Exactly one week ago we posted News Release – Government Of Saskatchewan Centralizing Online Learning For The 2023-24 School Year and predicted that the “announcement will cause the same kinds of questions, concerns, and even wild accusations.” Yesterday Discover Moose Jaw published the following article:
The Government of Saskatchewan is centralizing online learning starting in the 2023-24 school year.
Ryan Boughen, director of education for Prairie South School Division, says they currently have about 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) students enrolled in their virtual school right now which covers Grades 1 through 12. There are also 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers who run the school including an administration team.
“We feel that our online school is running quite well and there’s quite a bit of academic rigor and good practices and policies in place,” commented Boughen. “We’re quite proud of our school. From a provincial perspective, we don’t really believe that we need to move to a centralized hub to offer all the things that we’re offering our students, however, that wasn’t our choice so we’ll be working with the province to see how we will be involved in that and see how we can support that model as it moves forward.”
Boughen says that before COVID they ran the virtual school from Grades 10 to 12 to supplement high school course offerings for rural schools. During COVID, the board passed a motion to build the school from Grades 1 to 9 so that students that were not attending face-to-face classes would be able to access all their educational needs through the online school.
Ward Strueby, director of education with Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, says they won’t see much change from the announcement.
“Definitely being a Catholic school division, our rights as religious schools does allow us to continue with what we’ve done in the past. Currently, we do have a partnership with Regina Catholic, where we have some teachers who teach with Regina Catholic and in lieu of that they provide seats for students to take courses through that. Definitely, in a provincial system, we may have students that may be interested in some of the courses that our offered but faith permeation is very important to us and we try to have faith permeated through all of our subject areas.”
Both Boughen and Strueby say that at this point there are more questions than answers about centralized online learning.
So the questions from these two individuals include:
- Will all online programming have to go through the centralized hub or will divisions be able to maintain their own online programming?
- How can divisions that have existing online programming become involved in centralized online learning?
- How will centralized online learning accommodate the rights of religious schools?
Not unreasonable questions thus far.