Ann Quarterman says the Centre for Learning will use the grant to build its presence globally as a school for international students. (Chelsea Novak/Rossland News)

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

A new grant from the provincial government is going to allow the Seven Summits Centre for Learning to grow to the next level, officials say.

Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West, announced $99,634 for the society behind the school to hire a youth recruitment and marketing co-ordinator.

That person’s job will be “to present Rossland to the global education market by promoting the Seven Summits… as an option for innovative, technologically advanced schooling”, a release issued last Thursday said.

Officials with Seven Summits were thrilled by the announcement.

“We’ve been waiting for this announcement for a few months now,” says Ann Quarterman, operations manager at Seven Summits. “We’re over the moon that we received this. We’re already working at hiring somebody and moving forward.”

Seven Summits Centre for Learning already has about seven international students, out of a student body of 42. This position is designed to grow those numbers to about 20, says Quarterman.

“We’ve had international students since we started because we work in partnership with the Red Mountain Academy,” she says. “So it’s a growing of that.

“We weren’t able to do this ourselves, so this influx of grant money will allow us to hire that person to let us get to the next level.”

The Red Mountain Academy is a Rossland-based organization that helps young athletes train while they complete their studies at Seven Summits. But part of the new position will be to tweak the narrative of the Seven Summits school: that it’s not only for athletes, or gifted students, or students struggling in the regular system.

“The message is that we are an innovative educator, we blend in multiple ways, so we blend the ways we learn face-to-face time and online learning. But we also blend in the sense that kids can do athletics and still fit in their academics, or work on a passion projects, or do exchanges, or take time to travel, and still fit in their academics at the same time,” she says.

“Really we are just a microcosm of a whole range of youth and what their needs are.”

It’s also important for the six-year-old school’s bottom line.

“It is very important,” she says. “We try to try to keep our costs as low as we can, especially for local youth, so this is another avenue where we have another revenue stream bringing money, not only into the centre but into the region.”

The funding will pay for a part-time co-ordinator for two years, and Quarterman says the goal is the position will be self-funding after the grant runs out. If everything works as planned, the person will be in place by mid-May.

While there may be some new students in the fall as a result, she says the way recruitment works, the real impact of the position would likely start to show in the 2020-21 school year.

The province is giving the school money under the BC Rural Dividend Program. Nine projects in the West Kootenay received about $1.1 last week.

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