The students are focusing on spring and approaching summer holidays, but the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) is planning for the third year of the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education.
The community formed distributed learning centre, which resembles a regular school in most ways, had grown from 17 students enroled in its first year, to approximately 49 students registered, and 11 expressing interest, for its third year.
“The numbers show that the need is here,” says Barb Kupferschmidt Linder, president of the SPES. “The forecast of 60 is for kids who are already residents of the community, not incoming. Sixty’s not out of the question, and that’s without promoting (the centre). If we did that, the numbers would go even higher.”
Those growing numbers pose a financial challenge for the society and community, but the board affirms that schooling on the mountain will have a long and successful future.
The SPES, in partnership with the Sun Peaks Municipality, have been lobbying government to have the Discovery Centre adopted as a public school to ease the local fundraising burden of covering operating costs.
“The proposal is for full funding and teaching support for our kindergarten to Grade 6 program, and a continued @KOOL model for the Grades 7 to 12,” explains Maria Cannon, director with the SPES.
However, even if public status isn’t granted, the learning centre will continue to operate and be managed by the SPES, as it’s been doing since 2010.
“We are fully confident,” says Cannon. “There’s such huge support from the whole community to see this school continue because it’s been such a great success, it’s the heart and the soul of the community and it’s going to move forward. We’re moving ahead, we’re going to continue to lobby for public support.”
To facilitate planning for the upcoming year, the SPES requests that all new and returning students complete 2012-2013 application forms as soon as possible. The forms are available on the DCBE website.
The society also asks residents with, or knowing of, children in the community under the age of five to contact the SPES for their long term planning.
Visit the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education at www.balancededucation.ca