Thursday February 10, 2011



Chilliwack Rural Route Is Global Educational Superhighway

FVDES delivers courses to thousands of students

Staff/Voice photos


ow do you get 7,000 students under one little ol' country school roof?

Simple add the internet.


Even though the school is called "Distance Education", it's not out of reach for BC residents... or anyone else in the world for that matter.          


The FVDES was a popular booth at Career Fair last week.


The facility is for those who want to complete their grade high school education and its available for 12-months of the year at Fraser Valley Distance Education School (FVDES) either online, or at the campus.  For those not online, the school still handles correspondence courses via pony express.

"Anyone can take a high school course, whether you're an adult, whether a teenage learner, it doesn't matter, we're more than happy to take them. And the best thing about it is it's free," said John Goldsmith who is one of the teachers at the school.

Students opt-in to kindergarten through grade 12 government courses that are prepared in a self-paced learning format. It's ideal for people looking to upgrade to their high school diploma, or for someone who wants to get into college and is short a couple of courses.

"The same Biology 12 that you take at Chilliwack Senior-Sardis Secondary are packaged in such a way that you can progress at your own speed so if you want to take Biology 12 today, you can sign up for it and go at your own pace. If you can do it in a month because you need it as a prerequisite for nursing, and you've got the time and the dedication, then go for it," he says.


Teacher John Goldsmith continually welcomes new students.

FVDES partners with trade schools around BC to offer the Apprenticeship Program and the school has been endorsed by the Ministry of Education.

Goldsmith was at the Aboriginal Career Fair and told the Voice that Fraser Valley Distance Education School, is one of the largest and oldest of it's kind in the world.

"I think it's fantastic and every year we've come here it's gotten bigger, it's better known, the word is spread. We're expecting to have a fantastic day today talking to a lot of people," he said and adding that he wasn't planning on leaving "until there's no one left to talk to."

The institution has "over 7000" local and worldwide students on the active roster in one form or another. Goldsmith says some of the kids taking courses haven't even left school yet.

"We have some students going to school and they're taking an extra course from us for upgrading," he explained. "We have kids who are taking the full program with us and we have kids in Chilliwack and Katmandu, in Dubai, all over the world."

These are the same courses that you'd take in high school like Sardis Secondary, Chilliwack Senior, Abby Secondary which are packaged in a way that can be delivered online

Interaction with teachers happens online, in tele/video conferences and through the webpage or at the school itself and Goldsmith says there's a lot of other technology that they utilize to create a "rich learning environment".

Naturally, intake is continual and year-round.

"We run 12-months of the year so we're different in that students can start at any time and you have the whole course, rather than a teacher 'goaling' it out per period."

School is located at 49520 Prairie Central Rd. Chilliwack, B.C. and it's hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30am - 4:00pm.

If you need further information or wish to register at FVDES navigate to the registration page at: or call a counselor at 604-794-7310 or toll free: 1-800-663-3381.

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