Students in the Fraser Cascade School District's transition program have now largely moved to online learning. (Unsplash)

New school opens at Native Friendship Centre in Rocky Mountain House

An innovative new school is set to open in Rocky Mountain House in September.

SCcyber E-Learning Institute will provide online high school courses for indigenous youth from the Sunchild and O’Chiese First Nations, about 50 kilometres outside of town.

“There is a huge need for this school,” said Karol Kamieniecki, Principal of the new SCcyber E-Learning Institute.

The school is an urban-based sister organization to SCcyber E-learning Community, which provides online education courses to Indigenous students from more than 25 First Nations.

“It is well known that Indigenous students often struggle in traditional school settings,” says Kamieniecki, “yet there were very limited options specifically designed to meet the needs of these marginalized urban students until this model arrived.”

The press release states that According to Statistics Canada, the Indigenous population living off-reserve in Canada grew by 49 per cent between 2006 and 2016. During the same period, populations on-reserve grew 13 per cent. In Alberta, almost half of the Indigenous population lives off-reserve.

The Native Friendship Centre is an ideal setting to engage Indigenous youth, says SCcyber Institute CEO Martin Sacher, where they will have a familiar space to access weekly courses online.

“Education is a right, and must be offered where youth live, whether on-reserve or in urban settings,” said Sacher, “to offer the best possible foundation for success.”