by Wendy Terry
originally published in the December, 2011 Issue
Toronto District School Board Adult Day Schools offer two programs for learners who want to earn high school credits or an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD): the Ed-Vance program for youth, eighteen to twenty, who want to finish high school and the Adult Program for adults over twenty one.
The four Ed-Vance programs are for students who have not completed high school although it is recommended that students have at least 5 of 30 high school credits to be considered for this program. Students out of school for one term are usually motivated to return to school to recommit, but more and more students are coming directly from mainstream high schools directly into the Ed-Vance programs.
Fully funded by the Ontario government, the Ed-Vance programs offer many of the same supports as the mainstream schools. Supportive teachers give these youth the extra support and guidance they need to succeed in getting their OSSD. All the same students need to have a greater level of maturity and ability to work independently to succeed.
The Ed-Vance programs often suit the needs of older students better than mainstream schools because students who are behind in credit accumulation are in a school setting with students of their own age, facing similar challenges. The peer support is stronger than in a high school where everybody is several years younge.. Students feel Ed-Vance is an educational home for them. Programs are offered in four 9-week quadmesters, thus allowing students to take up to three courses per quad. Most Ed-Vance students take at least two courses per quad.
The second program is the Adult program where any adult over the age of 21 can attend. Through a Prior Learning Assessment process, students can be granted equivalency credits for a number of high school credits based on prior learning, life and work experience up to a maximum of 26 credits. However, students must successfully complete at least four to five credits at the adult school to earn an OSSD. The Grade 12 English credit must be one of the final four subjects that students study at the senior level. There are four quadmesters and most students take two courses a quadmester. Given that the courses are quite intense, it could take a minimum of one year to earn an OSSD.
Often newcomers who have high school or post secondary degrees from their home country will take these programs before they go on to post secondary education or workto get a taste of of the Ontario educational system. The school sites are smaller than a large college or university campus and so more comfortable.
Then there is a career counseling service where guidance counselors interview each student before they start classes and are available to counsel students throughout their program. This counseling helps students select which college or university program to attend. This is invaluable as quite often the counseling workshops or services at colleges naturally recommend their programs rather than one at another college. At the Adult Day Schools, as at a regular high schools, students can discover all their educational options.
Finally these sites have co-op programs which help students get that all important Canadian work experience. Though some co-op programs are targeted to a specific labour market, childhood education, others are open ended, placing students with employers where the students will will use their previous skills. These programs help students get jobs and to pursue appropriate pathways.
All students are tested for both programs so if you do not have the required academic level you may be referred to an ESL or LINC program if your English language skills need further development before joining an Adult Day School, or you may be directed to a Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program. (See article on page six about the Literacy and Basic Skills programs.)
The phone numbers for the adult day schools are
Learning Centre has an Adult program but not an Ed-Vance one.