Helping students outside the mainstream

·2 min read

Most of Chatham-Kent Catholic high school students have adjusted well to the e-learning system.

But a group termed ‘disengaged’ are struggling in the absence of face-to-face learning.

In a report to the St. Clair Catholic School Board, secondary school superintendent Scott Johnson, voices concern about the students who don’t do well with virtual learning.

“The vast majority of student who already do well have adapted very well, Johnson says, with test scores coming in higher than normal. However, he says, “there’s always a group outside the mainstream that needs to be reached.”

The board has come up with “creative programs” to address the needs of disengaged students including working with St. Clair College in the south and Lambton College in the north to offer programming.

Titled ‘School Within a College’, Johnson says the partnership allows students to attend class either in a designated classroom at the college or in a rented space off campus. In Chatham, the board has rented space at a Lutheran Church.

Johnson says students struggling with school are offered dual credits and can feel out careers like an arborist or personal care worker.

“Some of our students really enjoy the hands-on, such as learning the basics of chainsaw operation,” Johnson says.

He says the teachers leading the probram are “really good at helping kids find their future. For some of these 16 and 17-year-olds, this is the last kick at the can,” the superintendent says, and we “need to help them reach their goals.”

Co-operative education opportunities have also been sidelined because of COVID-19. Johnson says a very small number of students are still able to attend their work placements, as they are able to observe COVID-19 safety protocols.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald