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oldman



Posts : 53
Join date : 2017-03-09

PostSubject: School Boundaries   Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:26 pm

I'll admit I have a bit of an opinion on this issue, but I'll also admit that I haven't seen all/heard all regarding this issue. I can also say that as someone in Calgary, I don't really know how this is handled in the South Zone, and I have limited knowledge of Edmonton. But... this is what I know:

In Edmonton, it seems there is no enforced school area boundaries. Students can choose what school they go to regardless of where they live. As a result, athletes can and often do choose schools based on athletic program. Example - basketball girls from across Edmonton can and do attend Jasper Place, or basketball boys from across Edmonton attend Harry Ainlay. I know that Ainlay & JP are not the only schools where this occurs.

In Calgary, there are defined school area boundaries. Students can choose a school based on which school is designated to their community, or which school has the 'special program' they seek (IB, AP, French, etc...) As a result, students are either limited to their designate school, or choose a 'special program' if they want to seek a particular athletic program. It reduces, but does not eliminate a student's ability to choose schools based on athletics. Students can't 'cross the city' to join a program. Example - to go to Western, basketball players either live in the designate area, or they qualify based on another way (IB or extended French - still defined by area).

I will also state - the 'ethical issues' that arise in both scenarios are not just due to school behaviour. People are quick to accuse a school or coach of 'recruiting' or encouraging students around the rules. In many cases, it's the kids and parents looking to use the system to their advantage and find the best program for the athlete.

This issue ties in academics, club basketball, school politics, community culture etc... I'm not going to pretend it's simple. I just was hoping that the pros/cons could come out to see if my perspective was fair. What are your thoughts on how 'school area is handled'? (I'll weigh in with my actual opinion later).

...and if your response is tl/dr I get it.
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trifecta3



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Join date : 2014-08-21

PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:46 pm

My view is simple. First, athletics is as valid as any reason for choosing a school. Until all of the schools make an equal investment in their athletic program, it is unreasonable to force kids to go to schools that don’t make the investment necessary to compete (good coaching, good schedule, etc). Edmonton’s school choice rule is the way to go. Second, there needs to be a common approach across the Province. It makes no sense to have different rules if schools are to compete against each other across the a Province. Calgary’s rules are a self-inflicted disadvantage in Provincial competition.
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Ballerz



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:59 pm

How about the rural teams? In your opinion should athletes be allowed to go to another school in their zone because they have a better team, or better coaching staff, so you have a better chance at winning provincials? For example, you take all the best ball players from Raymond, Magrath and Cardston, and put them on one team.
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trifecta3



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:59 am

Raymond, Magrath, and Cardston are bad examples because all three have good programs and do what it takes to compete. For the sake of argument, imagine that there is a town near Raymond that has a high school that always sucks at basketball because they have a reluctant coach and the principal devotes all the school resources to the school’s outstanding music and drama programs. Should an aspiring bball player in that town be stuck playing for a school that doesn’t compete or should he/she have the choice to go to Raymond or Magrath or Cardston?
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Ballerz



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:54 pm

So if Cardston has 2 good players and the rest are really weak, Raymond has 2 good players and the rest are really weak, but Magrath has 4-5 good players and the rest are weak, then should the 4 good players from Cardston and Raymond go to Magrath that year so their team makes some noise, has scouts come watch them so they get looked at, and possibly win provincials? I know it would make the south league not as competitive with each other, but if it is in the best interest of the athletes that way... I know those schools have been able to hold their own not too bad, and that realistically it would never happen, but there seems to be getting a bigger gap with ALL the best players in Edmonton going to one team. If they can do that in a City as large as Edmonton, why couldn't they in small towns to even the playing field. I mean, combined their school population is still probably just around 1000. What's the population of the city schools? there are schools in the south with student populations of about 300 already having to compete with schools that have about 3000, they have done well, but when all the best players "decide" to all go to one school to play, that now sways into their favor big time. I would like to see boundaries put into place so that we are all on the same playing field in that way.
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oldman



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:15 pm

Here's how I see the 'no boundaries' method:

Pros:

-Athletes can choose the program with the best coaches, teammates, etc... This helps their development.
-Athletes can choose the program that will get them the best exposure, best competition, etc... See above.
-Kids aren't stuck playing for a team with less talent, poor coaching, etc...
-The top programs can truly become elite.
Am I missing some?

