Students who prefer face to face learning instead of strictly online received some good news as the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Learning Centre has gone back to the old system.
The Bayfield Mall is home to the Learning Centre, which has several classrooms in the east end of the mall for students, adults and others who are looking to better their education.
For a few years, the system had students sign up for the online courses in hopes of receiving their education, but night school program co-ordinator Liz McClelland says that it became clear that students were looking for a more personal connection.
“We did for about three years have our night school set up to a hybrid method where we were doing one night in class and three hours online,” said McClelland. “We have decided this year to switch it back to all face-to-face classes with the students coming two nights a week again.
"A lot of our courses are university prep courses that students are using to get their marks up for admissions to universities, and colleges and particularly with math and sciences it is great to have that face to face interaction with the teachers.”
The hours are 6-9 p.m. on either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday depending on the course the students choose and all courses are taught in the Learning Centre. Students from Collingwood, Midland, Orillia, Bradford, Alliston and anyone else in the county can register at their learning centre, but the in-person classes happen in Barrie.
Classes start Sept. 10, allowing students time to settle into their first few days of high school before meeting with their guidance counsellor who can direct them to the learning centre for whatever they need.
“We do have a large number of adult students who are coming back to finish high school or looking for a career change,” said McClelland. “A lot of our students are current high school students who can’t fit a subject into their normal day schedule or they’re looking to update a mark and starting a week after the first day of school allows them the opportunity to figure out what it is they need and then come see us.”
The centre is staffed with a mixture of current full-time and substitute teachers who can accommodate hundreds of students over the course of a semester.
“The number of students depends on the semester, but in the second semester we can be upwards of 800 students with in the first week, between our two offered nights,” said McClelland. “The first semester is typically smaller with maybe 400 to 500 students just because we have a few less classes and sections. Those who didn’t get the grade they wanted in the first semester will usually sign up in the second.”
All Grade 11 and 12 courses are offered from English, math, sciences and a couple social sciences being that they are the core classes that students need to graduate as well as for post-secondary applications.
McClelland also adds that either board in the region can be assisted by the learning centre.
“High school students with the SCDSB register through their guidance counsellor and high school students with the Catholic board also register through their guidance counsellor, but need to print a registration form from our website first," she said. "Adult students who aren’t currently enrolled in either of the school boards here would just come into any one of our six learning centres and meet with any one of our program co-ordinators there who will get them all set up, needing just some ID and a copy of their high school transcript.”
For those who work night shifts or are otherwise unable to make the face to face classes, McClelland says that the online option is available still.
“The day school online is offered through all six of our centres so people can still take credits that way,” said McClelland. “Those are nine-week blocks and they would take one or two credits in that time frame and that is really well suited for students who are working full-time or on shift work or really whatever reason that stops you from being unable to commit to night school.”
For more information, visit http://www.thelearningcentres.com/adult-student/night-school.