by Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Thursday Feb 02 2023
The school district is going where no (local) school district has gone before.
As a now certified Provincial Online Learning School (POLS), School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) has taken its quality brand of education to online learners in the region but now also across the province.
The district will be able to continue welcoming online learners to its Elev8-DESK and Elev8 Homelinks programs under the new POLS model, said SD8 board of education chair Lenora Trenaman in a press release.
“I am very proud that our district has been designated a Provincial Online Learning School and that Elev8-DESK and Homelinks are recognized as valuable programs for K-12 online learners in our district and across the province,” she said.
There are around 600 students enrolled in online learning in SD8, added in SD8 superintendent of schools Trish Smillie.
“(A)nd with this new POLS designation, we could see that enrollment increase as students from other districts will have the opportunity to pursue their education either in Elev8-DESK or Homelinks in the next school year,” she said.
The POLS designation works both ways, since students from SD8 will also be able to enroll in online learning programs at any designated POLS across B.C., said Smillie.
There is also the assurance no matter which POLS they attend, they will use a single provincial online learning platform (learning management system or LMS) and that each POLS will follow the same accountability and quality assurance process applicable to all provincial online learning schools, Smillie explained.
The online learning schools in B.C. offer province-wide access and support services for learner needs. Students will be able to take online courses or programs no matter where they live, including:
• Students in any school district or independent school;
• Students attending a non-independent First Nations school; and
• Homeschool learners taking Grade 10 to 12 online courses.
The way students access online learning in SD8 won’t change for 2022-2023 and Elev8-DESK continues to welcome new students, said Smillie.