It’s a far cry from 12 months ago, when desperate parents camped outside the school district’s head office from 4 a.m. to make sure their child had a spot at the summer school table.
A massive spike in demand for the free full credit courses last year also led to the district’s website melting down.
This time around — to alleviate the stress levels of parents and district staff — decided to implement a random draw system, whereby the district could ascertain the actual demand more accurately and plan ahead.
Not only did the plan work, the district managed to accommodate every single one of the 842 students’ course requests.
“This was a much better way to deal with everyone’s applications and gauge the demand,” said Michael Khoo, the district’s director of instruction, continuing education.
“There was so much less stress on the system and none of the problems we’ve had in the past.”
Khoo said demand for the full credit courses — English 12, math 12, physics 11 and social studies 11 — has increased yet again on last year, by around 20 per cent.
But, because of the draw system, the district was able to see exactly how many students wanted what course and were able to adjust their resources accordingly.
“We were able to find the classrooms and the teachers, especially for physics 11 and social (studies) 11,” added Khoo.
“We can still improve the system again I’m sure, there’s always room to improve. But it’s much better than before.”
Despite yet another spike in demand for the full credit summer courses, Khoo said there are still a few spots available.
Anyone interested, he said, should log onto www.richmondce.ca and register.
In total, 842 students made 1,583 course draw applications online in the spring. In May, the applications were run through a draw algorithm program in which all students had an equal opportunity to be chosen randomly for a seat on the course.
After the first round of the draw, in which 690 students were randomly assigned one course, it was determined that two more classes were needed for physics and social studies.
After a second round, every student was allocated a place on the course they applied for.
Khoo said in his report to the school district board that his office received no complaints from the public about the draw process.
Last year, by 9 a.m. on the day the course in-person registration opened, a line-up of around 60 to 70 parents was snaking its way out of the district's head office near the Granville Avenue and Minoru Boulevard intersection, even though in-person registrations weren't being taken until 4:30 p.m.
The School Act was changed to make summer school free of charge (funded) three years ago, causing the demand for places to surge.