Alternative Learning

Dean Nielsen (right), Alternative Learning Principal, at work for students

Chinook's Edge is committed to supporting a learning plan for every child

Alternative Learning in Chinook's Edge provides flexibility for each student to find the program that meets their needs, in their community schools.

Methods of Instruction

The majority of our learners will be in-person with some of our students needing a flex/blended option.  Unique situations may call for a fully online program, or even support through paper-based educational packages. 

In-person- The primary mode of instruction for the majority of our students, in-person learning refers to any student where the mode of learning is face-to-face at school.  The school takes on the largest portion of instructional delivery, as the student attends school on a daily basis.

Flex/Blended- Refers to any student doing either online or paper based, combined with a portion of in-person learning.  All of the information below applies to the delivery method, but students will have a portion of their day in-person.  Parents and schools share instructional delivery, but schools take on all of the responsibility for in-person instruction.  If a student is struggling with any portion of their learning, they could get support while at the school for their in-person instruction.  Contact with the school occurs daily/regularly, as they are attending in-person for a portion of their learning. The vast majority of alternative learning may be achieved through flex/blended programming.

In circumstances where a student requires online or paper-based educational packages to support their learning, administrators will work with families to create a learning plan that best meets your child’s needs. Please note that in these situations, parents will be responsible for a large portion of the instructional delivery of the Alberta curriculum developed by Chinook’s Edge teachers.  As part of the school community, families will have a teacher contact who will be available to support parents and students in their learning journey.


What is Alternative Learning?

  • Flexible, developed to meet the needs of our CESD families
  • Allows connections to the community schools 
  • Families working alongside the school to provide the best program for all students.  It is a partnership between family and the school
  • Content created by our teachers in CESD
  • Regular communication between the school and the family.  The frequency of this communication is dependent on the mode of instruction

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will families have access to resources at the school?

Yes, Alternative Learning students are students of their community school.  They are accessing their mode of instruction differently than others, but have access to resources that other students have.  A plan for this access will be developed in collaboration with the Alternative Learning teacher, and could include:

  • Library/ Learning Commons
  • Sports Teams
  • Family School Wellness
  • Inclusive Education Supports (Speech, Occupational Therapy, Psychology)
  • Clubs
  • School/Home Communications
  • Technology Assistance 
  • Attendance at Special Events (Academic Awards, Fun Days, Field Trips

2. Is CESD only offering core subjects for paper based or online (math, ELA, social studies, and science), or is there content being created for complementary subjects (art, PE, etc.)?

At this time, we are only offering core subjects.  Complementary subjects may be accessed in-person.  Please talk to your administrator about Flex/Blended options.

3. Why would a family choose to have Paper Based/Online as their primary mode of instruction?

For some families, Alternative Learning offers choice and the ability to adjust programming over the course of the school year, as opposed to external homeschooling organizations who do not have the option to return students to a classroom after October 1st.  Parents need to commit to a partnership with the school, but recognize that they play a vital role to ensure their child is moving their learning forward daily. 

4. If we have already registered in another program, is it too late to reconsider and register with CESD’s Alternative Learning program?

No, we encourage families to explore options with Chinook’s Edge School Division, and we are happy to support you in making the educational decision that best fits your child’s needs. Please talk to your administrator about Alternative Learning options, or contact Principal Dean Nielsen at (403) 877-0843.

Principal bio

Principal Dean Nielsen has been serving Chinook's Edge students and families in a leadership capacity for over nine years. He has been a teacher, coordinator, Learning Services Team member, teacher mentor and Vice Principal of Hugh Sutherland School in Carstairs. His role as Student Services Coordinator of Assistive Technology set many Chinook's Edge students up for success by providing alternative supports for their learning. 

Prior to joining Chinook's Edge, Principal Dean spent time as an elementary and middle school teacher, an instructional coach and a student services coordinator with Golden Hills School Division. He holds B.Ed and B.A. degrees from Lakehead University, and an Master of Education degree from the University of Calgary. Dean Nielsen's devotion to student success, effective relationships and creative program planning sets Alternative Learning in Chinook's Edge up for success!