Lumsden School Complex

lumsden Lumsden School Complex was a rural all grade school with a student body of approximately 120 students and a teaching staff of 15. The students at Lumsden School Complex came from Lumsden, Cape Freels and Deadman’s Bay (approximately 15 kilometers north and south). The three communities combined have a population of approximately 950.

Because of the small enrolment of this rural school has always been involved with K-12 distance education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, the school was one of the eleven schools involved in the original audiographic pilot of Advanced Mathematics 1201 in 1988-89. The school participated in each distance education programme the province made available, including becoming involved with the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) in 2000-01 when it was first piloted.

Due to the school’s long-standing involvement with distance education, former principal Andy Gibbons explains that “the biggest problem that we had years ago was with the equipment, it wasn’t with the courses or the content. We had so many break downs and so much time that students lost that they were behind a lot and they used to have to try and catch up, but lately the problems with the equipment is almost non-existent.”

Lumsden School Complex had an establish distance education room (approximately 5 meters from the school’s main office) for students to complete their online studies. The equipment, which included nine computer workstations, audio headsets, an all-in-one printer and a video-conferencing equipped television – all provided by the CDLI; along with technology and curricular resources that had been collected over the years.

Students engage in their online courses in this distance education room, supervised only by an occasional visit from the school’s administrator or one of the school’s teachers. “I usually drop into the CDLI class two or three times a day when they are online, just to make sure that they are there and to see if they got any problems, see if the equipment is working, let them know if there’s a test coming up because the instructors usually e-mail me, and ask if there’s any problem with assigning a test for a certain date and I check with the students and if it is no problem I e-mail the instructor back,” states Gibbon.

It was apparent the staff of this small rural school was invested in supporting the students engaged in the distance education programme. As Gibbon’s describes, “That’s the only way it can work, everybody’s got to be aware that these students are a part of the school and the CDLI is part of the school, it’s not something separate from the school, and I think this is probably one of the reasons that this school is still here, the fact that the CDLI.”

However, even with their extensive use of distance education, in 2006-07 the students in the high school grades were removed from the school and those students began to be bussed to another school located approximately 40 km away. Lumsden Academy is now a K-9 school.