COVID-19: Accessing ADLC Resources

With the emergence of COVID-19, we would like to remind you that we provide free access to course resources to all schools in the province. View full details

ADLC Services Intact for 2020-21 School Year

ADLC’s Student Instruction (SI) and Teacher Support (TS) services will continue to be provided to Alberta schools in 2020-2021. Thereafter, distance education services will shift to online schools operated by school jurisdictions. Pembina Hills School Division will restructure its Vista Virtual School to support students enrolled in our schools and we invite partnerships with Alberta school divisions to efficiently support your students as well. We are confident that our experience and existing infrastructure can continue to fill the needs presented by students in rural, urban, small and large schools.  

On February 27, ADLC was informed by Deputy Minister Andre Corbould that the service agreement with Alberta Education will be renewed for two more school years; 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Next year’s funding will be $14 million, and in the year following, it will be $7 million.

Service Agreement will be Terminated after 2021-2022 School Year

In an effort to understand the decision and to ensure that the Ministry had all relevant information, the Pembina Hills board and system administration engaged in a dialogue with the Minister, her staff and with the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) Board of Directors. Despite ADLC’s presence in the majority of schools across the province, the recommendation from CASS is to support the government’s decision to terminate ADLC’s Service Agreement. Pembina Hills will therefore plan to terminate the Service Agreement as per the timeline set by the Minister.

Distance Education Services Fill Programming Gaps

At this time of year, schools are preparing programs and schedules for the next school year. Principals are sometimes challenged to meet the demands of their students. For example, when timetables have competing singleton courses, when programming is not available at the school, (like Spanish or Forensics), when programming for low enrollments in a particular course (like Physics 30 or Math 31), and when students need to or want to repeat courses. Principals sometimes need to assign teachers to subjects that may be outside their expertise or to classes with multiple grades or courses. We know that many schools have relied on ADLC to fill these programming gaps for many years. ADLC will continue to fill those gaps in 2020-2021, but due to reduced funding, available spaces for student instruction will be capped. Based on existing demand, we anticipate reaching capacity early in the school year.  

New Funding Framework for Online Programs 

Like in many other divisions, schools in Pembina Hills rely on distance education services to fill the gaps described above. Alberta Education’s new funding model provides guidelines for divisions who choose to maintain or develop online programs. These guidelines place limits on funding for non-primary students (students whose primary registration is with a traditional community school in any given school division). While Pembina Hills has administered ADLC for the province since 1997, we have also maintained a separate distance education school; Vista Virtual School (VVS).  

Pembina Hills has operated Vista Virtual School since 1996, prior to divestiture of ADLC to Pembina Hills. Vista Virtual School has evolved to have the highest enrollment of any distance education school in Alberta. With decades of distance education experience, VVS staff and administration are well positioned to support students. 

Partnering to Provide Distance Education

As part of the discussion about ADLC’s termination, CASS queried Alberta School superintendents about ADLC. While the majority of the responses supported the decision to terminate ADLC’s service agreement, 7 of the 67 respondents expressed their support for continuity of distance education services through ADLC, based on their reliance on services provided to their students and schools. Some of these have subsequently reached out to Pembina Hills seeking possible collaborative partnerships going forward. It is evident that the 10,000+ students currently served by ADLC and the 10,000+ students enrolled with Vista Virtual School will continue to require some form of distance education.

We are inviting partnerships with any other Alberta school authority to work with us as we transition to a different way of supporting students and schools with distance education services. If this is something you wish to investigate, please have your division administration reach out directly to superintendent David Garbutt at david.garbutt@pembinahills.ca.

Summer Extension Requests Open May 1 – SI Courses

summer extensions open May 1, laptop on grass

Beginning May 1, we will once again be accepting requests for summer extensions in Student Instruction (SI) courses through our Student Information System (SIS), provided the following conditions have been met:  

  • Normally, Partner/Affiliate schools must have summer support available for the students for whom they wish to extend courses. This support usually included both a physical location and in-person support (teacher or facilitator). However, as of April 15*, students are still not eligible to attend their school. Therefore, “interim summer support” is in effect. We would expect that the registering school would have a site-based person responsible for and available by phone or email to support their students and ADLC if required. 
  • ADLC will adjust summer extensions and processes according to relative Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services directives.
  • ADLC must have sufficient enrollment requests from all partner/affiliate schools to justify providing an ADLC teacher to teach a course. This means that an extension request from a partner/affiliate school does not guarantee that the course will be made available.

