Changes in the delivery of education are evident throughout School District 73 and trustees look forward to sharing information about new programs, people and advances in teaching and learning approaches through this column.
One of our most important goals is to improve completion rates for the B.C. Dogwood Certificate, which means improving our rates from an average of 82.5 per cent to 85 per cent success rate.
But how does that impact our students and translate into further opportunities for them?
For some secondary school teens, education delivery changes signify accessing post-secondary programs during their final year of high school, while for others, newer options mean beginning an apprenticeship or attending specialized courses that enhance opportunities for career preparation.
Consider Grade 12 students accessing a one-year certificate in programs such as horticulture, early childhood education, health-care assistant, and administrative assistant through a successful partnership between the district and Thompson Rivers University. While these individuals are in their final year of secondary school, they are earning university credentials and skills that allows them to graduate “job-ready” and, potentially, without debt.
Other Grade 12s may choose to pursue their Level 1 trades certifications in TRU programs such as automotive service technician and industrial electrician/instrumentation mechanic.
Additionally, School District 73 Aboriginal students in their final year may choose to access TRU’s Start Aboriginal, a program that begins in the second semester of Grade 12 and allows students to take their first-year university English, math and biology courses together.
The district has initiated and supported a variety of other options that provide students opportunities to pursue career interests such as hair dressing and restaurant training while graduating with their full high school credentials.
This secondary school apprenticeship model earns students credits toward graduation, hours toward apprenticeship completion and the ability to earn a salary while completing their Grade 12 requirements.
Students may also attend up to two, first-year university afternoon and evening courses during their final year of high school in other university programs.
On average, about 70 students a year take advantage of this opportunity.
The over-arching goal in this evolution of program delivery is to recognize different types of learners excel through different models of education. Through the career and post-secondary programs offered we hope to engage our students and give them the boost they need to move on to the next level.
For students who wish to remain in traditional high school studies, there are several short programs available that may also lead to focused career preparation.
Interested in learning more? Contact Greg Howard, district principal of trades and transition at (250) 374-0679.
Denise Harper is chairwoman of School District 73’s board of trustees.