“Our learners can get the same credentials from SelfDesign as in any school in the province,” SelfDesign Chief Learning Officer Nikki Kenyon says. “Our learners can – and do – successfully apply to post-secondary institutions to further their education and work towards professional careers.”
As learners begin to think about their path to completion and what comes after grade 12, they are supported every step of the way. For learners graduating with a Dogwood diploma or Adult Dogwood diploma, the Guidance Centre is a key support during their grade 10-12 years as they navigate the B.C. graduation program.
Learners and their families can access the SelfDesign Guidance Centre to help plan their final years with SelfDesign and map out their transition to adulthood after they finish their SelfDesign journeys. The Guidance team provides advice regarding theme and course selection in grades 10 to 12, facilitates provincial graduation requirements and external and dual credit options, and helps learners apply to colleges or universities or seek out scholarships and other funding.
The Path to Completion with SelfDesign
Guidance for the path towards completing grade 12 graduation requirements
A big part of the Guidance team’s work is to support educators, learners and families as learners navigate SelfDesign’s grades 10 to 12 and the graduation requirements for the Dogwood and Adult Dogwood diplomas set out by the BC Ministry of Education.
“We support you in meeting your B.C. graduation program requirements through SelfDesign’s grade 10 to 12 thematic program, and we help you interpret how those two things intersect,” says Guidance Team Coordinator Ruby Payne.
“The Ministry of Education’s grad program is very structured and specific,” she says. “We help our educators and learners make sense of those requirements as the learners are selecting their themes, as they’re looking at cross-enrolling at a local school for a course or two, as they’re looking at participating in a dual credit program…whatever it happens to be.”
The connections are usually straightforward. A learner selects their top three preferred themes, and the appropriate courses and credits accumulate naturally as the learner progresses through grades 10 to 12.
But complications can arise.
“The learner may need to reduce the number of courses they take from a specific theme,” Ruby says. “Or the learner might be cross-enrolling for two courses, or looking at participating in a dual credit program. Learners, families, and learning consultants all need to work with the guidance team to make these individualized pathways a reality.”
As part of this, the Guidance team processes those requests from learners to cross-enrol with other B.C. high schools. They also track external and dual credits for learners, including high school credits for courses a current learner might take at the college or university level while still enrolled with SelfDesign.
Providing layers of support
The Guidance team, which is part of SelfDesign’s Family Services and consists of three educators and two administrators, works primarily with learning consultants to support the educators’ learners and families.
But Ruby and colleagues Michelle, Wendy, Amber and John are happy to answer questions from and work directly with learners and families, too.
“We love it when learners come to us for support,” Ruby says. “However, they’re often so well served by the support they get from their learning consultant that we don’t actually see them too often.”
During their weekly Observings for Learning meetings and as part of the career–life courses they take, each learner in grade 10 to 12 discusses with their learning consultant their learning goals, paths to graduation, and career plans and goals. Learners and their educators also have those conversations every fall as part of the process used to create their personalized learning plans at the start of each learning year.
At SelfDesign, we recognize that not all learners in grades 10 to 12 seek to continue on to post-secondary or trades skill development, and we value all learner motivations. The Guidance team supports all learners to complete their journeys with SelfDesign, no matter the goals for the next phase identified by the learner and supported by their learning team.
“We would love to see learners coming to us more with questions,” Ruby says “It’s the funnest part of our day.”
Facilitating provincial graduation assessments
Another key role of the Guidance team is to organize opportunities for our learners to take the BC Ministry of Education’s provincial graduation assessments.
“In British Columbia, learners in grades 10 to 12 who are pursuing a B.C. Graduation (Dogwood) Diploma must complete three provincial assessments as part of their graduation requirements,” Ruby says. “These are the grade 10 numeracy assessment, the grade 10 literacy assessment, and the grade 12 literacy assessment.”
Because SelfDesign is an online school with learners from across B.C., the Guidance team organizes opportunities for our learners to write the assessments at brick-and-mortar schools within their own communities. If a significant number of SelfDesign learners in grades 10 and 12 live in or near a particular community, the team then sets up a SelfDesign-facilitated assessment session at a local location.
“This year, we’re doing some in Vancouver,” Ruby says. “We’re doing one in the Fraser Valley. We have them scheduled for Victoria, Nanaimo, Nelson, Cranbrook…. Learners can go and do their assessments in their own communities, sitting next to their peers, with a SelfDesign invigilator (educator supervisor) in the room. We hope the learners will find the experience comfortable and friendly.”
Providing scholarship information and support
The team also works to inform learners and families about possible scholarship opportunities for post-secondary studies or training. They share information about scholarship, bursary, financial aid, and other post-secondary funding programs generally, and administer the B.C. Excellence Scholarship and the B.C. School District/Authority Scholarships programs for the school.
Rupert, who is finishing grade 12 with SelfDesign this year, applied for a District/Authority Scholarship. He says the Guidance team reached out to him and shared information about the scholarship.
“They helped me during the application process,” he says. “They answered questions and encouraged me. I am grateful to them for believing in me and my goals, and backing that up with meaningful support.”
“SelfDesign learners have a strong history of submitting successful applications for District/Authority scholarships,” Ruby says. “The scholarship is about demonstrating excellence in your chosen area, whether that’s music, dance, mechanics or cooking. Our learners generally are quite good at talking about their passions, which is how the scholarships get awarded.”
SelfDesign’s model may be different than that found in other schools, but with our B.C. certified educators and further support provided by our Guidance team, our learners finish grade 12 with the same career and life opportunities that youth at other schools have.
Read more about SelfDesign’s 2021 District/Authority Scholarship winners
Learn more about grades 10 to 12 in SelfDesign
Read about the unique learner–educator relationship in grades 10 to 12
Learn about SelfDesign’s learner-centred approach to learning