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Photos: 7,900 students flock to summer school in Burnaby

The only thing keeping the program from getting even bigger is finding enough teachers, according to school district officials.

With record demand for the Burnaby school district’s summer school program, there’s no room for parents to dilly-dally if they want to get their kids into their courses of choice.

Registrations exploded this year as soon as the programs opened up in April – and parents were ready, according to district officials.

“It seemed like parents were really on the ball and knew what they wanted and got in and picked the courses,” said Ces Martino, district principal in charge of the summer program. 

“It just fills up so quickly,” added director of instruction Kevin Brandt. “Entire schools get full in 15, 20 minutes.”

Once again, hands-on courses like robotics and art were popular at the elementary level; while math and science courses were in high demand at the high schools, according to the district.

All told, there were 8,350 registrations, representing about 7,900 students in about 415 courses.

Elementary classes are winding down this week, but some secondary courses run until Aug. 5.

To accommodate future demand, Martino and Brandt said the district will look at opening more schools for both morning and afternoon sessions next year.

The biggest challenge, however, will be finding more teachers to teach.

This year, the district hired 370 teachers, mostly from Burnaby but also from Vancouver, Coquitlam, Surrey and independent schools.

“We’re pretty much maxed out with our teachers,” Brandt said. “That’s kind of our limiting factor, the available staff to teach the program.”

When asked to account for the popularity of the district's summer school program, Brandt said it comes down to offering a great program.

“I think a lot of it is repeat business,” he said. “People have had really good experiences in previous years. That’s probably our best advertising, is our former students and their parents talking to other parents about the great programs that we offer.”

For more information about the district’s summer school program, visit

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor