Prairie South School Division (PSSD) will be launching a storefront school this fall for students in grades 10, 11, and 12 who are not achieving success in the traditional school setting.
Pathways School will feature one-on-one and small group learning sessions. Community connections and involvement will also help build success through a sense of belonging.
"There's multiple pathways for kids to reach outcomes towards graduation and for them to be successful in high school," explained Ryan Boughen, PSSD's Director of Education and CEO. "The idea of the Pathways School is it just provides a different pathway for kids to be successful and it's currently an option we don't really have for students. It's essentially a non-traditional learning environment where kids can work at their own pace towards credit towards high school graduation."
Boughen said that the curriculum being taught at Pathways School will be the same as in the other high schools, it will just be presented in a different manner.
"In a traditional high school setting, if there's 100 hours of high school curriculum to cover, and you have a semester to do that in, when the semester ends there's credit recovery options and some other things but for the most part the learning has to take place in a condensed period of time, typically a semester," he stated. "For students that are struggling in a traditional environment or struggling to get to school regularly, it's hard to achieve those credits in that short period of time. What this does is, it allows them to work towards obtaining those credits over a longer period of time and we don't have to be as confined to a traditional semester or block system in our traditional high schools."
Pathways School will be located at 109 Ominica Street West in downtown Moose Jaw. Boughen says they've leased the space and have started some of the prep work to make sure the school is ready for the fall.
He notes the concept of a storefront school is not new.
"How this came to Prairie South and came to the Board was through the three high school principals. The three sets of high school administrators. They were noticing that we were having some high school students who just aren't being successful in that traditional environment. We want all students to do well. So they had thought about this and then they had talked with me about it and a couple of superintendents about it and we thought that was a good idea. They actually came and did a presentation to the Board and the Board thought that was a good idea. We built it into our budget and presented it that way and the Board was happy to support that idea."
The expectation is that between 30 and 40 students will enroll in the program, with 20 to 25 students attending on any given day. Pathways School will employ three full-time teachers, one of which will also serve as principal.
PSSD is currently identifying students who would benefit from the non-traditional learning environment.