Pathways School | Fort Vermilion School Division | High Level, AB
The Fort Vermilion School Division (FVSD) looks forward to adding a new school to its roster for the 2022-2023 school year. The school is called Pathways, and it boasts individualized support, flexibility and a huge network of alternative education options for students in grades 1-12.
Associate Superintendent of Learning Karen Smith says FVSD is expanding the number of options available to students.
“It is our goal to offer students a variety of modalities for learning including paper modules and online courses, which may include real-time instruction or recorded instruction as well as in-person support,” said Smith. “Pathways will also be assisting students to transition into the work world.”
Based in High Level, with a satellite location in La Crête, Pathways will be integrated within FVSD’s 16 other schools located in Mackenzie County.
The High Level location will house two of FVSD’s existing programs—the At-Home Learning Centre and Learning Stores Outreach. In addition, staff from Pathways will be working closely with staff from FVSD’s Northern Home Education school.
Pathways Principal Kim Brown has taught in High Level for most of her career, and she’s excited to take on this important role.
“Pathways is perfect for families who work or move seasonally, have certain duties throughout the year to prioritize, such as farming, or for those who want access to more course options,” said Brown. “Pathways offers choice in education to parents and students and is an extension of what we were already doing, layered with new modalities for learning.”
Brown can see how Pathways will connect communities and students.
“We could have students from Meander River to High Level to La Crête all in the same classroom getting to know each other and learning about each other’s unique communities,” said Brown.
Assistant Principal & Inclusive Education Coordinator for Pathways, Anna McAskile, is also excited.
“Online learning has met the needs of students who may not have found success in a regular school building. I look forward to assisting students to find the right path that fits their
education needs,” said McAskile.
Examples of Education Options
As an alternative to a complete homeschool program, Pathways will offer professional staff to teach vital numeracy and literacy skills, provide opportunities for students to complete their Alberta High School Diplomas and deliver support to students with exceptionalities through specialized programming and services.
For grades one through nine, synchronous online learning is available that is designed to resemble a traditional classroom setting.
For high school programming, there are several options. Students can complete course work with an assigned instructor either in person using paper modules or online. They can also complete some course work at their local high school and some from Pathways. Or, students can complete their courses independently online.
“This type of flexible programming will result in fluidity between Pathways and our other schools,” said Brown.
In addition, high school students who enroll in Pathways will be able to accumulate CTS credits and experience hands-on learning opportunities such as work experience, RAP and dual credited courses with Northern Lakes College.
“Dual credit courses will encourage Pathways students to start on a career path in an area of interest without ever having to leave their community,” said Brown. “This will remove so
many barriers for students and kickstart them into their future careers.”
Brown says students can expect to feel connected to teachers and peers, just like they would in a traditional school setting.
“Students and families will still be able to join in-person activities such as gym nights, swimming lessons and field trips. We know how important connections are for a person’s overall well-being, so these events are a priority,” said Brown.
Lessons will be recorded to further increase flexibility for families learning online, and Chromebooks will be provided for technological support.
“Education is evolving in terms of both content and how we access and learn new material,” said Brown. “Technology is a powerful tool that supports us in delivering high calibre education while providing the flexibility for students and families.”
Brown emphasizes the importance of working with parents to support student learning.
“Together, we will determine what the student’s needs are, what the barriers are, and how we can help them overcome those obstacles,” said Brown.
For students and parents curious if Pathways is the right fit for them, Brown encourages them to reach out for more information.
“We really want to find the right fit for our families. Part of our intake process is getting to know families and what their goals are for their children’s education,” said Brown. “For our independent students, we always ask what they want to personally accomplish. Then, we’re able to decipher how Pathways can support them to get there.”
FVSD Superintendent Mike McMann thanks everyone who helped develop Pathways and its programming as well as invite parents to consider what Pathways can do for their children’s education.
“We believe in parental choice in education, and we love being a part of the journey. Together we are committed to teaching your child the subjects you deem fit using the approach that works best for you and your family. Never has education been more important for our children, who are growing up and needing to navigate this complex world,” said McMann.
Photography by Trent Schlamp