Q&A: Facts and Myths about Outreach

Q. Is the Fairview and Area Learning Store -- FALS -- a real school?

A. Yes. FALS is a public school and part of the Peace River School Division #10.

Q. What is the purpose of an outreach school?

A. "Outreach schools are special schools developed to support students who cannot or do not wish to attend mainstream schools. These schools are often integral components of a jurisdiction’s high school completion strategy. The programs in outreach schools respond to students’ particular circumstances and are flexible so that they can adapt to students’ diverse requirements. 
Outreach schools operate outside of traditional school environments. In fact, Alberta Education policy stipulates that outreach schools must operate in stand alone sites. Thus, outreach schools can be found in shopping centers and office buildings. 
Outreach schools are staffed by small cadres of dedicated teachers who teach a range of high school. Students complete their work independently or in small groups with the support of certificated teachers using a variety of distance learning and locally designed materials. 
The foundation of outreach education is the personal relationship that students develop with the school staff. Because students typically work with teachers one-on-one or in small groups, a trusting working relationship often forms. This relationship ensures that students who have often not experienced success in school are able to develop a sense of security and connection that will help them achieve success" (http://oec.teachers.ab.ca/Council%20Info/Pages/Overview.aspx). 
In addition, outreach serves students from area schools who are experiencing timetable conflicts or shortfalls in their graduation or post-secondary requirements. Adults wishing to upgrade or complete their high school diploma requirements are also well served by outreach schools.

Q. Will post-secondary institutions look unfavourably at course work completed at an outreach school?

A. Absolutely not. Outreach schools follow the same curricula as every other publicly funded school in the province, and our students write the same diploma exams as every other student in the province.

Q. If I attend FALS, do I participate in a graduation ceremony?

A. Yes! FALS shares its graduation ceremony with FHS.

Q. Is outreach just for "troubled kids"? 

A. This, unfortunately, is one of those myths that floats around, and it is absurd. Outreach schools serve a very heterogeneous group of students, from those that struggle to those who wish to accelerate their program. Students attend outreach schools because they need or desire greater flexibility within and control over their educational programming. Our graduates go to university, college, or enter the workforce just like any other school's students.