Seven Summits Centre for Learning
by Ida Koric
Who is it geared for?
The base of educational pedagogy dictates that no one learning style will be suited to all people. Some students excel within the structure of more traditional schooling, while others thrive in a less prescribed setting. Seven Summits learners are a mixture of local, international, and Red Mountain Academy students. Amongst the qualities of those who will be successful within the program are motivation, willingness to take responsibility for one’s own learning, time management skills, and strong family involvement.
Coleshill acknowledges that, like any school, there are high achievers, those that are easily distracted and everything in between. “We started out the year with quite an open concept but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work for everyone. We adapted to create more structure and support for those that needed it, and granted freedom to those that showed motivation. One of our students is on track to complete both grades eight and nine this year.”
Grade 10 student, Devin Knox, enjoys the freedom and independence of a self-design program. “If you come across a unit that you don’t think will interest you, or will be too difficult, you just talk to your teacher,” she explains. “I wasn’t really interested in the Shakespeare unit for English, so I went to Jonny and we built a new curriculum together. The teachers make sure that you are doing all of the things you need to do, but you can choose something you find more interesting.” On the other hand, socialization is limited due to the small student populace, and participating in school sports is challenging. Devin is on the JL Crowe soccer team, but finds it difficult to communicate with coaches and teammates about practices and events.
SD20’s reconfiguration of Rossland Senior Secondary (RSS) led to the partnership between the Red Mountain Academies and the Seven Summits Centre for Learning. Kristi Calder, academy coordinator, explains the necessities of the program. “Students require the ability to work ahead in the fall, fall behind in the winter and catch back up in the spring. In a traditional classroom setting, this option doesn’t exist. It does exist in the Seven Summits Centre for Learning.”
Patrick Cometta is here from Switzerland as a participant in the ski academy. He believes that the flexibility of the schedule allows students to excel at sports. “There was almost three months where we didn’t see the classroom because of races and training,” he laughs. “At a different school, we can’t catch up.”
Currently, the Seven Summits Centre for Learning is limited in scale by the parameters of the campus. The Columbia Ave location is estimated to handle 45 students, which is the projected enrollment for 2014/2015.
A major change for next year is the addition of an administrator. The immense time donated by current volunteers has been recognized as unsustainable, resulting in the decision to hire an administrator to manage the daily workings of the facility. This will mean an increase in facilities fees, but a major goal of the RSS is to increase fundraising in order to keep fees reasonable for coming years. Financial aid and volunteer options are always available for families who may struggle with the costs.
Admissions close at the end of May, with preference given to returning students and their siblings. More information about the program, including frequently asked questions regarding the admission process is available at sevensummitslearning.com.