This fall sees the establishment of the new Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation (Sask DLC) which will provide distance education to the province’s school students. Previous, distance education was provided through each school division according to the prescriptions set out by the Ministry of Education. The headquarters for the operation was the Distance Learning Centre established by the SunWest School Division in Kenaston. Now additional schools have been added as a network of supports for the new delivery model.
Nine additional regional campuses will be established in the communities of Estevan, La Ronge, Moose Jaw, Neilburg, Nipawin, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Yorkton, according to a Ministry bulletin.
“These locations will provide access to quality online learning for students around the province as well as opportunities for teachers to collaborate to support students learning,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Students will have the option to receive support virtually or in person from these regional campuses.”
Teachers will run classes from the main Sask DLC office or from the regional campuses and work collaboratively to provide high quality education to all students. Students will have the choice to attend the Sask DLC as a full-time or part-time student. Students will register with the new school and then be connected to their local school division, which will provide tuition to the Sask DLC.
School divisions, together with the Sask DLC, will provide local support for students such as educational assistants, speech-language pathologists, and counsellors. School divisions will also provide student activities such as driver’s license training, graduation ceremonies and extra-curricular activities, including arts and sports.
Darren Gasper will serve as the Sask DLC Chief Executive Officer. He is currently seconded from Sun West School Division to assist with this initiative and has more than 27 years of experience in the education sector, including expertise in online learning.
Student registration for the new provincial online school will be available in April. The Ministry of Education has initiated discussions with education unions and stakeholders. The Ministry will work with Sask DLC management to commence recruitment for positions at the main office and regional campuses beginning in March this year.
Students of the Sask DLC will have access to a wide variety of courses, with classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 as well as a variety of high school electives such as Autobody, Agricultural Equipment Technician, Field Crop Production, Forensic Science, Cow/Calf Production and Exercise Science, among others. Adult students wishing to complete their Grade 12 or take additional electives will be able to do so at the Sask DLC as well.