EAST CENTRAL — As of Sept. 15 at 8:00 a.m.,125 out of 4756 K-12 students in the North East School Division (NESD) are doing online learning full-time.
Mark Jensen, co-ordinator of continuous improvement and reporting for the NESD, said that the number has continued to grow since the start of school.
Online classes in Grades 5 through 9 are being taught through the Western Canadian Learning Network (WCLN) website and educational structures.
The WCLN is a consortium of school divisions throughout B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
“We had a good start with [Grades] 10 to 12 with our online school previously, then we used WCLN for 10 more Grades 10 through 12 courses,” Jensen said. “K-4 we’re supporting internally through Google environments.”
For individual courses offered online, as of Sept. 14 at 7:10 a.m., the NESD had 447 individual class enrollments.
“We have timetabled the [Grades] 10 to 12s, for instance, in a blocked timetable to mirror the brick and mortar schools, so that if a student wants to transfer back, it’s a smooth transition as possible,” he said.
“It’s not always a perfect match, since our timetables don’t mirror every school, like TMSS (Tisdale Middle and Secondary School) will offer subjects that we, in the online school, don’t offer.”
The partnership with the WCLN consortium is costing the division $9,500 per year.
WCLN courses offered for Grades 5 through 9 include English language arts, math, science, social studies, health and physical education.
For Grade 10 courses, WCLN offers history, and foods; for Grade 11, history, physical science, health science, and life transitions; and for Grade 12 the consortium offers history, foods, biology and chemistry.
“The amount of content that’s available to us would have cost, in terms of man-hours, probably close to half-a-million dollars to develop it. The warehouse [of] content that was available to us was too good to turn away.”
Jensen predicts online individual class enrollments to grow by approximately 100 throughout the year due to timetable changes, credit recovery and new students.