The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is working to expand adult and alternative education in the area.

A partnership with Seven Generations Education Institute began in 2013, following a number of years of varied programs and levels of success by the KPDSB to deliver adult education to those without a secondary school diploma.

The board says that the partnership with Seven Generations has provided the opportunity to combine resources and funding, and ultimately has resulted in large increases in enrolment - reaching 601 students in 2013, compared to 394 students in 2012.

“Adult education looks different than your memories of high school. Our programs are designed to be flexible and responsive to our learner’s needs. You could be working on a high school credit while also working at your co-op placement. You could gain apprenticeship hours while learning. Maturity credits through work experience may be eligible for credits as well. You may be closer than you think to you’re high school diploma,” said Lynn McAughey, Adult Education and Alternative Learning Principal.

The partnership currently supports on average around 600 adult learners each year, with 256 adult graduates from the program in the past five years.

“At the first Board meeting of the year for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, there was a deliberate theme of celebrating adult education, alternative learning programming including youth apprenticeships, and student success,” said Director of Education, Sean Monteith.

Monteith adds that enrolment in Alternative and Continuing Education continues to grow across the region as programming and opportunities expand.

“Much of the information was not just exclusive to the last few months but rather the last several years, with personal stories and anecdotes. Having Seven Generations Education Institute CEO Brent Tookenay there as a key partner with the KPDSB only reinforced the synergy that can occur when organizations work together in the interests of Northern Children and Learners.”

Strategic improvement efforts by Adult Education staff and programming focused on offering learner-centred guidance and support services, providing experiential and culturally relevant learning experiences, and the expansion of adult education programming in communities to continue increasing the opportunities available.

“We’re increasing the number of sectors where we offer programs. These programs are geared towards a number of learners. They can lend themselves to the trades very well, but these programs cover a number of sectors. It gives students a head-start,” said Tracey Bichon, Student Success & Technology Area Leader at Beaver Brae Secondary School.

The KPDSB offers the following programs through Alternative and Continuing Education:

- Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) - SHSMs let students focus on a career path that matches their skills, interests and labour market trends while meeting the requirements of the OSSD. Students receive the SHSM seal on their diploma when they complete a specific bundle of eight to ten courses in the student's selected field, earn valuable industry certifications including first aid and CPR qualifications, and gain important skills on the job through cooperative education placements.

The KPDSB currently offers fifteen SHSM pathways in seven sectors (business, mining, construction, environment, health and wellness, transportation and manufacturing). More than 230 students were enrolled in the programs during the 2017-2018 school year with 61 graduating with the SHSM designation and seal on their diploma.

- Dual Credit Programs - Students in a dual credit program participate in apprenticeship training and post-secondary courses, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification.

During the 2017-2018 school year, 215 day school students and 26 adult learners were enrolled in dual credit programming. In the 2018-2019 school year, enrolment projections indicate 366 secondary and adult learners enrolled in 24 different dual credit programs across the KPDSB.

- Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) – OYAP allows students to gain on-the-job training and experience in an apprenticeship in a skilled trade while earning credits towards their OSSD. Students can accumulate workplace hours that count towards both secondary school co-op credits and the requirements of an apprenticeship program.

- Night School and Summer School Programs – Night School and Summer School programs are available to a variety of learners including secondary students, senior elementary students and adult education students as a pathway to success for graduation. Night School enrolment has grown from 41 students in the summer of 2017 to 214 students for the summer of 2018. Summer School enrolment has also seen growth, with 513 students participating during the summer of 2018.

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