Offering over 180 online courses, Prairie South School Division director of education Ryan Boughen is hopeful that the new Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation (Sask DLC) will open doors for students regardless of where they are living.
Prairie South School Division played a role in creating the blueprint for the Sask DLC virtual school. The school division has been running its own virtual school for years for students in Grades 1 to 12.
Boughen said the idea behind Prairie South’s virtual school was to give rural students at smaller schools the same opportunities that students in the city would have. He feels the Sask DLC is following a similar model.
“I think our virtual school has done a really good job of meeting the needs of our local students. I think that will continue and that's the goal of the Distance Learning Corporation is to offer basically any student, regardless of where you are, any class that you'd like to take,” he said.
Prairie South’s virtual school will be coming to an end in 2023-2024. However, Boughen said the province has recognized the good work it has done and asked the school division to reach out to Prairie South’s virtual school teachers to see if they are interested in continuing in that capacity.
Boughen expects there will be staff openings as teachers move over to Sask DLC.
Boughen said the majority have expressed interest in continuing with Sask DLC. However, Prairie South did not have any full-time equivalent teachers delivering classes virtually, while the vision for Sask DLC is to have teachers working full-time virtually.
When it comes to enrolment, the school division reached out to the Ministry of Education to find out how it would work.
“Actually, the number that they gave us to assign as a full-time equivalent to what they're calling distance learning corporate students would be actually a little bit greater than we would have assigned to full-time equivalency to our virtual schools,” Boughen said.
The Prairie South School Division is now working with the province to find a site for Moose Jaw’s regional campus and the criteria for the hub site.