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Virtual school provides students with options

Livingstone Range School Division is continuously looking for ways to bring education to rural areas, and one of its recent initiatives is a virtual school.
Trustees were updated on the virtual school at their May 22 meeting by director of learning and innovation Chad Kuzyk.
Kuzyk started by reading the division’s vision statement: “To be leaders in providing quality education to rural students in a dynamic learning environment.”
The division’s virtual school provides courses and educational programs which are delivered electronically to a student at a school site or off-site, under the instruction and supervision of a certificated teacher.
Essentially, the virtual school is a place for students to get learning on-line.
It is grounded in nine foundational principles.
The virtual school offers courses such as French, Spanish, and Math 31, to which students would not usually have access.
There is rigorous and relevant curriculum, whereby virtual school content is driven by the needs of students.
Courses are created through collaboration of professionals, Alberta Education and the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.
The virtual school personalizes the learning for:

  • Students who want to take a course that is not offered at their home school.
  • Students who need to take a course that will not fit into their regular schedule.
  • Students who prefer to complete their program independently and at a self-directed pace.
  • Students who need to re-take a course.
  • Students who require assistance with credit recovery.
  • Students who are involved in high level sports or fine arts making regular school attendance difficult.

The virtual school offers flexible learning environments.
The virtual school is open 24-7, learning has no fixed time, there is an asynchronous learning model, and flexibility is at the core.
In each community, the virtual school is based at the outreach school in that community where each teacher provides professional learning in asynchronous course delivery.
Virtual school staff are in direct contact with the students both virtually and in person making the virtual school unique.
During flex or preps students can take the opportunity to meet with subject specific teachers at the school of residence.
“We know relationships are key to our virtual school,” Kuzyk said.
This allows students to stay in their own community and take courses.
The school includes Grades 10-12 and there is no cost to any Livingstone Range School Division student.
This past year there were 67 students in the virtual school, with a completion rate between 60 and 70 per cent.

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