Many junior high schools in rural areas are limited by factors such as staff, resources, space, time, money and experience when it comes to providing optional classes to students. Seba Beach is also in this predicament, being a school of less than 150 students ECS through grade 12. To increase the opportunities for the students for students at Seba as well as the three schools (Tomahawk, Wabamun, Entwistle) which are all thirteen minutes away. The schools in the far western portion of Parkland School Division run collaborative WEST end options. Ironically WEST stands for the four schools that are involved:
Wabamun – W
Entwistle – E
Seba Beach – S
Tomahawk – T
By joining the schools for options we almost double the number of optional classes that the students can choose from, which is amazing for the students.
However, at the end of the last school year, while planning for the next school years scheduling. I noticed that there is a sufficient amount of time during the week that Seba Beach could run some of these same options as in-house options. Now, I know that some teachers and administrators out there are thinking two things :
This is going to be more work for the teachers?
Are teachers going to be taking away time from the core subjects to allocate for this additional option time?
The truth of it, is the answers for the questions are yes and no, respectively. Yeah there many be some more time that the teachers have to plan for and some more work in relation to keeping students motivated, but what it the outcome.
Students that are participating and enjoying their learning experience
That is a more than acceptable trade off. Remember it is all about the kids. Aside from this there is another benefit and it is not solely to that of my students. With the students in my school having the other options earlier in the week. It leaves additional spaces for the other schools students to participate in those options instead of competing for spots. I will be honest, it does mean that my students do get two options per term instead of one., but that only means that they have a better rounded year. I am looking forward to the start up and running of our new in-house options program.
I do however have one request, if you have an idea for an option that you believe would be feasible in a small rural school please share. It will be greatly appreciated.