“My advice? Talk to someone about it. If you’re struggling, don’t keep it to yourself—there are so many people who can help.”
Brandon is a Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) student who has started school again after dropping out last year. His advice is for his peers in high school—those thinking about leaving, those who feel disconnected.
“When I left school, I had no idea what I was going to do until I was called.”
That call was from Lyanne Rouse. Lyanne is a Pathways to Student Success (PASS) teacher with the SCDSB. Her job is to reconnect with students who left school and help them make their way back.
“The right path looks different for each student,” she says. “I get to know the students and find classes and programs that fit into their lives so they can get their diploma.”
Lyanne called Brandon in August. In September, he was back in the classroom. But this time, at Georgian College.
“Lyanne got me hooked up with correspondence classes and a dual credit course. I started my first dual credit course in child and youth counselling, and I love it! I get to finish high school and get a college credit at the same time—it’s awesome. Everyone in my dual credit class really wants to be there, and that makes a big difference.”
Lyanne and her fellow PASS teacher Jess Carney are available to the students they work with via phone, text, email or in person—whatever way works best for the student.
“We try to understand each student’s specific situation, build a relationship based on mutual respect and we never give up,” Lyanne states. “Our job is to understand each student as an individual and recognize any barriers they might identify. Then together we plan on how to overcome these challenges and get a diploma.”
Alex Oelschlaeger, 18, is another student re-engaged through the PASS program. He is doing a correspondence class, a co-op and a dual credit course.
“Before Lyanne called, I had never heard of the PASS program. It gave me options I didn’t think about,” he said. “I left school at the end of first semester last year, and I feel like I let myself down. The PASS program is getting me back on track. It’s the best thing that could have happened.”
The PASS teachers keep in contact with their students while they are getting their credits to monitor progress, mentor them and ensure they are staying engaged in their education. Through this process, they hope that students find their way along the pathway to success.
For Brandon and Alex, the PASS program was the right fit. They are both progressing through their credits, and aim to have their diploma this school year.