Education Matters /June 2015
ACTON High School has partnered with Mohawk College on a dual credit re-engagement program calledFoundations, and it’s helping students re-enter secondary school with greater confidence.
Foundations is designed to re-engage senior students who require credits to graduate high school and help them be eligible for college.
Any person who is behind on credits and disengaged from school can apply for the program. A team including classroom, student success and guidance teachers, and administration assess the needs of the student. They help determine if the program is appropriate for a student depending on their needs and interest, their compatibility with the group and the likely pathway they would choose after completing high school.
Mohawk College is offering an introduction to construction program. Through Foundations, students, for example, can work on a Habitat For Humanity home or on community garden projects for the college to gain construction knowledge in order to transition to Mohawk.
By the end of a semester, students will have had the opportunity to earn three high school credits, one college credit, their required 40 community hours, and a recovery of credits that had not been completed prior. The nameFoundations was specifically chosen to represent the building of a home, in which one builds the house from the ground up.
“This is a great hands-on experience for students,” said Foundations teacher Matthew Jones. “We wanted to offer the students the opportunity to see that college may be the right pathway for them.”
Teacher Mike Tew explained the attraction of the re-engagement program is that some students who may not necessarily view college as an option may feel differently once they have enrolled in Foundations.
“We want to spark interest in otherwise disengaged senior students,” he said, noting students have put to the test their understanding of power tools by building wooden paddles and a picnic table.
Jones said the Foundations experience is effective because cross-curricular projects that develop skills relevant to the workplace can help motivate students.
Added Tew: “This program helps students regain confidence re-entering school and opens their minds to the possibilities of applying to college. Also, because it functions as a smaller class with around 15 students, there is more opportunity for personal attention. The program has given many opportunities to students they wouldn't otherwise have including working with Habitat for Humanity, development of a community garden, and learning employability skills and training.”
Student Ryan Payne encourages young people to seriously consider Foundations as a viable educational pursuit.
“It’s helped me appreciate school again,” he said, calling this semester the “best ever.”