Request deadline is May 15. Partner schools will receive notification by June 1 if their requests have been granted. Granted extensions will have until July 31, 2020 to complete their course.

Have questions? Give us a call at 1-866-774-5333 or email info@adlc.ca.

Meeting with Minister LaGrange, April 22, 2020

This is an update to the ongoing dialogue between the Ministry of Education and Pembina Hills School Division in regard to the pending conclusion of the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) Service Agreement.

On April 22, 2020, the Board of Trustees met via video conference with Minister LaGrange and some of her staff to continue the discussion about Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

Board Chair, Jennifer Tuininga, listed the information that had been provided to the Minister’s office to date. A full list is provided at the end of this article.

Support for Learning-at-Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the Minister did not have questions about the information that has already been shared, she had other questions. She requested information on how ADLC is serving teachers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister LaGrange described concerns that the Ministry had received regarding ADLC’s contact with Alberta school authority staff.

  • Chair Tuininga updated the Minister regarding ADLC’s role in supporting schools, teachers and students during the pandemic.
    • Since the cancellation of school classes on March 16th, the demand for ADLC services has grown substantially. To date 41% of Alberta teachers and 68% of the schools across Alberta have registered to access ADLC services.
  • Chair Tuininga emphasized that ADLC’s infrastructure has been able to handle the increased demand.
    • ADLC has been a center of excellence in the delivery of distance education for decades.
      ADLC was able to share this experience with teachers who attended virtual training sessions.
    • Supplying schools and teachers with the means to provide instruction to students in unusual circumstances is part of ADLC’s mandate.
  • Principal Kaplan explained that updates are published as News items on the ADLC website and circulated to a list of email subscribers.
  • Superintendent Garbutt asked that the Ministry forward any such concerns to him so he can address them directly.

Interpretation of data 

Minister LaGrange requested further explanations about diploma exam results, PAT participation, and course completions.

  • The administration agreed to provide further review and analysis of these measures.

Perceptions from School Authority Superintendents

Minister LaGrange’s team reiterated the feedback they had gathered from school authority superintendents. They suggested that school authorities can provide online education services effectively on their own.  While the majority of the current online schools use ADLC courses and in some cases, ADLC infrastructure, the belief is that ADLC is unfairly funded. The Ministry is responding to requests from these school divisions for a different model that shares the funding across the province.

  • Chair Tuininga noted that while school authority leaders have provided a perspective, the users (Distance Education Facilitators) at the school level provided a differing perspective through a survey conducted shortly after the funding changes were announced.

The Deputy Minister invited Superintendent Garbutt to join him in a meeting with the CASS (College of Alberta School Superintendents) Board of Directors to discuss distance education services.

ADLC services fill gaps for students across Alberta

Chair Tuininga reiterated that ADLC services fill gaps for students across Alberta.

  • Schools can choose to have ADLC deliver content directly to students, or teachers can choose to use the course content with their own students.
  • ADLC is unique in that it does not need to be an all-or-nothing solution. Many students receive instruction for parts of courses, and many teachers select specific units, resources or assessments from existing courses.
    • While a school may register a student in an ADLC course, the student might complete the course with their own school.
    • A student may have already completed the course with their own school and request an opportunity to improve their mark.  Their school may register them in the ADLC course and they receive instruction for the part of the course they wish to upgrade.
    • A side effect of that sort of gap-filling is that it reduces the ADLC course completion rate.
  • The fact that students who use parts of ADLC courses have their needs met is more important than the statistic.

Because distance education services in Alberta are a critical part of thousands of students’ lives, Pembina Hills will continue to explain to the Minister and her staff how Alberta’s students benefit from ADLC’s provincial mandate.

The Minister concluded the meeting with a commitment to continue talking and expressed a desire to visit ADLC in person.


