Sitting in entrance of her laptop computer inside her Regina residence this week, Lanea Lafontaine critiques her math homework with an on-line instructor.
Then she helps her youthful brother together with his science lesson earlier than they head out to volunteer at a care residence and do some Christmas purchasing with their mother. On different days, the aspiring physician takes afternoon guitar or martial arts classes.
“I actually like this faculty,” Lanea mentioned. “It gives the flexibleness that I want. I can end my faculty at anytime of the day, in addition to attain out to academics with the arrogance that they’re going to reply to me.”
Lanea, 15, is one in every of a whole bunch of scholars attending the Saskatoon-based Flex ED on-line faculty, a non-public however government-funded and tuition-free establishment.
It is one in every of greater than a dozen on-line colleges throughout the province, however it stands out as a result of its commencement charges over the previous two years had been 85 and 90 per cent, whereas the typical commencement fee for full-time on-line college students throughout the province is simply 44 per cent. The bulk fail or drop out earlier than acquiring their highschool diploma.
Earlier this month, the federal government introduced it might centralize on-line schooling throughout the province in partnership with the space studying centre headquartered on the Solar West College Division in west-central Saskatchewan. It had a web based commencement fee for its full-time college students of simply 26 per cent, based on the provincial auditor.
The Schooling Ministry didn’t choose Flex ED with its wonderful commencement charges, despite the fact that its officers have repeatedly provided to assist.
“I do not know why they have not taken us up on any presents for assist as a result of, you understand, we have had 17 years expertise, we’ve extremely educated employees and I actually have my masters diploma in on-line schooling,” Flex ED principal Ann Prepare dinner mentioned.
“We embraced an modern and collaborative strategy and so we proceed to attempt to work with the ministry and others as a lot as we will. If they’d settle for our presents, we’d be pleased to work with them.”
Prepare dinner confirmed CBC Information e mail exchanges with Ministry of Schooling officers relationship again greater than two years. She provided free session in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist academics and officers scrambling to maneuver college students on-line.
“Thanks to your supply. Presently we’re not feeling the necessity for any consulting companies on this space,” a ministry official wrote.
Determination a shock
Prepare dinner says she was shocked to listen to concerning the plan to centralize on-line studying with Solar West named because the accomplice.
“We weren’t invited to take part in any tendering course of, if there was one, however we definitely might assist the ministry. We have now a system that’s well-established and we positively might assist others,” she mentioned.
Prepare dinner pointed to the report by Saskatchewan’s auditor this yr that mentioned Solar West wants to make sure academics talk extra incessantly with college students, create higher guidelines to make sure academics do not fall far behind on marking, and replace programs haven’t been modified in additional than a decade.
Flex ED has a classy, real-time monitoring system to make sure college students do not fall via the cracks, Prepare dinner says, including its programs are up to date yearly and generally extra typically. Prepare dinner says each little one who chooses on-line schooling ought to get the help Lanea and her brother obtain.
Schooling Minister Dustin Duncan declined interview requests. In an e mail, ministry officers highlighted Solar West’s years of on-line expertise, however didn’t reply questions on its 26 per cent commencement fee.
Kelsey Shields, a principal within the city of Esterhazy who simply accomplished her doctoral diploma in on-line schooling, says the federal government’s choice to reject Flex ED would not make sense.
The federal government ought to at the very least speak to Prepare dinner and her employees, says Shields, whose childen research on-line.
“I am not precisely positive what they do in another way however it might be intriguing to know,” Shields mentioned. “It has been profitable for them, clearly. I do hope the federal government does look and begin to ask questions on what everyone seems to be doing.”
Solar West help missing, mother or father says
The Lafontaine kids attended Solar West first, however their mom, Liu Lafontaine, says they weren’t getting help: There was little communication amongst academics, college students and fogeys.
She transferred them to Flex ED, and says she’s not shocked by the great distinction in commencement charges. She says the federal government is partnering with the flawed faculty.
“I might not need my kids to go to a faculty the place the commencement statistics are 26 per cent,” Lafontaine mentioned. “Our province ought to be guaranteeing these colleges with greater statistics can proceed on, and that we put forth college students that graduate and do good for our province, our neighborhood and all of Canada.”
Flex ED’s future is unclear. Catholic and personal colleges are exempt from centralization for the time being, however Prepare dinner says it seems Flex ED and others may need to adapt to Solar West’s mannequin.
She says she has not heard again from Schooling Minister Dustin Duncan after expressing her considerations this month.
College of Saskatchewan assistant professor Paula MacDowell says the federal government has mishandled the file, however there may be nonetheless time to confess errors and get it proper.
“College students do have to graduate. If [Flex ED] is serving to college students to complete, there’s a lot to study from them,” MacDowell mentioned. “I might love to listen to why they’ve the excessive success charges.”
The Schooling Ministry “ought to take a while and never make choices earlier than speaking to individuals,” she mentioned.
“Let’s construct on all this data. If they’ve figured some issues out, let’s study from that. After which let’s all be open and clear. Inform us why, and make it public.”