New private school to open in Fort McMurray in 2023 – CBC.ca | Team Cansler

The entrepreneur behind a private school slated to open in Fort McMurray next year promises a safe, disciplined environment for university-bound students in grades 7 through 12.

Students at North Fort Private School would be required to wear uniforms and adhere to a strict zero-tolerance drug policy.

Tuition was set at $13,500 for students in grades 7 and 8 and $15,000 for students in grades 9 through 12, in addition to a $500 application fee.

Students who apply to the school must write an essay, provide a letter of recommendation and have good grades.

North Fort CEO Yerlan Aubakirov moved from Calgary to Fort McMurray this year to open the school. He previously worked for mining company Teck Resources and completed a Chartered Director program at McMaster University.

Aubakirov is currently in the process of applying for accreditation for the school with Alberta Education.

North Fort would accommodate up to 200 students. Initially, the school would operate on the second floor of the Bob Lamb Building at Keyano College.

Four students have enrolled so far.

The school would offer free tutoring and help students get into their preferred university. It would also help students enter the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards program.

“You get what you pay for, and education is no different…You pay and you get a little bit better,” Aubakirov said.

The school’s main goal is to create “a very safe, protective environment” without bullying or drugs, he said.

Aubakirov said he believes the private school can achieve its goals through smaller classes, which “allows for better control over student behavior.”

Parents would be asked to bring their children back to public school if they are caught using or possessing drugs.

If parents refuse to remove their child, Aubakirov said the school can offer online classes to “not expose other children to that particular child.”

This room at Keyano College is the first classroom at North Fort Private School. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The Fort McMurray Public School Division said it would support students if they were evicted from the private school. Superintendent Annalee Nutter said the department’s schools don’t allow drugs but operate under a different disciplinary policy than the one being proposed by North Fort.

“We know suspensions don’t work,” Nutter said, adding that kids won’t necessarily stop using drugs because they’ve been suspended.

She said the public system will focus on getting help for any students found to be using drugs, such as providing resources from addiction services or some other solution.

“We want to help them and support them to be better so they can continue their education and be these great citizens that we are developing out of our school system.”

Nutter has been superintendent since January and said drug-related problems are rare. Since then, she’s had a call from a principal about a drug company.

Yerlan Aubakirov, a businessman who moved to Fort McMurray from Calgary, hopes to open the private school. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Patricia Maraire, principal and founder of the Fort McMurray Montessori Group of Schools, which caters to younger children, said many parents were excited to learn about North Fort.

She said North Fort’s values ​​align with Montessori, such as teaching self-respect, caring for others, and warmth and love for the community.

Maraire has applied for her son to the new school.

She was drawn to the outreach to the community and small class sizes.

“[The] The aspect of experiential learning and global learning is also a point that drew me to the school,” Maraire said.

Uniforms $1,000 to $1,500

A unit cost would be around $1,000 to $1,500. Families are also encouraged to donate $1,000 as tuition does not cover the school’s operating costs.

The first year of operation would cost about $2 million, said Aubakirov, who is still handling the funding.

In the first two years of the school’s operations, “we’re going to have a huge deficit,” he said. He predicted that tuition and government funding would cover expenses through third year.

North Fort Private School is still rounding up students. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

In the future, Aubakirov wants to add younger classes to the school and build a school.

Alberta Education confirmed that North Fort submitted a draft application to operate the school in September.

The department has provided feedback “and will continue to support the applicant by responding to additional questions or documentation requests,” spokeswoman Emily Peckham said in a statement.

If the applicant hopes to open the school by next September, the final application and required documents would need to be submitted by Jan. 20, Peckham said.

The final application would need to be approved by Secretary of Education Adriana LaGrange.

According to Statistics Canada, 4.5 percent of students in Alberta attended private schools in 2020-21.

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