The Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) has been in existence since 2001, and is currently a division of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. CDLI’s mandate includes the development and delivery of senior high school distance education programming to students attending high schools in rural, remote and isolated regions of the province, and resource development and technical support for the delivery of online teacher professional learning.
CDLI has forty-four staff including two program specialists, two training specialists, a connectivity and communications specialist, an IT systems manager, twenty-nine e-Teachers, a guidance counsellor, and eight administration and support staff. Together, CDLI assists approximately 1,100 students across Newfoundland and Labrador in achieving their academic goals.
As the Guidance Counsellor for CDLI, my role is dynamic and multi-faceted. I am committed to supporting schools, students and their families in all areas of the province in a variety of ways.
I collaborate with school board personnel and school based counsellors in the preparation of special circumstance applications. Every year CDLI receives referrals from the School District to register students who cannot attend the regular school environment due to extenuating circumstances. In most cases, these students present with medical issues. Together with their base school, we develop a learning plan which allows the student to complete their classes from home using CDLI provided equipment to ensure that despite their hardship, they can remain connected to their peers and learn in an environment that is conducive to their recovery. I provide ongoing support to these students and their families as they navigate through challenging times.
On the CDLI webpage (https://www.cdli.ca/guidance/), I have a virtual guidance room that serves several purposes. Firstly, it is a safe and secure space for me to engage with students who need to talk and avail themselves of guidance services. Secondly, it is a space into which I invite guest presenters to deliver information on a variety of guidance related topics such as mental health and wellness, post-secondary readiness, and scholarship information. This guidance room allows me to interact with students and build positive rapport with those I endeavor to help.
As the coordinator of CDLI tutoring programs, I supervise fifteen hired post-secondary students who provide online tutoring free of charge in all core subject areas to any high school student who needs to avail of it. This vital service ensures that students can easily access support to supplement in-class learning.
Given that the majority of CDLI students are located in rural and isolated regions of the province, I endeavor to find new and innovative ways to use the CDLI platform to connect students with information that will assist them as they advance through their secondary schooling years and beyond. Resources such as recorded presentation sessions are shared with teachers province-wide in the spirit of collaboration, delivery of curriculum, and helping students to achieve success on their own terms.