Saskatoon Cyber Catholic School

Catholic education in Saskatchewan is publicly funded, and available to any student desiring a faith-based education. The academic, physical, social, and spiritual dimensions of a student’s life must therefore all be rooted and developed in the Christian conviction. In 2000 the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools System stepped on to the frontier in the development of online education with the creation of the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School (SCCS). The SCCS, as a Catholic school, emphasises Catholic principles in its curricular and extracurricular programmes. Any school may provide the opportunity for each person to grow in knowledge and understanding, to express themselves creatively in the arts, to appreciate physical activity and to relate to other people socially. But each person in their own way, at one time or another senses that there is much more to life than meets the eye. This sense of reality beyond one’s life and yet within it, is a religious awareness – the mysterious reality we call God. Therefore, as a part of the Catholic community, the SCCS exists to reveal Christ as the answer to these ultimate questions.

sk-1 The SCCS exists as a concrete acknowledgement of the reality of God, and exists in partnership with the home and parish to encourage students to grow toward personal maturity in life and to attain their ultimate goal, eternal salvation. The SCCS aims to create “an atmosphere animated by a spirit of liberty and charity based on the Gospel. It enables young people, while developing their own personality, to grow at the same time in that new life which

has been given them in baptism.” (The Documents of Vatican II, Declaration on Christian Education, p. 8). To this end the school provides an environment in which religious realities are experienced as a living force in students and staff, are acknowledged in the liturgy, and are understood within all the areas of learning. The many aspects of this experience of the living Christ with us in the school are explained and reflected upon in specific Christian ethics courses, virtual student lounge, the cyber school chapel and our online priest.

According to one teacher, “the best thing about the SCCS is the flexibility it gives me. Having a young family, the format of the SCCS allows me to do my teaching when it works best. I no longer have an 8:00 to 4:00 job; the work gets done when it fits into my schedule.” Similarly, a SCCS student reported that the cyber school “offers opportunities to students that in-school courses cannot, such as allowing the student to work at their own pace whatever time they want, and develop self-learning techniques that are applicable to the real world.” Another indicated that the “SCCS has already made a great difference in this, and many other communities. Everyone is so positive and fun to be with. Any negativity is unacceptable. That right there is something very special. It’s socially unacceptable by our peers to be negative. That’s another thing that makes SCCS so unique is the social aspect.”

In addition to their online course offerings, the SCCS has further advanced its contributions by developing and launching online learning communities and elementary Cyber Planets that serve as a collection of resources for all grades and subject areas. SCCS also offers hybrid courses, communication hubs, technology tutorials, and student and teacher web resources in the form of an online professional development lounge.