All senior high students at Pugwash District High School are required to take a minimum of four credits per semester; graduating with 24 credits versus the required 18 credits. This policy is in place based on the theory, ‘free education is a good thing.’ Although we work very hard to maintain this policy, it is a fact rural schools typically have lower student populations than urban-based schools. A lower student population obviously means fewer teachers, making it difficult to provide senior high students with the diversified course selection they deserve.

This is why the Nova Scotia Virtual School (NSVS) is so critical to our schools’ programming. Today’s students must be prepared for work in a global economy and NSVS courses help to do just that. Our students work on their online courses independently, in a technology-rich educational environment during the school day. Although students are working independently, they have access to their online teacher via video-conferencing, face-to-face visits during teacher office hours and/or e-mail. Virtual courses are a true test of a pugwash

students’ ability to be successful in a post-secondary setting, as they require students to be independent critical thinkers and problem-solvers. NSVS courses are structured for daily activity and can be very demanding. Our students must successfully complete an application process before they are registered in an online course in an effort to select the candidates who are best suited to online learning.

Students taking an NSVS course are sometimes able to complete required tasks prior to due dates, either in school and/or at home. If students demonstrate they are able to maintain a solid academic standing in all courses, they are permitted to take a Co-op course; this way they have an opportunity to receive five credits in a semester. This opportunity is another method to diversify their high school experience, which can help students make better post-secondary decisions. In conclusion, with NSVS courses offered at our school we are able to provide 43 courses this semester—not bad for a little rural school of 126 senior high students in Pugwash, Nova Scotia!