Information Provided to date

The following  information was provided to Deputy Minister Andre Corbould, and Assistant Deputy Ministers Gene Williams and Michael Walter at a meeting with Superintendent David Garbutt, ADLC Principal Steven Kaplan, Secretary Treasurer Tracy Leigh, and Outgoing Secretary Treasurer Tracy Meunier on March 23, 2020.  The Deputy Minister committed to briefing Minister LaGrange on the information that was provided. The information included:

  • The number of school authorities, schools and students served by ADLC
  • The significant changes we have made to the structure of ADLC at the request of Alberta Education over the past few years
  • A summary of the feedback we received from distance education facilitators
  • An explanation regarding ADLC’s completion rates
  • The cost effectiveness of ADLC
  • The ways that ADLC “levels the playing field” for provincial school authorities
  • The ways that ADLC reduces “red tape” for school partners
  • The history of how ADLC has supported the province through emergency and contingency services
  • A copy of the over 700 responses accompanied by approximately 400 comments from schools distance education facilitators, (the teachers, support staff or school administrators at partner schools) – collected by survey in just 7 days
  • A list of the ADLC Partner Schools in the province
  • A list of school authorities served in the province including the number of schools, courses, teachers and student enrolments
  • ADLC Diploma Exam results
  • A list of the province’s online schools showing that all but a few are currently served by ADLC.

Regarding Continuity of Education

girl on bed doing homework

ADLC is well positioned to support teachers and students in the Continuity of Education.

ADLC is guided by these two documents:

As was announced March 15 and until further notice, students are no longer allowed to attend in-school classes. Since then, School Authorities have developed plans to support student learning at home. ADLC works with affiliated School Authorities to meet their needs, which include their students. ADLC provides two key services: Student Instruction and Teacher Support.

Students enrolled in ADLC print or online courses through Student Instruction do not need to physically attend their school to continue in their course. Until we receive different guidance, students enrolled in ADLC courses are expected to continue their course work as regularly required. Exceptions* may apply.

ADLC Teachers are responsible for assessing students enrolled in Student Instruction.  They will continue reporting on their progress and will assign a final grade.

Provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests (PATs) and Grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled through to the end of June 2020. This applies to all students including those enrolled in Student Instruction at ADLC.

Students currently registered to write diploma exams during April and June sessions will receive exemptions, without the need to apply for the exemption. You may have heard differing messages regarding whether or not students should register for the exam to be eligible for the exemption. However, to avoid disappointment and confusion we strongly recommend that students ensure they are registered to write the diploma exam. To be clear:

  • Students who are enrolled in a Diploma Exam course for the first time and receiving Student Instruction at ADLC will have to register for the diploma exam using MyPass before April 9 to be eligible for the exemption;
  • Students who are retaking a diploma exam course will get a new school-awarded mark upon completion. We have been told that, “Diploma exam rewriters that have a new school-awarded mark will automatically receive an exemption. They do not need to register for the diploma as this would trigger a request for payment”.

Regarding expectations for course completion, in the best interest of the student and within reason:

  • All students who were on track to progress to the next grade or successfully complete a course will do so;
  • “On Track” at ADLC refers to completing as much of the course as reasonably possible* with at least a 50% achievement by June 15;
  • ADLC teachers have been mandated to ensure essential course outcomes are identified and part of a student’s on track achievement. Teachers will communicate this to the student;
  • Every student will receive a final grade.

We trust the professionalism of teachers and education leaders to assess their students’ progress, no matter the learning environment, to determine suitable final grades and ensure students are properly prepared for the next level of their studies.

*Exceptions may apply. Please contact the ADLC teacher for more information or to ask questions. 

Note: This information is effective to date; please ensure to check our website for the latest, or call us at 1-866-774-5333 if you require further information.

Exemplary Teacher Award – Laura McCartney

Congratulations Laura!

“Laura McCartney is a Languages Teacher at the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). A strong advocate for her students, Laura always puts the welfare of her students first, providing them with the best possible learning experience. She is constantly challenging her students as they learn new languages!

“We are grateful to have Laura as a part of our teaching team at ADLC. Her contribution to ADLC and the students we serve is invaluable.”

Laura McCartney received the Pembina Hills School Division Exemplary Teacher Award in March 2020.

Re-posted from the Pembina Hills School Division website. 

Diploma Exam Exemptions & Supervision of ADLC Exams

student writing exam

Regarding Diploma Exam Exemptions

In order for students enrolled in Student Instruction (SI) with ADLC to be exempted from diploma exams, they must be registered to write the diploma exam.

