President – School District No 91 Business Company
Canadian Pathways Xianghe No 1 BC Offshore School is preparing to open in September.
The building featured will house the first School District No 91 Business Company’s Offshore School program.
China Initiatives Progressing Well
The School District No 91 Business Company recently held its first Annual General Meeting and elected seven directors to its Board. Returning directors are: Vanderhoof business owner, (Chairperson) Larry Bangs, (Vice-Chair) Ken Dickson – CEO Integris Credit Union, Fort St. James business owner Keith Playfair and Phil Turgeon – MCFD Community Services Manager, Bulkley Valley / Nechako region who was appointed (Corporate Secretary). The new directors are: Claudette Gouger – Manager of Student Recruitment and Advising UNBC -Prince George, Kerry Jantz – Village of Fraser Lake Counselor & retired District 91 Administrator, and Joan Ragsdale Regional Director College of New Caledonia – Lakes District, Burns Lake.
The Business Company was incorporated Dec. 30, 2010 under the School Act in order to pursue international education opportunities including the establishment of BC Offshore Schools and the development of International Online Learning programs.
It is required to operate as an independently financed and administered enterprise from the Board of Education, which by legislation must be its sole shareholder. Financing through Northern Development Initiatives Trust and Community Futures Development Corporation has enabled the company to begin phase one and two of its business plan.
Progress thus far has included: the building of strong foundational relationships with Education Bureaus, Schools and local government officials in Xianghe and Beijing, China; applying and obtaining approvals to operate as an educational service provider in accordance with Chinese law for operating Foreign Cooperative Schools; achievement of BC Offshore School Applicant Status, and completion of steps to achieve Candidate and Certificate Status in order to operate as an accredited Offshore School under B.C. legislative requirements.
Twinning agreements between District 91 secondary schools with two Chinese sister schools have been established with visits to China by District teachers, administrators and student ambassadors. Officials from China have visited the District with a delegation of Educational and Municipal high level officials from Xianghe county to visit schools and industrial operations across the District in May.
On March 21 in Beijing, key Xianghe and Hebei Province representatives of the Magistrates Office and Education sectors along with partner principals met with Education Minister George Abbott and Business Company’s President and BC Principal to discuss initiatives. The Minister was present when formal agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding were signed between the Business Company and the Xianghe Education Bureau.
A July summer camp in Xianghe to be housed at the Grand Epoche Cultural City and the sister school residence in Beijing has been organized for students and educators from the district. An August, B.C. summer camp visit by 20 Chinese Students and four teachers from the Beijing sister school has been approved by the Education Bureau in Beijing.
Ten students from District secondary schools have applied to attend the Beijing International Youth Summer Camp. English Language Learning programs – ELL (formerly known as English Second Language ESL) will begin in June and the first of the company’s offshore schools operating under the name of “Canadian Pathways Schools” is presently going through minor renovations and outfitting for Canadian style classrooms in advance of inspection by BC Ministry Officials for its grand opening in September at Xianghe No 1 (public) High School.
The business company has adopted “Canadian Pathways” as the name for its international operations and is responsible as an educational service provider for the implementation, administration and operations of the Offshore School and ensuring compliance with B.C. legislation, including staffing, resourcing, assessment, reporting and maintenance of quality standards. The host school and owner of the B.C. license is responsible for facilities including: standard classroom, office and library equipment and furnishings, and the sharing of specialty facilities such as the gymnasium, performing arts centre, computer and science labs, and the provision of cafeteria and student residence services for the Chinese students who will be enrolled in the B.C. program.
Enrolment in the first Grade 10 cohort is anticipated to be 60 – 120 students in the full program with 500 students anticipated to enroll by October in the English Language Learning Program which is expected by the Chinese partner to grow to more than 2000 ELL students during the first year of operation.
Presently several Chinese students have completed or are completing application to register as international fee paying students in School District 91 for the coming year. Up to 20 students from the sister schools are anticipated to enrol in SD91 secondary schools for September. Hiring is under way for both the ELL and Offshore School programs.
While there are many positive educational experiences to be gained the business company has been structured to ensure that royalties from tuitions in the offshore schools and from the ELL programs will first repay the Business Company’s start up loans and then provide an ongoing source of revenue to its shareholder. A second school-within-a-school model Offshore program is planned to open in September 2013 within the sister school in Beijing. The Company’s website is currently under construction.