March 14, 2018 1:23 pm
Updated: March 14, 2018 1:25 pm

Virtual public school to fill the void for adult learning in Calgary

The Vista Virtual School will begin offering classes to adults on May 1.

Vista Virtual School
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A virtual public school that offers the Alberta curriculum to online high school students is now planning to expand to accept adults.

Vista Virtual, based in Pembina Hills, north of Edmonton, plans to pick up the slack now that Chinook Learning Services in Calgary will no longer offer high school courses for those 20 and older.

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Associate principal Frank McCallum told 770 CHQR’s Danielle Smith on Wednesday that they’ll start taking adult registrations come May 1.

“We’ve been asked about adult education for many years and it was really only with the word of what was happening in Calgary that Vista Virtual is making that change for the coming school year,” McCallum said.

“Effective May 1, we will take adults into our virtual program.”

McCallum said they’re still working out the course costs, but it would likely be similar to what Chinook Learning Services had in place.

LISTEN: Vista Virtual to accept adult students CBE axes adult education program

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He said by accessing public school courses online, students don’t have to worry that their credits would not be transferable between institutions.

“Because we are a public school, these courses do go on to the public transcript, which is the same transcript everybody gets from Alberta Education and therefore goes towards the diploma,” McCallum explained.

Chinook Learning Services is moving out of Viscount Bennett because of the costly repairs and renovations needed at the aging facility.

At the same time, the province will now only fund the program for students aged 19 or younger. Those classes will be based out of Lord Beaverbrook and James Fowler high schools.

On Tuesday, some students pleaded with Calgary Board of Education (CBE) trustees not to do away with the adult program. They’re worried about the gap for adult learners looking to complete their high school education in a classroom setting.

WATCH BELOW: Alberta government announcing steps to enhance adult literacy

READ MORE: Mature students make desperate plea to keep their Calgary school open

McCallum acknowledged online learning isn’t for everyone.

“Once a student gets started in a course, they’re very likely to finish. We have a success rate, once students start, of about 70 per cent. But it’s those students who don’t finish; they come in, they register and we literally don’t hear from them again because the virtual setting wasn’t the right setting for them,” McCallum said.

McCallum said at this time there are no plans to offer classroom courses, but added that it’s a “dynamic” situation.

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