  • The registration deadline for the June writing period is April 9th.
  • Please be certain to review your list ensuring that all students are registered.
  • *NEW* Students who are enrolled in a Diploma Exam course for the first time and receiving Student Instruction at ADLC will have to register for the diploma exam using MyPass before April 9 to be eligible for the exemption;
  • *NEW* Students who are retaking a diploma exam course will get a new school-awarded mark upon completion. We have been told that, “Diploma exam rewriters that have a new school-awarded mark will automatically receive an exemption. They do not need to register for the diploma as this would trigger a request for payment”.

Regarding ADLC Exam Supervision

Alberta Education provided direction regarding the continuity of education in a March 20, 2020 announcement: Continuing student learning. They also provided this list of Questions and Answers. ADLC has responded to this guidance as follows.

Because students are prohibited from entering schools and social distancing guidance in the current COVID-19 pandemic, ADLC will not be requiring students to attend their schools to have exams supervised. All ADLC teachers are developing a process that will work best for their students and will be communicating this directly to students.

As part of Alberta Education’s Continuity in Education plan, ADLC is working to ensure that the curricular outcomes of each course have been met and that students are prepared to move to the next phase of their schooling with the foundation needed to achieve success at the next level.

Questions about how exam writing and supervision will be conducted should be directed to the course teacher.

Cancelled: Planning Ahead Sessions

cancelled planning ahead sessions

“Planning Ahead” face-to-face sessions were scheduled to occur between April 21 and May 5, 2020 in various locations across Alberta. These sessions had been designed to support your experience with ADLC Student Instruction and Teacher Support services.

Since then, Alberta Health Services has implemented measures to help prevent further spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on mass gatherings. Therefore, ADLC’s Planning Ahead sessions will not be held as previously expected

Adjustments are regularly being made to system processes in response to the needs of our partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All of our latest news, updates, important dates and other key information can be found on our website. Subscribe to our news to get the latest updates directly in your mailbox.

ADLC’s Partner Support team continues to be available to answer questions and support our partnership with you. If you have any questions, give us a call at 1-866-774-5333 or email us at info@adlc.ca

Student Instruction (SI) Registrations Reopened until April 15

laptop with ADLC Student Information System webpage open

ADLC continues to adapt to the needs of educators as the COVID-19 situation continues. After having temporarily suspended registrations pending further information, we are now able to reopen all Student Instruction (SI) courses.

The new deadline to register a student in SI is April 15, 2020. Exceptions may apply to graduating students.

Students will still be expected to complete their course work by June 15, 2020.

As always, students must be registered through the Distance Education Facilitator/Super User.

Please contact ADLC Partner Support at info@adlc.ca for more information.

SIS Change: Ordering Consumable Materials Without Student Enrollment

laptop with ADLC Student Information System webpage open

Edited March 23, 2020
Starting today, March 20, partner school Super Users have the ability to order consumable Teachers Support (TS) materials in the ADLC Student Information System (SIS)
without registering a student. These materials will be shipped to the school. The fees for these materials are charged on a cost recovery basis.

See our how-to document for details. For all SIS help documentation, see the SIS Training Resources page.

Note: Student Instruction (SI) course materials are still ordered at the time of student registration or on the Materials page of the Student profile.

Questions? Give us a call at 1-866-774-5333 or email info@adlc.ca.

 

COVID-19: Message from Principal Kaplan

March 19, 2020

Greetings,

I wanted to reach out on behalf of all ADLC staff to let you know that we are here to support you during this unique, challenging, uncertain, and complex time.

We know that student coursework may not be at the top of your list of priorities. Be assured that we are committed to your school and your students’ learning. We will continue to accommodate and support you in the coming days, weeks, and beyond.  We encourage you to ask any questions you have concerning ADLC.

ADLC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will adjust its operational practices according to the public safety guidelines issued by the Government of Alberta. We will continue to let you know about any changes that affect you.

The health and safety of our staff is very important to maintaining continuity of education.. As such, we have implemented a plan allowing our employees to work from home. We are taking every step to ensure that all of our usual course and technical supports continue to be available to you.

Visit the ADLC website to find out the latest and other key information.

Please be assured that in these exceptional circumstances, the entire ADLC team remains committed to assisting you, your students, and providing the same technical support and service you have come to expect from us.

Thank you, take care, and we wish you all the best.

 

Steven Kaplan
Principal