No students have switched to online or blended learning after the Sooke School District said there was a spike in students being signed out during school hours for private programming.
Scott Stinson, superintendent with SD62, sent out an email to parents on May 11 which said students who frequently miss class time because their parents sign them out of school for private academies “may not be able to continue in their neighbourhood middle school educational program and will need to explore other educational offerings such as the District Blended Learning Program, homeschooling or distributed learning opportunities.”
But less than a week before the start of a new school year, no students had made the switch to online or blended learning, according to a school district spokesperson.
“The correspondence created an opportunity to have important conversations with families that have students missing regular class time in favour of private programming. The response has been positive. Concerned families have met with school administration and were able to discuss, clarify and look at all of the relevant information needed to make informed decisions about their student’s education,” they said in an email.
Blended learning is offered through SD62’s Westshore Centre for Learning, is open to full-time students in Grades 6 to 8 and involves online classes four times a week and in-person classes once a week.
The school district said in a previous statement to Black Press Media that the number of students being signed out for private programs spiked during the pandemic and impacted middle school students (aged 11 to 14) the most.
One of the biggest reasons is parents taking their kids to high-performance athletic training opportunities for sports like hockey, swimming and gymnastics, according to SD62.
“Finding a better solution to meet their child’s educational needs is the primary concern when regular and repeated class time is missed in favour of private programming. These conversations happen with families at both the school and district level, and we work together to find a solution that offers the student the best learning environment to succeed in,” a SD62 spokesperson wrote in an email.