Learn about rural education and student support

  • Rural school initiatives
  • Learning supports for rural students
  • Rural staffing and resources

  1. Rural school initiatives

    To expand educational opportunities for children living in rural areas, we work together with:

    • school councils;
    • First Nations;
    • school staff; and
    • parents.

    Blended learning

    Blended learning lets students work at their own pace with more course options. Students work through online courses while teachers provide traditional instruction and 1-on-1 support.

    Blended learning is offered in:

    • Watson Lake;
    • Haines Junction;
    • Carmacks; and
    • Dawson City.

    Blended learning has shown positive results in student achievement, especially in Grade 10 exam results.

    Wood Street Centre programs

    Rural students can take part in the experiential education programs at the Wood Street Centre in Whitehorse. School staff can help students with:

    • their applications; and
    • auditions for the Music Arts and Drama (MAD) program.

    Rural students in Wood Street programs can stay at the Gadzoosdaa Student Residence or get the boarding allowance.

    Rural Equity Action Plan (REAP)

    REAP provides innovative learning options for rural students.

    • Supporting students to continue their education in their communities with:
      • alternative high school programming; and
      • flexible learning.
    • A Rural and Alternative Learning Consultant who visits schools to provide programming and training support.
    • On-site trades programs using the Yukon College mobile trades trailer for:
      • welding;
      • electrical;
      • millwright; and
      • piping trades.

    Rural Experiential Model (REM)

    REM is a week-long program of intensive study that offers hands-on learning. Students earn 2 credits in the Fine Arts and Applied Skills course that they need for graduation. REM helps connect students with possible career paths.

    Students from several rural schools come together for every REM. Since September 2013, more than 300 students from as many as 11 rural schools have participated in REMs in:

    • Dawson City;
    • Watson Lake; and
    • Carmacks.

    Some example REM courses:

    • ancestral technologies/on the land;
    • hair and esthetics;
    • “Mini Med School”;
    • First Nations fine art;
    • guitar and songwriting;
    • robotics; and
    • wood shop.

    REMs evening recreational activities including:

    • Dene games;
    • First Nations art and carving;
    • sports;
    • beading;
    • storytelling;
    • digital fabrication;
    • music;
    • hiking; and
    • movies.


  2. Learning supports for rural students

    Examples of programs for developing literacy, numeracy and essential skills for learning include:

    • a Reading Recovery teacher in every elementary school;
    • a curriculum consultant who helps teachers provide balanced literacy instruction and strategies to meet the individual learning needs of students; and
    • the Learning Together preschool program helps prepare children and their caregivers for school. The preschool program is offered at:

    Students with special needs

    Each child is unique, with their own challenges and gifts. We make every effort to provide support so that all students can reach their goals.

    Educational assistants and remedial tutors support inclusion by working 1-on-1 with individuals or with larger groups of students. Teachers can focus their attention on students who are struggling.

    Student Support Services team members make scheduled visits to rural schools. They also consult using video conferencing, telephone and email.

    Specialists in these fields:

    • work with students; and
    • provide mentoring and on-site training to school staff.

    Examples of support that we provide include:

    • speech and language;
    • hearing;
    • educational psychologist;
    • movement; and
    • academic, emotional, social or intellectual development.

    Educational psychologists based in Dawson and Watson Lake provide:

    • services to schools in those communities; and
    • to other communities in their regions.

    Building healthy school communities

    We offer resources and services to schools to foster healthy school communities.

    • Peer support groups and initiatives led by staff in schools.
    • Resources and strategies to address bullying behaviours.
    • Information from the Cyber-Safety Panel for parents about:
      • staying safe online;
      • cyber-bullying; and
      • peer-exploitation risks.
    • Restorative approaches to repair harm and restore relationships.
    • Safe and Caring Schools Support to help students and families learn about:
      • healthy relationships;
      • bullying behaviours; and
      • positive mental health.

    We provide mental health services, and training and support in responding to crises:

    • Mental Health First Aid, a 2-day course on mental illnesses and crisis First Aid;
    • Violence Threat Risk Assessment training to help the staff determine whether someone who makes a threat poses a risk;
    • Applied Suicide Intervention Training Skills workshop and SafeTALK training to help build a suicide prevention network;
    • Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a small-group crisis response process that helps people recover from traumatic events; and
    • grief and loss support during and following serious incidents and events.


  3. Rural staffing and resources

    We staff our schools based on recommendations of the Staffing Allocation Advisory Committee. We follow a staffing allocation formula that is:

    • fair;
    • easy to understand; and
    • sustainable.

    How we staff our schools

    • We meet service standards for all schools, whether big or small. We give each school a base number Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs).
    • We provide extra staff to rural schools based on: 
      • student enrolment; and
      • ages of students.

    School principals, with the input from their school councils, decide how to assign their FTEs to meet the requirements of:

    • the programs; and
    • courses they offer.

    Professional development for rural teachers

    We offer development opportunities in Whitehorse and in rural communities. Examples include:

    • 1-to-1 coaching and regular visits with the Primary Consultant.
    • Tlingit cultural curriculum for teachers from:
      • Teslin Community School; and
      • Ghùch Tlâ Community School in Carcross.
    • Connecting curriculum consultants and rural teachers in creating, and sharing resources and materials for these programs:
      • Teacher Learning Networks; and
      • Blended learning.

    Support for students

    To help students reach their potential, we hire paraprofessionals such as education assistants and remedial tutors to support:

    • students with special needs; and
    • larger groups of students.

    The assignment of a paraprofessional to schools is based on demonstrated needs. A principal decides where paraprofessionals work within the school.