Nicholas L. M. Allen
May 10, 2023
“Celebrating the unique diversity of our students has been an important part of building a positive and inclusive school culture.”
Summit Trails Online High School and Discovery Trails Online School are welcoming students from across Alberta to register for Grade 1 to 12 programs in 2023/24.
The schools, part of Rocky View School Division (RVS), said they are excited to welcome new students online for the next school year.
“We have built our online school community to be a supported, inclusive community where students can grow while following their own path,” said Dave Smith, principal of Summit Trails Online High School, “Summit Trails and Discovery Trails serve many types of students in many parts of the province, from those not comfortable in a traditional school to high-performance athletes.
Most of the students have joined the online school from urban and rural areas surrounding Calgary. More recently, some students are registering in the northern and southern parts of the province.
“Celebrating the unique diversity of our students has been an important part of building a positive and inclusive school culture,” said Smith, “Expanding our school community geographically is another opportunity to connect students with peers they wouldn’t have met otherwise and learn from each other.”
RVS’ online schools use a combination of real-time online video interaction and instruction, online activities/resources, pre-recorded videos and independent work. Registration for the online schools is free for students in Alberta.
“Students have told us that were it not for our programs, they might not be successful in school,” said Bob Rodgers, principal of Discovery Trails, “Our teachers and administration work with students to ensure they get what they need from school, whether it is flexibility, support or simply space to be who they are.”
They explained the online schools were born out of necessity during the pandemic and became permanent schools soon after because of their success. The 2022/23 school year was the first one year they opened their virtual classrooms to all Alberta students. The schools offer opportunities to families who either do not have a fully online option with their local public school division or are looking for alternative options.
Each of the schools have their own culture and spirit, from the high school’s emphasis on mental health to Discovery Trail’s focus on exploring, learning and discovering.
“Our students have learned, grown and succeeded with us,” Smith said, “They are a diverse learning community and we are excited to watch them continue to flourish.”
For more information or to begin the registration and transfer process, visit www.rockyview.ab.ca/onlineschools.