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Frequently asked questions

SelfDesign® Learning Foundation
How is SelfDesign® governed?2020-02-17T11:08:57-08:00

SelfDesign Learning Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors consisting of up to 11 elected directors. The board meets regularly and holds an annual general meeting within six months of the end of the fiscal year (July 31st of each year).

SelfDesign Learning Foundation’s board of directors:

  • Creates and reviews policy that supports the mission of the organization.
  • Hires and evaluates the CEO/President.
  • Acts as needed to ensure the health and long-term success of the organization.
  • Provides strategic support and expertise.
  • Ensures continuity of the vision, legacy, and succession of leadership for the organization.
  • Advocates for SelfDesign both as an organization and as a model for learning.
What are SelfDesign’s model and philosophy?2020-02-17T11:12:34-08:00

The SelfDesign philosophy and model is shaped around three core elements:

  • Learning is a continuous and accumulating process rather than a product or set of outcomes. From imagining and planning, from enacting and experiencing, from reflecting and assessing to re-imagining…this process lasts a lifetime.
  • Learners are positioned at the centre of their individualized learning path.
  • Learning and personal development occur within nurturing, relational environments.

We believe:

  • That every learner, regardless of age, brings a unique contribution to the world. SelfDesign ensures that the learning environment becomes the vehicle rather than the obstacle in making those contributions come to life.
  • That people learn everywhere and in every moment and that learning is enriched and amplified through conversations and relationships with others.
  • In the safety, acceptance and inclusion of all learners in regard to ability, learning style, culture, personal or spiritual beliefs, gender identity and expression.
  • Real-life learning happens in your home, online and local community and through relationships within your family, along with B.C. certified educators and peers.
  • In the development of traits such as self-agency, collaboration, and a sense of social and global responsibility, which can position learners to be successful in post-secondary programs and careers.
SelfDesign® Learning Community
How is SelfDesign funded?2020-08-31T18:44:18-07:00

SelfDesign Learning Foundation, the authority for the SelfDesign® Learning Community, is funded through various streams including grants, donations and charitable gifts.

SelfDesign Learning Community is funded by the BC Ministry of Education as a Group 1 Independent Online Learning School. This means we are funded at 63 per cent of the flat public school online learning per-student rate.

SelfDesign Learning Community also receives funding from the BC Ministry of Education for learners with a special education designation. Funding is equivalent to 100 per cent of the public per student operating cost determined for the level of support required to provide the best possible education for the student. In other words, this funding is the same for all learners across the province.

What is SelfDesign Learning Community?2020-07-30T10:37:37-07:00

SelfDesign Learning Community is one of the largest independent online learning schools in British Columbia and offers tuition-free education to residents of B.C. We offer a personalized and flexible approach to education for approximately 2,000 learners from kindergarten to grade 12 each year.

Can my child graduate?2019-11-19T18:10:23-08:00

Learners have the same opportunities to graduate as learners in brick-and-mortar (traditional classroom-based) schools. Your child can apply to post-secondary institutions to further their education and work toward a future professional career. Your child can graduate with a B.C. Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma), Adult Graduation Diploma or School Completion (“Evergreen”) Certificate.

What is online learning?2020-07-30T10:24:06-07:00

As a new model of education for the 21st century, online learning offers solutions to many of the challenges faced by traditional brick and mortar schools. It also provides learning experiences that are flexible and supportive of the needs of today’s generation of learners.

Online learning meets provincial standards and is directed and supervised by a B.C. certified educator, with the responsibility for the program resting on SelfDesign Learning Community.

Homeschooling should not be confused with online learning. While homeschooling is the responsibility of the parent, students enrolled in an online learning school such as SelfDesign Learning Community are guided and supported by teachers certified by the B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch.

What is personalized learning?2020-03-09T09:56:39-07:00

Personalized learning, in the SelfDesign Learning Community, means your child takes the lead in their own learning. We understand that not all children learn in the same way, at the same pace, in the same learning environment. At SelfDesign Learning Community, we focus on your child being at the centre of their learning journey.

It is a 21st-century approach to education that puts the needs of your child first because they are a unique individual with their own learning style, interests and goals.

Personalized learning is different than classroom-based personalized learning. Classroom-based personalized learning involves customized educational lessons to support learners’ needs yet within the limitations of a fixed curriculum and learning schedule.

What sets SelfDesign Learning Community apart from other schools?2020-07-30T10:26:39-07:00

What sets us apart from other online learning schools and brick-and-mortar schools is our model and philosophy which is focused on personalized and lifelong learning.

We follow the B.C. Ministry of Education curriculum, in a way that puts your child at the centre of their learning journey. We acknowledge that learning is a process, not a product, and that it’s centred on relationships and conversation.

We guide your child, with the support of a B.C. certified educator, to develop a personalized learning plan for your child that will help them achieve the path to completion that best suits them – B.C. Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma), Adult Graduation Diploma, or School Completion (“Evergreen”) Certificate.

We also engage professional service providers to support your child in areas such as music, art, speech and occupational therapy, physical education classes, and more.

You are an expert in knowing your child and are a valued part of the circle of relationships that include parent, learner and educator.