Cons:

-It creates a massive gulf in strength of program. Some Div 1 schools in Edmonton are awful.
--That makes it hard for the 'non-powers' to build their program.
--It also reduces competitive strength in league. In Calgary, there are usually 6 strong boys basketball programs, and another 6-8 that can hold their own. There are way more close games, and more challenge; strong teams get more good games. In Edmonton, there are only a handful of strong boys teams, and they fill their season out with multiple blowouts. It didn't hurt Ainlay this year, but in the previous two years, Calgary outperformed Edmonton in Provincials.
--It may hurt the strength of the top league. Look at football. In Calgary, there's only 3 top teams (Francis, ND, Wisewood) and other schools are folding teams. Kids aren't interested in playing football if it means they get annihilated by the top teams who get all the club boys. In the end, it hurts the top teams, because they're losing teams to play.
-Concentrating 'elite' players on a few teams might actually reduce the number of players who become 'elite'. If there were more competitive programs, more players who get that development.
-Athletes are still kids. If they choose to go clear across town, they are not going to school with their community.
-Athletes are still students. Are they compromising the best academic fit for athletics? I can think of a girl who chose Bishop Carroll because her community school was bad at basketball, and Carroll's 'Self-Directed' program is open to all, and their girls program is strong. This poor girl was not able to handle the independent academic program at Carroll, and hurt her high school education because she made a poor schooling choice for basketball.
-Some athletes at the 'powerhouse' schools don't make the team, because a kid from across town takes their spot.
-Subjectively, I wonder what kind of tone it sets, or message it sends when kids choose 'powerhouse' schools. Weren't school sports supposed to be about playing for your school? Shouldn't club be where kids choose & recruit?
-Wouldn't 'no boundaries' encourage recruiting? There's a whole new load of ethical issues potentially arising there.

I know it seems like it's all bad, but the Calgary system has flaws too:

Pros:
-Some of the cons of the Edmonton system are reduced. Kids can't 'cross town' as easily. As a result, there tends to be more talent 'spread out'.
--Meaning a more competitive league. With more competitive games. Which builds the strength of the teams. Which means more good schools to choose from.
--Meaning more players getting to play in tight games with good teams.
-Kids are more likely to play for a school in their community.

Cons:
-Parents, kids and schools 'work the system'. They fake their addresses, enroll in IB/AP/Immersion only to drop later, invent BS reasons to attend a school. There are kids who take IB Art just to attend an IB school so they can play a sport there.
-Kids might end up playing for a weak team, poor coach, etc...
--As a result, some kids who are good enough to play for their school elect not to out of frustration.
--As a result, some kids choose a school that is not a good fit just so they can get into a better program.
-There is still recruiting. There are still shady ethics.
-Some schools have an advantage. Some schools have programs that can increase the size of their 'designate area'. Example - Carroll can attract athletes from across the city due to their 'self-directed' program. Other schools can't do that. (It only really matters for girls).

Both systems have flaws, both have ways they are exploited.

In a perfect world, every school would have decent coaches, and kids would just go to their neighbourhood school. School sports is supposed to be about supporting your school community, and doing it this way would eliminate the politics. In reality though, some schools simply don't have good programs and you can't blame kids or parents for looking for something better.

I think my opinion is that the Calgary system is better, where kids have some choice, but not unlimited choice. Schools should support coaches to build better programs, but kids can still select different schools, within reason. It just needs to be enforced better - some athletes have joined certain programs under dubious circumstances.

Please let me know if I've missed something.


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el tigre



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:50 pm

I think in the south, it is just a different mentality. Especially in the small towns, it is about hometown/school pride that the kids grow up with from the time they can walk. If you know the mentality in these places, there is no way a kid from Raymond or Cardston would ever go play for Magrath, and if they did, they'd be disowned by their own parents and grandparents. I also think there is a competitive advantage with teams pushing each other year after year with this mentality to make each other better.

