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Successful Programs Prevent Students from Dropping out of high school.

Central Office - Student Success, Simcoe County District Scholl Board is comprised of 17 secondary schools. They are responsible for the implementation of all Student Success/Learning to 18 (SS/L18) initiatives. The students are either at-risk of not graduating, or are living in an "in risk" situation.  The special programs include: School-College-Work Dual Credits, Specialist High Skills Majors, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, Re-engagement 12 & 12+, and Supervised Alternative Learning/Educational Outreach. Central Office is also responsible for providing system leadership with regards to Differentiated Instruction, Numeracy, Literacy, and Pathway Planning.

Central Office has worked with the outreach team to implement a model for the delivery of Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) called Educational Outreach in the Simcoe County District School Board. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/SAL2011English.pdf  

Educational Outreach supports both the achievement and well-being of students aged 14 - 17 who were habitually absent and disengaged.  Although the Educational Outreach model was not built based on this YouTube clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K96c-TGnSf4  it was designed to address all of the "imperatives" highlighted in the video.  
The idea of "Leave to Learn" summarizes the idea of the Educational Outreach Model.  Many students who are habitually absent and highly disengaged do not see the relevance of the education being offered "between the walls" of their secondary school.  Throughout the development and implementation of Educational Outreach, the focus has been on the creation of nurturing partnerships to increase relevancy.  Also these partnerships were used to support students in their development of workplace Essential Skills and work habits; to connect to student interests; to develop life skills and resiliency.
Examples of partnerships that have been used to support skill development include the following: Employment Ontario, YMCAs, Early Years Centres, local Colleges, Native Friendship Centres, Youth Centres, and local business/employers.  Partnerships are used to provide experiential learning opportunities to support skill development.  For definitions, please see the Ministry Fact Sheet - Career Exploration and Experiential Learning: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/studentsuccess/exploration.pdf

Not only are these partnerships used to support student skill development, but the experiential learning opportunities are also connected to curriculum expectations allowing students to continue to accumulate credits when they have "left" school, hence contributing to the name "Leaving to Learn". The Outreach staff have worked closely with community partners to very clearly understand the programming that is offered or the experience that the students will have with the organization.  In this way, the outreach teachers can make connections to the curriculum expectations. Subsequent to understanding the connection between the experiential learning opportunity and the curriculum, outreach teachers then work with the student in question to co-develop learning goals for the experience.  This stage is important to ensuring that the students understand what they are expected to learn and how that learning connects to the goals that they have set for themselves as part of the program. Following the completion of the experiential learning opportunity, outreach teachers then use an experiential learning performance task (in the form of a choice board) to evaluate the degree to which students have demonstrated their understanding of the overall curriculum expectations that were being addressed through experiential learning.
 
For more information, contact:

Gen-Ling Chang
Director, Research & Equity
647 252 3581