Do SelfDesign educators and contractors have to undergo a criminal record check?2019-11-19T20:59:16-08:00

All SelfDesign Learning Community educators, service providers and contractors are required to submit a criminal record check for working with children, youth and vulnerable adults in order to provide services to SelfDesign Learning Community learners.

What is the Village of Conversations?2019-11-19T20:59:39-08:00

Your family has the opportunity to connect with other families by connecting online through our “Village of Conversations”, informally in your local communities, and through face-to-face group learning events. Village of Conversations is a SelfDesign Learning Community online topics forum and a gathering place for our community to connect with each other. It is open to all K-12 learners and families. You will have the opportunity to form relationships, ask questions, discuss resources and get help from one another and from B.C. certified educators.

What is the SelfDesign Path course for parents?2019-11-19T21:00:02-08:00

Support Services offers a special edition of our SelfDesign Learning Community, “A SelfDesign Path” course, adapted for parents of learners with special needs. This incredible self-paced, module-based course allows you to explore our approach to learning and relationships and is available on mobile or desktop.

This special course can lead to supportive conversations between you and your learning consultant, as well as contribute to richer family conversations.

Where does learning take place?2019-11-19T20:25:36-08:00

Learning takes place in your home, online and in your local community.

We provide you and your child with digital technologies and resources as a complement to real-world learning. This includes access to subscriptions such as Discovery Education and BrainPop, which we provide free of charge.

Your child will have the option to access to real-time online connections with their peers and B.C. certified educators using web conferencing technology. They also work with their educator on the digital platform for communication, the ePortfolio, as well as access resources and extend their learning through the SelfDesign Learning Experiences Library.

We also support learning through relationships and in the community by providing various optional group learning opportunities and in-person events such as:

  • Online workshops for grades 8 to 12
  • Online forums for learners and parents
  • Seasonal, fun-filled in-person camp opportunities for grades 9 to 12 (five per year)
  • Family camps (two per year)
  • Special interest clubs
  • Work experience or apprenticeship options for youth in grades 10 to 12
  • Yearly commencement ceremony
  • Other special events
How do we assess learning?2020-03-09T09:58:49-07:00

At SelfDesign Learning Community, we assess our learners based on competencies.

Because our kindergarten to Grade 12 program is based on competency, we assess learning not through reporting, but through a process we call Observing for Learning. Our B.C. certified educators participate in an ongoing weekly conversation with you and your child. This type of communication and dialogue is led by your educator.

In the Observing for Learning process, you observe and reflect on your child’s learning during that week which includes describing learning activities as well as the learner’s engagement or emotional response. Your educator responds, reflects and shares in observing, and also matches your child’s learning with B.C. Ministry of Education requirements, from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Your educator will coach you and your child in how to observe daily activities, assisting you in noticing learning as it unfolds in everyday moments.

As your child becomes a youth, they collaborate directly with the educator in the Observing for Learning process, with parent-support as needed. This fosters and allows your child to form a deepened awareness of their own integrated learning, goals, interests and skills related to learning to learn such as time management, flexible thinking, and organizational skills.

Who are our educators?2020-03-09T17:42:42-07:00

You and your child will be matched with one of SelfDesign’s 185 B.C. certified educators, called learning consultants, who guide learning in your home, online and in your community. They work with you and your child one-on-one to co-create individualized goals, interacting on a weekly basis with curiosity and inspiration. They provide direction and resources to the learner while validating learning for academic credit.

The role of the educator evolves as your child develops, from providing direct educational support for parents of younger learners to being a mentor and guide for youth as they enact their personalized learning.

Educators are matched with learners and families in the following ways:

  • Educators agree to work with your family based on the information you provide, and consideration of whether it’s a good fit for both parties.
  • Your family and the educator work together, potentially over the course of multiple years, until one or both parties decides to leave or a switch is made to another learner/educator.
  • If your child needs support services, a learning specialist is chosen for you based on your child’s needs, and you work together until one or both parties decides to leave or a switch is made to another learner/educator.
What is the role of the parent?2019-11-19T20:48:02-08:00

Parents are vital members of the learning team at SelfDesign.

You know your child’s needs best and often have the clearest ideas about what types of learning activities will best facilitate your child’s development. Our educators will take this input and work closely with your family to develop a learning plan that meets the learning needs of you child.

Being a parent of a SelfDesign learner does have a time commitment and it varies for each learner. Parents of learners in kindergarten to Grade 9 support learners at home and in their community and provide weekly communication through a process we call Observing for Learning.

Learners in grades 10-12 take a larger role in their own learning process and often do their own communicating through Observing for Learning, with support from their parent for home and community-based learning. Parents of learners receiving support services are required to provide additional supports for learners and engage in additional communication with educators.

Are there Indigenous learning opportunities?2019-11-19T21:08:00-08:00

Yes, SelfDesign Learning Community provide learners with Indigenous learning opportunities so they can understand the world and its relations through a framework of Indigenous wisdom and philosophy.

