Parents advocate for single school for distance program

NANAIMO – The school district is considering placing its Learn at Home programs under one roof as part of its updated facilities plan.

The Nanaimo school district is considering placing its elementary and secondary school Learn at Home programs under one roof as part of its updated facilities plan.

Learn at Home K-7 is currently housed at Departure Bay Eco-School and its Grade 8-12 counterpart at Nanaimo District Secondary School. The proposal would see both housed at either Dufferin Crescent Elementary or Mount Benson Elementary – former school sites.

The Ministry of Education-approved distributed learning education program sees students learning online, with some face-to-face classroom time with teachers.

Kari Peterson, learning alternatives’ parent advisory council chairwoman, is in favour of having both in one location. She said the Departure Bay school needs space as it is developing as an eco-academy.

“Both programs are outgrowing their space in both locations … we think amalgamating them under our own school will [offer] way more opportunities for the kids as far as programming goes and continuity for the kids.”

Since students are learning from another locale, John Blain, school superintendent, said moving the programs to a physical location won’t impact enrolment.

“If we open another building it comes into our count, but if we open Mount Benson or Dufferin Crescent, the opening of those buildings for distance education do not come into our numbers around capacity utilization,” said Blain.

Both school properties are Crown land and can only be used for educational purposes, said Blain.

The school district hosts a special meeting tonight (Nov. 5), 6:30 p.m., for stakeholders to make presentations on the facilities plan at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.