Abbotsford had B.C.’s most-crowded Grade 4-7 classrooms last year

District was only one in Fraser Health to ask for cohort expansion

The Abbotsford School District was the only one in the region to ask to expand cohorts beyond the 60-person limit set by the province.

Fraser Health granted the exemption earlier this month. A Fraser Health spokesperson told The News last week that no other districts in the region had asked for such permission. Fraser Health is the largest health authority in British Columbia, encompassing a swath of the Lower Mainland between White Rock and Hope. Eleven school districts operate within its borders. (The Ministry of Education said three districts across the province had applied for such an exemption.)

RELATED: Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Kevin Godden told trustees last week that the exemption was necessary because middle-school class is podded with another class in the same grade. Each class has as many as 30 students, a teacher and, often another support staff worker. The district was told it could expand a cohort (also called a “learning group”) to as many as 65 people, if needed, Godden told trustees.

Godden said the exemption has been applied to 18 of 160 middle school classrooms in the district. (That suggests that not all classes are at their 30-student maximum.) He said that the shuffling of classes is a normal part of the start of the school year as the district aims for efficiency. The struggle to create classes was complicated, Godden said, by the implementation of a transitional program for students whose parents didn’t want them to attend full-time school.

“I can’t impress upon you how complex this was,” he said.

That complexity is linked, in part, to the Abbotsford school districts quest for maximized class sizes in the ongoing quest for financial efficiency.

Last year, Abbotsford had the most-crowded classrooms in the Fraser Health region for kids in Grades 1 through 8. Its Grade 4-7 classrooms were the most-crowded in the province, while its Grade 1-3 classrooms were the second-most-crowded in B.C. Six schools had average class sizes above 29 students.

Administrators have said increasing class size helps each dollar of school funding go further.

“We have to try to be efficient,” Godden said last week.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Record-low returns of salmon have been recorded on the Fraser River in recent years. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Time for Indigenous-led salmon strategy on the Lower Fraser, says Alliance

‘Closures of First Nations, commercial and recreational salmon fishing’ have huge impact: LFFA

The City of Chilliwack says there’s too much spitting going on at the Sardis Sports Complex. (City of Chilliwack photo)
Too much spitting a problem at Chilliwack’s Sardis Sports Complex

The City of Chilliwack is asking the minor hockey community to ease up on expectorating

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in Fraser Valley

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’ making second Abbotsford court appearance on Monday

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo:
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Most Read