the board at its meeting Wednesday evening.

In June 2023, the H-SCDSB projected that it would be the academic home to 3,623 elementary students and 705 secondary students. 

However, enrollment data for 2023-2024 shows there are 3,738 elementary students and 770 secondary students.

That means there are 115 more elementary students and 65 more high school students than projected in June.

With the increase in the number of students, the Huron-Superior board has created 13.2 new full-time equivalent teaching positions on top of the 13 full-time equivalent teaching positions added in the 2022-2023 school year.

The board has new infrastructure to accommodate elementary students, having built seven new classrooms and spending $750,000 on St. Basil Catholic School on St. Georges Avenue East.

“We repurposed certain areas of the school to create four brand new classrooms within the school, and then we added three portables due to significant increase in enrollment. We have over 700 students at St. Basil,” Viotto told SooToday after Wednesday’s meeting.

One factor contributing to the increased enrollment is the arrival of newcomers to Canada choosing H-SCDSB schools.

Out of the total enrollment numbers, approximately 113 are newcomers to Canada, with more continuing to register.

“We know that the highest number of newcomers to our board are from The Philippines,” Viotto said.

Another factor is experiential learning spaces such as the board’s St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre, Viotto added.

Wednesday’s board meeting also included the welcoming of former Our Lady of Lourdes principal Franca Spadafora as a new superintendent of education, St. Mary’s College Grade 11 student Kenzie Garson as a student trustee and Nick Ryma as the board’s new communications officer.

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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