Friday, February 26, 2016
Sun West Distance Learning Centre Celebrates Grand Opening In Kenaston SK
After eight consecutive years of growth in their distance education courses, Sun West Distance Learning Centre (DLC) has officially opened the doors on a brand new, 15,000 square foot facility in Kenaston, Saskatchewan.
What was once a small crew of three working out of an empty classroom in Kenaston School, is today a team of fifty-five teachers and ten dedicated administrators and support staff that develop and deliver distance education to over 2,100 students from every corner of the province. As the largest online school in Saskatchewan, the DLC guarantees that each of its 120 courses are fully aligned with Saskatchewan curriculum and are taught by certified Saskatchewan teachers. The course directory lists a full spectrum of core courses from Kindergarten to Grade 12 as well as over 70 interest-based electives at the high school level including astronomy, paleontology, forensic science, personal finance, and power engineering. Included in that list are several dual credit courses which the DLC delivers in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan and/or Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“At the DLC, our vision is to empower every learner. We want to facilitate access to a quality education for all, and to enable them to learn at a pace and in a context that best suits them. With all of us working collaboratively out of one centralized facility, we can effectively work towards that goal,” said Principal Jade Ballek. “This building allows us to work together as a team, or several small teams, to create both educational content and learning experiences that support our learners.”
Today’s grand opening event also serves as the launch of a newly defined brand for the DLC. An iconic shield and sunbeam denote a separate and unique entity, while the black, gold and grey colour scheme maintains visual connections to the Sun West School Division, which is where the dream – and the resources – for the DLC first came to be. Director of Education, Dr. Guy Tetrault, says, “For Sun West, the DLC represents a massive shift in paradigm, an entirely new way of connecting people with knowledge and learning experiences. Gone are the days where every student learns from a desk, in a row, in a four-walled classroom. Learning, for students of all ages, is a dynamic and creative process and we want to provide students with opportunities to personalize that learning, by choosing a path and a place that is best for them. We built this facility to house a team of teaching professionals and to connect them to the tools, both physical and digital, that will allow us to support students and teachers in traditional brick and mortar classrooms as well as learners in environments of their own making. I like to refer to this new era as personalized, electronic blended learning (PeBL).”
From inside their new space, the DLC leadership team has already begun to look strategically at future growth opportunities. Ongoing discussions with a number of educational and industry partners have the DLC administration excited about new program development as well as new learner groups that they can begin to accommodate. “With technology removing more barriers all the time and learners’ insatiable appetite for knowledge, we have more motivation than ever before to find new ways to deliver education and partners with whom to do that,” says Ballek. “And with potential partners appearing from a multitude of directions, it would seem that the sky is the limit.”
Grand Opening – Sun West Distance Learning Centre
Friday, February 26, 2016 ~ 10:00am – 12:00pm
II. O’Canada – Led by Kenaston School Students
III. Principal’s Message – Jade Ballek, DLC Principal
IV. Division Message – Dr. Guy Tétrault, Director of Education Sun West School Division
V. Board of Trustees Celebration – Karen Itterman, Chair of the Sun West Board
VI. Congratulations from Ministry of Education and Province of Saskatchewan – The Honourable Don Morgan, Ministry of Education
VII. Celebration of Partnerships – Darren Gasper, Superintendent
VIII. Student Success Stories
– Ennis Walder, 2013 DLC High School Graduate
– Cassandra Maurer, 2015 Transitioned from Home School to DLC to Graduate
X. Presentation of 21st Century System Innovation Award – Robert Martellacci, C21 Canada
XI. Ribbon Cutting – In front of DLC
XII. Tour of DLC – Led by DLC Administration
We invite all guests to join us for a light lunch in the DLC Staff Room at the end of the tour.
Biographies of Student Speakers
Having married, raised four children and realized several impressive accomplishments in her adult life, something else remained on Ennis’s list of things to do: complete her high school education. Unbeknownst to her adult children, at the age of 86 years old this incredible woman registered herself at the DLC, signing up for Math 30, Social Studies 30 and ELA A30. Not only did she successfully complete her first three online courses, but the rest of the credits required to graduate from high school. In June of 2013, Ennis joined nine other graduates from Kenaston School in proudly accepting her diploma and then bestowed upon the audience some wise words about life and the value of education.
Born and raised at Grenfell SK on a grain farm, Cassandra grew up in a business minded family with a strong work
ethic. Cassandra was homeschooled and graduated with a Saskatchewan Diploma in June of 2015. She is currently attending Parkland College in Yorkton to earn her Agriculture Machinery Technician certificate. Her favourite pastimes are found on the farm where she loves to operate the machinery and spend time quadding or cruising with friends.