Also, rarely do you see multiple south kids trying out for the Alberta teams where a lot of the kids will get together and make their plans to attend the same schools.

Which brings up another point, what are people's thoughts on Alberta high school coaches being allowed to coach Alberta basketball summer teams, especially at the u15 levels where they can "attract" certain elite players to their school prior to grade 10?
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westwind Bball



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:07 pm

yeah that idea of playing for your town school is very strong in souther alberta look at the 1A and 2A where the school have good players come up at some point look at ST. Mary's boys this last year ranked in the top 5 for 1A but they don't normally have a good team but sometimes things work out and schools really enjoy those years when they have talent
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GoKnights



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:31 am

I am definitely of the belief that students and their parents should be able to choose the school which will best allow the student to thrive. This is certainly a large mix of factors, but ultimately it is about providing a great opportunity for this success to take place. Forcing students to attend a certain school with few exceptions does not serve the interests of promoting a positive experience and positive learning environment for students. Therefore, I would argue that open boundaries are the system to go to if we truly want to create an inclusive learning experience for every single student.

Now, one reservation I have is there are issues in open boundary systems with school capacity. In such systems there will always be preference to those who live in the area of the school before others are allowed. This creates waiting lists which unfortunately means not all students can get into the school of their choice.

While it may create some athletic programs which are stronger than others, I think this is an acceptable consequence if it helps the students attain a higher level of success in their life, experiencing growth in their high school journey.

As to the individual districts themselves, I know CBE and LSD51 are quite fixed while EPSB uses the open boundaries with the school capacity caveat. Don't know anything about Red Deer.
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oldman



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:52 pm

I see what some posters have said, but I feel like you guys are only looking at it from the individual athlete's benefit. To be fair, you are correct. When looking for what's best for the individual athlete, they should be able to pick the best program possible. Hopefully they do it well, and don't put themselves in a poor situation in terms of community, academics, etc...

However, when one considers the needs of the larger community, I still have issues with Edmonton's system. I think if we look at what's good for the schools, the sport, and for more athletes, the 'super school' approach that results from no boundaries has issues.

It's better for basketball if we have more competitive teams. Creating one or two 'super teams' hurts the league. Spreading out the talent would result in more competitive balance, more strong programs, and more athletes benefiting. There are more quality teams and a better league in Calgary & the South when compared to Edmonton.

It's better for the schools. Sports teams help build the school community, image, morale, etc... Creating 'super teams' hurts the other schools. Further, a team full of players from outside the community almost seem mercenary - kinda takes the purpose and tone of school sports out.

It's better for the other kids. There are boys at Ainlay right now who could are decent ball players, who don't make the team because 'star athletes' come from across town. There are kids who choose schools based on sports, and don't end up making the team - where does that leave them? Should they choose another school because their community school team is full of 'out of area' athletes?

I understand that it doesn't serve an athlete well to go to a weak program. Yvonne Ejim (star girl for Carroll) lives in Notre Dame's area in Calgary. She understandably didn't want to go there - they are Div 2. She still had some choice, however. She could pick Mary's or Carroll for special programs (both Div 1 & strong) or go Public Board. However, she couldn't just pick Centennial because they had the best teams. If it was like Edmonton, she could.

I think Calgary's system, while flawed, is still better. Kids still have choice, but the integrity of the league and the schools are preserved as students are less likely to 'drive across town' to attend a sports program.

More than anything - if a kid wants an 'elite' program that isn't tied to community, shouldn't that be in club? I know high school still gives exposure, but the way club is getting stronger & stronger, kids are getting noticed there more. And there are ways that clubs can help out financially strapped kids.
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BigCountry



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PostSubject: Re: School Boundaries   Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:42 pm

I truly wish we had better parity in Calgary (girls) and Edmonton (both). Until principals are interested in hiring qualified coaches (outside volunteers can work  In the right setting) we will never have parity. Players who aspire for post secondary deserve good coaching, development, and a thriving program to play in. Players who can find credible coaching at their designated schools are lucky. They can be the “star” and play significant minutes which doesn’t always happen in the “stacked” programs. However, playing with stronger players can help your development as well.  
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