In the Alternate Program, students work collaboratively with their teachers using a variety of strategies to reach their academic and personal goals.
Staff from Fredrick Banting Alternate High School spoke at the Stittsville Rotary club meeting on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Carolyn Kitchen, Vice Principal & Guidance teacher, and Jo-anne Schroeder, Learning Support Teacher & Guidance Counsellor, described the program and activities of the school designed to help their students earn a secondary school diploma.
Fredrick Banting Alternate High School in Stittsville is one of 5 schools in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board that provide alternate programs for students. It currently has 195 students between the ages of 16 and 21, and 16 staff and 1 vice principal. Each student is on a flexible, independent program, completing one credit at a time, at their own pace, with the result that between 40 to 60 students graduate each year. The continuous intake model meets a variety of needs as a student may require only 1 or 2 credits to graduate or he/she may have a part-time job. Efforts to make the school a supportive and accepting community are important to the success of the program as is the greater access to community resources such as social workers which helps to resolve mental health issues as required.
Carey and Jo-anne described the team approach that is used by staff to help students reach their academic and personal goals, including the provision of concrete work experience as well as cooperative education opportunities. An extensive arts program and a wide range of student-driven clubs and activities engage students as they develop new skills and confidence. The staff is dedicated to working collaboratively with students to improve their self-esteem and develop both critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The 2 speakers agreed that teaching in the alternate program is a challenging but rewarding experience.