SD20 is planning on offering a distributed learning, school at home option for next year. File photo

SD20 is planning on offering a distributed learning, school at home option for next year. File photo

SD20 to offer school-at-home program next year

Kootenay Columbia School District creating new distributed learning program

Kootenay Columbia School District 20 is planning on offering an expanded distributed learning program for families that would like to learn from home.

The program will be offered for the 2021/2022 school year for students in grades K – 7.

SD20 says the program allows students, together with a supportive parent, to connect virtually with a teacher and work towards meeting the goals of their education program from home.

SD20’s director of instruction Teresa Berdusco says that during the pandemic it became evident that there were a lot of local families who were looking to access homeschool options.

At the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year, the district didn’t have a program to offer, so about 70 students chose to sign up for distance learning programs offered by other school districts or independent schools.

An additional 90 students requested a gradual return to the classroom due to COVID-19 concerns. Most of those students are now back to attending school in person.

The district ended up creating a remote learning program for about 30 students who needed to work from home for one reason or another due to the pandemic. The new distributed learning program will be an expansion of that program

There are also 40 students registered with the district as homeschoolers, meaning they are reporting that they homeschool, but do not access SD20 programs.

The district is hoping to offer local and flexible learning opportunities for families. The foundation of the program will be centered around providing community-focused, inquiry-based, and experiential learning. It will utilize virtual conferencing and class meetings, email, phone calls and in-person meetings.

Right now the district is asking interested families to register sooner rather than later for the program as there is both a minimum and maximum number of students that will be able to access the program.

During this exploration phase, the district says students will not lose their place at their current school by signing up for the new program.

“Our hope is to try to get a sense from our community as to what would be supportive and to allow us to create a locally-delivered option,” said Berdusco.

“We hope to give students a sense of belonging to a virtual community and the opportunity to participate in in-person activities as well.”

During this exploration phase, the district says students will not lose their place at their current school by signing up for the new program. Families are encouraged to register sooner rather than later in order to ensure the program will move forward.

More information and registration forms can be found on the SD20 website.

READ MORE: From classroom to the living room: Nelson homeschooler has advice for parents

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