School has responded to needs and demands
RE: Demand more for children (Pique letters Oct. 12)
I would like to thank Squamish resident Jeff Wilgosh for writing this letter to the Pique. Whenever a school embarks upon a new program and/or implements new technology there are invariably questions and sometimes misunderstandings that arise. I would like to take the opportunity here to address some of these misunderstandings.
# 1 – “Whistler Secondary Students are not able to take all the courses required to continue their education.”
Any course that a student requires to both graduate from high school and get into any university or college program in Canada or the U.S. is offered at Whistler Secondary School. As a matter of fact, Whistler Secondary offers a number of courses over and above those required for university entrance, such as Calculus 12 for example.
# 2 – Whistler Secondary School has limited course offerings and thus less flexibility due to “a lack of teachers.”
Whistler Secondary School actually has a limited timetable due to the number of students enrolled at the school. To explain more fully; schools are funded on a per student basis. In other words, the number of students attending a particular school determines the budget of the school, the number of classes a school may have and thus how many teachers can be hired. It is worth noting that the Howe Sound School Board actually puts extra money into funding Whistler and Pemberton Secondary schools over and above what the Ministry funding formula allows. This means that we are able to offer a greater number of courses than other schools of our size.
# 3 – Students taking on-line courses at Whistler Secondary “are forced to teach themselves through online distance education referred to as ‘learning labs’.”
Created three years ago, Whistler Secondary’s Flex-Ed program, uses on-line courses to provide students with a means of working at their own pace with teacher supervision. As a general guideline each learning lab is limited to 20 students with a maximum of four different courses in each block. A teacher is assigned to each class that is a specialist in the given area of study. Rather than being created to “teach students responsibility” the Flex Ed program was actually created to maximize flexibility for a number of different student learning needs: 1) Students who wish to accelerate their program and thus graduate early 2) Elite athletes and performers who miss a great deal of school due to a busy race/performance schedule and 3) Students that cannot fit a course into their timetable due to scheduling.