Durham College’s Centre for Success at Whitby campus receives visit from Ministry of Education

December 20, 2010

Pictured from left to right are Ian Skinner, senior specialist, Student Success/Learning to 18 implementation, Training and Evaluation branch and Kevin Costante, Ontario deputy minister of Education, talk with Logan Meadows, a student from the Centre for Individual Studies with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, as he works on a lunch pail as part of his Centre for Success studies.

More than 50 secondary school students demonstrated their technical skills and shared their future career plans on December 13 when members of Ontario’s Ministry of Education, including Deputy Minister of Education Kevin Costante, paid a visit to Durham College’s Whitby campus to see the Centre for Success program in action.

Students, from the Centre for Individual Studies with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) and Durham Alternative Secondary School in Oshawa, Ont., demonstrated their skills and knowledge in a variety of areas including their technical shop class where they were completing sheet metal projects.

Joining the students and guests from the ministry were representatives from KPRDSB and the Durham District and Trillium Lakelands District school boards.

Introduced in conjunction with J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate in Ajax, Ont., in 2006, the Centre for Success program is designed to help decrease the dropout rate of at-risk secondary school students by engaging students in a college environment and demonstrating the many pathways available to post-secondary education.

Students work to complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) outside of the high school environment while attending one college-level course and potentially earning credit toward a future post-secondary degree. Last year alone, the program saw approximately 200 secondary students complete the program.

Durham College President Don Lovisa, Vice-president, Academic Judy Robinson and Program Co-ordinator Susan Pratt were also on-hand for the visit and heard from a number of students as they described their shop projects and talked about how the Centre for Success makes a difference in their lives.

“This program is really important because it brings you into the college environment and gives you a better idea of what you’re getting into if you decide to continue your education,” said Mike Lefeuvre, a student from Durham Alternative Secondary School.

“Trevor Brewer (instructor) is very organized and keeps us very focused,” he added. “I feel lucky to be a part of this program.”

An Ontario Ministry of Education and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ School College Work Initiative, the program gives students access to college support systems and amenities, small classes and hands-on teaching as they work to fulfil their OSSD requirements. This year, students are also taking part in college night courses in a variety of subjects including Psychology and Marketing.

Completion ceremonies are held at the college each year in January and June.