Eagle River Secondary is one of the North Okanagan-Shuswap schools hosting international students for the 2021/22 school year. (File photo)

Eagle River Secondary is one of the North Okanagan-Shuswap schools hosting international students for the 2021/22 school year. (File photo)

International students help bump enrolment numbers in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Thirty-eight students from Belgium, Germany, Italy, China and Spain participating

An increase in international students in the North Okanagan-Shuswap has contributed to an overall increase in student enrolment for the 2021/22 school year.

During her report at a Sept. 21 school board meeting, School District 83 Superintendent Donna Kriger said student enrolment this year is at 6,674, up 174 students from last spring’s enrolment projections.

“Growth is always good news within the school district,” Kriger commented.

Kriger said part of that was due to the International Student & Homestay Program. Last school year, there were nine students participating in the program. This year there are 38, including seven from Belgium, seven from Germany, 10 from Italy, one from China and 13 from Spain. Kriger welcomed them all, adding 21 of the students are joining the district for the full year. The students are attending Eagle River, Jackson, Sullivan and Pleasant Valley Secondary.

“I’d like to thank District Principal Rob MacAulay and his team for the excellent work they continue to do in this area,” said Kriger. “Of course, it would be impossible to have a successful program without community members who are willing to invite these students to become part of their family. So, I’d like to extend a ‘thank you’ to all those who assist us in making this a viable program.”

The district also currently has 676 students enrolled in the Education Outreach Program (EOP). Fifty-four are enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 8 (full time) with the remainder taking courses at the Grade 9-12 levels. Of these, approximately 115 are full time, with the remainder are enrolled in a “brick and mortar” school and picking up a course or two. The Education Outreach Program, according to the school district, was designed to provide increased access, choice and flexibility for study outside of classroom schedules. Students can register with EOP full time or take individual courses as cross-enrolled students. Students taking online courses through EOP learn primarily from a distance, though there are teachers in secondary schools available to provide support to students who are locally cross-enrolled with EOP.

Read more: School District 83: More than $22 million sought for new Salmon Arm elementary

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