Kootenay Lake School District staff scramble to fix scheduling problems caused by My Education B.C. data system
A new student information system is causing issues at L.V. Rogers Secondary School, leaving some students with unwanted gaps in their timetables.
Some students at L.V. Rogers in Nelson and Prince Charles Secondary School in Creston are finding out the hard way that there just aren’t enough teachers available for the number of students enrolled for the new school year.
Most of the blame lies with a new data system being used province wide, called My Education B.C.
This program, which went live two weeks prior to the start of the school year, seems to be struggling with the volume of student information being translated over from past systems and has resulted in many students being without timetables.
This has in turn resulted in staffing issues as well as an emergency meeting Monday night to help sort out scheduling gridlock as schools struggle to determine just how many students are enrolled for classes.
“From my understanding data that was in the old system, which was stuff like student timetables etc. kind of didn’t translate into the new system and so they were lost and so the net result was a significant number of students without timetables,” said Paul Boscariol, president of the Nelson & District Teacher’s Association (NDTA).
Boscariol points out that the new data system has only exacerbated the staffing issue, which was in play before the system came online.
In July there was a meeting with the parents advisory committee members, which included some of the teachers, one of the administrators and the superintendent, Jeff Jones.
“The issues were brought forward about the staffing shortage and what was going to be done to alleviate the issue and at this point the data system was not in play, that didn’t come into the picture until late August,” he said.
Superintendent for Schools in School District 8, Jeff Jones, explained how this problem occurred and provided some insight into the problem, stating that staffing is based on projected enrollment, and those projections are done in February until the end of June.
Those numbers can fluctuate wildly when the school year actually begins, which can have negative effects on the students depending on how many teachers have been hired at that point in time.
“The school was staffed based on a projected decline in student enrolment. One of the challenges we face as a school district is until students show up and we see the whites of their eyes in September, we don’t know for certain who decided to return to our school, or who moved through the summer, or who is new to us,” Jones said.
These fluctuations, combined with the bigger problem of implementing a province wide change in data systems, are causing some schools to find themselves understaffed at such a crucial time.
“What happened this year was the timetable was developed with fewer teachers projecting small student enrolment, then we transitioned into My Education BC, which is the student information system,” Jones said.
“The new system, which has tons of promise and potential, has had a difficult time with the volume of the province coming online.
Jones said that the problems with the new system should be solved by next week, and steps have been taken to help alleviate some of the pressure, including the hiring of two new teachers at L.V Rogers and Prince Charles.
However, Boscariol said that a review of these added teachers isn’t slated until the beginning of the second semester, so whether or not that takes care of the situation remains to be seen.
Boscariol also added that the ever-present problem of financial support from the provincial government is also an issue.
“There is not adequate funding from the province for the school districts to operate and offer programs for students,” Boscariol said.
“Even though their position with the new curriculum is a focus on personal learning and opportunities for individuals, we have students who can’t get into courses because they don’t have the staffing.”
Story originated at The Nelson Daily.