How is a learning plan created?2019-11-19T20:50:46-08:00

At the beginning of each learning year, your learning consultant will help your family craft an individualized learning plan for your child, taking into account their interests, goals and activities. You’ll collaborate with your learning consultant to plan for activities, learning experiences and resources that fit your child’s needs. SelfDesign does not send you any specific curriculum to engage with but supports your child’s learning in a personalized way.

We also give you access to our Learning Experience Library which includes more than 150 curated resource offerings to explore. These Learning Experiences contain videos, book suggestions, articles, hands-on activities and more; and each one is linked to the B.C. curriculum in a cross-curricular way.

Learning Community K-9 Program
What should I expect from kindergarten to Grade 7?2019-11-19T21:12:08-08:00

Our B.C. certified educational program allows the unique spirit of your child to evolve naturally, today and into the future. Our offerings speak both to the playful spirit of the child and the emerging maturity of the young person.

You and your child will work with your B.C. certified educator to create a personalized learning plan. The plan maps your child’s interests and curiosities, specifying resources and activities that will be used to facilitate learning and meet B.C. educational requirements.

You’ll work one-on-one directly with your educator, who will guide you through your child’s learning plan. As your child grows older, their direct relationship with the educator grows as well.

What should I expect in grades 8 and 9?2019-11-19T21:15:31-08:00
  • Grades 8 and 9 at SelfDesign Learning Community follows a similar program to kindergarten to Grade 7 with the addition of workshops that are either theme-related or personal development-related:
    • These optional drop-in workshops offer playful, low-pressure opportunities for your child to enter into a collaborative online learning environment, to develop foundational skills, and to interact with the curriculum through the themes.
    • Your child can participate in the workshops as observers or actively participate in sharing stories, laughter, and sharing perspectives on their themes.
  • In grades 8 and 9, your child will start to take on more responsibilities, engage in deeper Observing for Learning with their educator, and may explore connections with their peers online. These Observing for Learning communications provide evidence of learning that is validated by the educator for academic credit, and creates rich documentation for your child and your family about the breadth of learning that has occurred over the year.
  • You and your child will start to look towards grades 10 to 12 and what path to completion may suit them best: B.C. Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma), Adult Graduation Diploma or School Completion (“Evergreen”) Certificate.
  • Learning takes place in a variety of environments — at home and in communities as well as in SelfDesign-organized offerings, from camps to community events to online forums and special interest groups (optional).
Are there opportunities for social interaction?2019-11-19T21:16:43-08:00

Genius Hour

These optional sessions offer learners an opportunity to showcase (show and tell) what they are doing in their learning lives, ask questions, share ideas, and deepen their understanding about various topics.

Genius Hours are usually filled with laughter, sharing, creativity and exploration. Learners are encouraged to bring their ideas, innovations or projects and an encouraging voice as they share and learn from each other, or learners can simply join and listen in.

Grade 8/9 Circles

Learners in grades 8 and 9 have the opportunity to participate in Circle workshops. Circle is a committed group of learners who gather in a real-time weekly meeting on Zoom (online video conferencing application) to expand their study skills, practice group presentations and build learning connections with peers. Topics include community, job, active citizenship and so much more. There is no cost and participation is optional.

Grade 8/9 Workshops

These drop-in workshops consist of curated resources and optional activities that are intended to inspire and deepen learning. They are offered as a platform-based learning experience to explore at a learner’s own pace with educator-facilitated real-time meetings on Zoom. Workshops are open to all learners in grades 8 and 9, are included at no additional cost and participation is optional. Come for one workshop or attend them all.

Can I cross-enrol at my local school as well as take kindergarten to Grade 9 at SelfDesign?2020-08-06T10:11:43-07:00

Cross-enrollment is when SelfDesign learners take a course or program at another public or independent school or online learning school. Only learners in grades 8 and 9 are able to cross-enrol and need approval before doing so. Your learning consultant can guide this process.

I’m taking a vacation in September. Can I still do kindergarten to Grade 9 at SelfDesign?2019-11-19T21:28:03-08:00

We enrol learners in K-9 throughout the learning year.

I’m taking a big trip mid-year. Can I still do kindergarten to Grade 9 at SelfDesign?2019-11-19T21:28:49-08:00

It depends on the timing, length of trip, access to internet while away, and how organized you are before and after the trip. Because our program can be done online from anywhere, many of our learners have been on the move at some point in the year. However, we are a full-time program that spans the full learning year, and you’ll need to have access to the learning platform while you are away, or make a clear plan to meet our program agreements. If you have further questions, send a note with specifics to your learning consultant.

Does SelfDesign have a curriculum?2019-11-19T21:35:57-08:00

At the beginning of each learning year, your learning consultant will help your family craft an individualized learning plan for your child, taking into account their interests, goals and activities. You’ll collaborate with your learning consultant to plan for activities, learning experiences and resources that fit your child’s needs. SelfDesign does not send you any specific curriculum to engage with but supports your child’s learning in a personalized way.

We also give you access to our Learning Experience Library which includes more than 150 curated resource offerings to explore. These Learning Experiences contain videos, book suggestions, articles, hands-on activities and more; and each one is linked to the B.C. curriculum in a cross-curricular way.

Learning Community Grades 10-12