Students from the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education Cornwall campus are finding success by taking a dual credit program, an opportunity that allows grade 12 or year five students to gain a high school credit, as well as a college credit in a program of their choice.
Cornwall - November 23, 2011 - Students from the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education Cornwall campus are finding success by taking a dual credit program, an opportunity that allows grade 12 or year five students to gain a high school credit, as well as a college credit in a program of their choice.
The dual credit program has been made possible through a partnership among the Upper Canada District School Board, Algonquin College and St. Lawrence College - Cornwall, Kingston and Brockville. The program is an initiative within the province's School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI) which sees local secondary schools partnering with publicly-funded colleges to provide secondary students with an opportunity to take a course at a local college campus.
Students typically take one college course alongside their other high school courses, said David Mowat, dual credit teacher and guidance program leader at TR Leger. The college course allows students to explore a college program that they may be interested in and a potential career path. Students also acquire an understanding of what the academic expectations are at the college level. Most of the college courses are three hours per week.
Mowat said a number of students are finding success in their dual credit courses including Brandon Ladouceur who is taking accounting, Audrey Guigues in film studies, Kayla Rocco-Cormier in photo journalism, Lisa Dussiame in human resources, and Lee Smith in the personal support worker program.
“It’s been great because we’ve been able to take one college course at a time so that we get to practice going to college,” said Smith.
“Plus, it’s a great way to see if college is right for you,” said Guigues.
This is Guigues’ and Dussiame’s second dual credit course. In fact, after taking accounting, Dussiame realized that career path wasn’t right for her.
“I had a good teacher, but it just wasn’t my thing,” she said. “But, I did find exactly what I wanted.”
Dussiame has been raising a special needs child for the last 14 years. When she realized that she could finish her high school diploma, all while working towards a college credit, she knew the dual credit program was right for her.
“This has made it so much easier for me to reach my goals and find out what I want to do,” she said.
For Smith, the program has allowed her to gain more self-confidence.
“I wanted to finish high school, but I also wanted to get started on college,” she said. “It helped me raise my self-esteem to go faster to finish high school.”
Each of the students agreed that they’ve had great support from TR Leger staff, college staff and other students.
“In my class, the teacher always includes (dual credit students) with full-time students,” said Rocco-Cormier.
“They take the time to get to know you,” said Dussiame. “A lot of full-time students don’t even realize that we’re not in the full-time program.”
Another benefit of the dual credit program is that the course and books are free to students.
“It’s such a great opportunity too because the books are just given to you,” said Guigues. “I think anyone who is given the opportunity to take a dual credit should take it.”
"It's a great experience to put on your resume," said Rocco-Cormier.
"I know that right now I can only come here part-time," said Dussiame. "It fits in with my lifestyle."
"If you show up and do the work, you will be successful," said Ladouceur.
Mowat said there are a variety of support services available for TR Leger dual credit students including tutoring, counseling, and a test centre.
“It’s not like you’re going from a supportive high school environment to completely out on your own,” he said.
“You could call it a dual support system!” said Dussiame.