Northern BC Distance Education School

Northern BC Distance Education School (NBCDES) offers a distance education and distributed learning programme to students both in BC and the Yukon. They belong to both the BC Distance Education Consortium and the Virtual School Society. NBCDES the school serves students in-school, out of school, part and full-time, K-12, adults, and graduates; and has present and past students all over the globe. The print and online courses are provided under the direct supervision of the teacher. Teachers also make home visits to both local and remote areas in BC and the Yukon. Home facilitators also play a vital role in student success.

NBCDES students are wide-ranging in the skills and abilities they bring to the various learning environments. The school is the school of choice for many parents who value flexibility in their child’s learning environment, and are fast becoming the school of choice for the students who want to accelerate their learning or whose learning styles aren’t been met in other schools. NBCDES is also becoming a school of choice for the gifted and talented as well. The school also enrols an increasing number of teen and single mothers as well as an increasing number of students on IEPs, along with more and more adult students, both non-graduates and graduates. NBCDES uses a variety of technology in our course delivery, and has a large investment in computer hardware, software, peripherals, networks and maintenance. Space is fast becoming an issue. In addition, a number of their students need a place to belong, work, and seek assistance; the teen mothers need to be able to bring their children.

At present NBCDES has over 1000 students register each 12-month period, most of whom take one or two courses from NBCDES and the remainder of their schooling from their local school. NBSDES has an allocation of 8.8 FTE for teachers on site, 0.2 teacher-librarian, 0.5 Learning Assistant teacher, 0.5 Inclusion teacher, 21 contract markers working off-site (most certified teachers), a full time network specialist, 8 clerical staff, and one principal and one vice-principal with specific advisement duties.

One short story to describe the uniqueness of this online school. One day last winter the Grade 4 teacher, Ms. Froese, was conducting an online session with her grade 4/5 classroom. Five students were participating in the class that day. One was at home in Whitehorse, Yukon. One student had moved to Parksville on Vancouver Island earlier in the year and chose to stay with NBCDES. The third student was visiting grandparents in Edmonton and logged on from their home. The fourth student was on vacation in Mexico and logged on from an Internet café while on vacation. yk-vignette

The last student lives on a ranch around Pink Mountain, which is Mile 148 on the Alaska Highway and then 40 kms off the highway. He was visiting his grandparents ranch while his parents were in town. He drove 11 km on a snowmobile, crossing a frozen river to get home, where his computer with satellite internet was. He fired up the stove to warm the horse as well as starting the generator to run the lights. He then logged onto the Elluminate® classroom and participated in the class. When it was over he shut down the power plant and got on his snowmobile and returned to his grandparents place. Just a regular day at NBCDES.