By Justin Seward
Prairie Rose Public Schools will be offering a new homeschooling program starting in the 2021-2022 school year.
The program will be a full time and shared homeschooling curriculum.
PRPS began engaging with home-schooling parents last fall in the southeast region to gain a better understanding about programming priorities and the reasons the homeschooling option was chosen.
The school division found out through the engagement that 500 students in the PRSP attendance area had chosen homeschooling instead being in the classroom.
“We went through this process, we did a consultation with some parents and (said), ‘What is it we can offer you?’ because these parents do want home education,” said Roger Clarke, PRPS superintendent.
“They believe in being home with their children and we want to respect that. In home education, the parent is responsible for delivery and for assessment. Normally, even if they’re a home education provider, you sign up the kids to your school division and facilitate that process—and get the right materials and do the work at home—and that’s how it goes. Parents have all the autonomy to figure out the day.”
Clarke said some of the parents in the consultation said there are times they want some service.
“Now with how the funding manual works, in what’s called Shared Responsibility, we have more ability to do that,” said Clarke.
“From a Shared Responsibility model, if a parents decides to sign their child up in terms of getting some programming and help at the school, they need to be at least 20 per cent with the school and 80 per cent at home.”
The reason PRSP is moving ahead with a home education program is so the school division can support the kids and families in their area who do not currently access facilities in their backyard, said Clarke.
Sherry Rissling will be moving over from Seven Persons School to be principal of the program.
“We know it’s going to be slow going—she might only have 20 to 30 kids next year,” said Clarke.
“But the truth is we want our public (schools) to gain confidence in the fact what our intention is— and our intention is to solely help kids. Her job will be obviously if there are kids and parents saying ‘Yeah we want to sign up with Prairie Rose. We still want to still educate our children at home but we want this, ‘X’,’ to bring the parent in the school and figure out how to make that happen.”
The parents will have to bring the student to the school where the course is offered and then transport them home again.
“COVID allowed us to re-think that we have more possibility in this area,” said Clarke.
“The more they do with the school, the greater the percentage is of the time the school division is providing the assistance; therefore the greater amount of money we can get through the Shared Responsibility grant,” said Clarke.
More information will be available at http://www.prrdweb.com.