Program evaluation of Cowichan Valley Open Learning
This paper encompasses a Program Evaluation of Cowichan Valley Open Learning Centre (CVOLC), to determine what aspects of our Alternate educational structures are the most important in allowing students who have been previously unsuccessful in school to achieve personal success. The researcher engaged in an analysis of the inputs, outputs, and outcomes of CVOLC's structures, framed around the 9 Guiding Principles in British Columbia's Guiding Principles for Alternate Schools (Hannis, 2016). These principles are: Relationship-Based Programming, Community Supports and Partnerships, Engagement, Food – Engagement and Relationship-Building, Sense of Program Legitimacy/Viability, Supportive Culture, Clear Student Transitions, Flexibility, and Staff Connections. CVOLC's structures and resources in each area were examined for alignment with the Guiding Principles and the needs of the current student body. Data was derived from the researcher’s personal observations, staff meeting minutes, staff newsletters, student intake data, completion rates, and satisfaction surveys. The findings found many areas of exceptional success as a program and many areas in which practices could be re-examined for further success. Several recommendations have been made, many of which address more than one of the 9 Guiding Principles. Key amongst the findings is a need to increase relevance of Advisory and work to address student transitions, both in and out of SD 79 Alternate systems. Structures for sharing more responsibility for student learning, engagement, and overall progress in the program with classroom teachers will be explored as possible avenues. These two key changes, it is hoped, will address many of the areas of need identified in the Program Evaluation and provide guidance for other Alternate systems to maximize efforts to enable student success.