Admission applications are being accepted April 1 for 2014/15 at Rossland’s Seven Summits Centre for Learning

By Contributor
March 13th, 2014

The board of Visions for Small Schools (VSS) is pleased to announce that admissions are now being accepted for the 2014 – 2015 school year at the Seven Summits Centre for Learning.

Seven Summits is heading into its second year of operation in partnership with SelfDesign Learning Community and offers a learner-centered, inquiry-based learning approach, including the entire B.C. grade 8-12 high school graduation program, as well as a diverse suite of dynamic independent study choices and community initiatives.

Seven Summits’ first year has been an amazing success. Our Mentors and Learning Consultants (B.C. certified teachers) Jonny Coleshill, Melanie Boothe and D’Arcy Ziprick are inspiring 35 full and part-time students to work hard at their core academic and elective studies, as well as participate in many community-based programs and initiatives including camping, avalanche and backcountry training, first aid training, yoga, guitar lessons, biathlon, and more. Red Mountain Academy athletes also attend Seven Summits, and work with flexible hours so they can focus on their training and racing. Special education and ESL programs are offered, and we have had many amazing community volunteers working with the students at Seven Summits, offering their expertise.

The majority of our students are local, but we also have ten international and out-of-province students, many who homestay, providing a great cultural experience for our learners and the families they live with.

The biggest challenge of our first year has been the lack of an administrator — all of that work has been and is being done by the VSS volunteer board so tuition fees could be kept as low as possible. But that is not sustainable, unfortunately. After much discussion, the board has made the difficult decision to raise tuition fees to $2100 per student. We are doing this because, as hard as we tried to keep fees down for locals, we need professional staff to manage the school, as opposed to a band of dedicated but over-worked volunteers. The addition of an administrator will be a major improvement, with this staff person focussing on program development, more supervision and parental support, being a community liaison, grant writing, career counselling and much more.

Second students in the family will pay $1850, and there is a $100 deduction per student if fees are paid in full by September 1, 2014. Subsidized tuition is available for families in need. This tuition fee is still one of the lowest of all independent schools in the province. Regionally, the Fernie Academy charges $2400, the Kimberley Independent School charges $3300, and St Michael’s Catholic elementary school in Trail charges $2100. Rates go much, much higher around the province.

It is truly remarkable what has been created from scratch, on a shoestring, with almost no lead time. Seven Summits is a successfully functioning alternative for Rossland students and a way to keep K-12, the Red Mountain Academy and an international program in Rossland, all of which are economic engines for our community. With the addition of administrative staff, the board and mentors can focus on making Seven Summits an even better learning experience for our students.

In addition to saving money by paying tuition fees by September 1, it is important for families to apply to Seven Summits early as we can only accept a limited number of students in our small, intimate space. We are receiving much interest for Fall 2014, so please email info@sevensummitslearning, go to www.sevensummitslearningor call 250-362-7772 for more information. Registrations will be accepted starting April 1, 2014.

About Self Design and Seven Summits

SelfDesign Learning Community, an independent distributed learning school, is an internationally recognized and award-winning leader in the field of education including the “Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Education Innovation.” All courses are certified by the B.C. Ministry of Education.

SelfDesign offers a low student/teacher ratio enabling personalized learning customized to each learner’s needs, using an effective combination of online interactive learning and face-to-face learning. All Mentors are certified teachers with the Ministry of Education, who work at the centre with learners.

Full and part-time options are available to fit each learner’s schedule, creating flexibility not only for Red Mountain Academy athletes who attend, but any learners who want to focus on other interests and activities in addition to their academic studies. We also welcome Grade 10 – 12 students who wish to cross-enroll with other learning institutions. Special Education support and ESL support are available as well.

The learner/ SelfDesign High Mentor/ Learning Consultant ratio is low and SelfDesign High Mentors/ Learning Consultants are available to collaborate with parents on individual learner needs. Learners will be challenged to think for themselves, to be accountable for their studies and deadlines, and to organize their thoughts in order to communicate clearly and well. In short, learners will be given good foundations to help them meet the challenges of the future and succeed no matter their individual goals.

In addition to the core academic requirements of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics and the Sciences, learners at the SelfDesign High level also have opportunities for study in the full range of electives.

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