SGEI, KPDSB adult education welcoming new students in Sioux Lookout
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Adult education, which is offered through a partnership with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) and Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI), is encouraging adult learners to enroll and complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Now located at 15 Fair Street, formerly Queen Elizabeth District High School, adult education is available for all ages and schooling history.
Joan Cosco, site monitor, explained the process of earning an OSSD through adult education is easier than most people think.
“It’s a lot easier than people think to complete their grade 12 because, now, the government recognizes maturity credits, which recognize life learning. If you speak Oji-Cree, for example, we give you the language credit. If you’re a parent, we give you the parenting credit. If you’ve worked in a garage, we give you a transportation credit. We try to see what people have done in their life and match them up with credits… We’ve coined the term ‘you’re closer than you think’ because people are really closer then they think. They don’t realize that the government has recognized that there’s learning in life,” said Cosco.
“Last year, we had a student that came to us with no credits, mind you he went to night classes three days a week and school all-day, but he graduated. He went from nothing to graduating in one year… Last year we had nine graduates,” she said.
Currently, adult education has 60 students enrolled in Sioux Lookout.
The partnership between SGEI and KPDSB to deliver adult education has been ongoing since 2012.
Along with Sioux Lookout, adult education is offered in Dryden, Ignace, Pickle Lake, Red Lake/Ear Falls, and Kenora.
KPDSB’s website, www.kpdsb.on.ca, reads, “The goals of this partnership include:
Increasing opportunities for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal adult learners throughout the KPDSB jurisdiction to achieve their Ontario Secondary School Diploma;
Improving access for adult learners to high quality curriculum resources on a full-time or part-time basis;
Committing to excellence and innovation in serving the needs of adult learners.”
Cosco shared that, in Sioux Lookout, adult education also has partnerships with the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board (SLAAMB) and Confederation College.
“We have teachers placed there (SLAAMB) three days a week, so what they’re trying to do with their certificate programs is they recognize that students don’t have their OSSD’s so they’re trying to get them OSSD’s at the same time,” said Cosco.
“We’re also partnered with Confederation College. Our dual-credit is through Confederation College. The concept of the dual-credit is there are a lot of people who believe that they’re not capable of going to college, so this gives them an opportunity because they already have a college credit when they leave high school. They can leave high school with up to three dual-credits. Last year, a lot of our grads had two dual-credits and had a little bit of the college experience. That course is taught at the college, so the students actually go to the Confederation College space and are a part of it, so they feel like they’re part of a college,” she said.
“That’s the beautiful part of adult education. You can be doing anything while earning your diploma. We have our wonderful space set up, but a lot of our students come, pick up their material, work at home, work after their shifts, and they come in for help on their lunch breaks or a day off… It’s quite flexible. You can be raising a family or working full-time while getting your diploma,” said Coby Flatt, SGEI teacher.
Along with ensuring students earn their OSSD’s, Cosco said they’ve worked hard to provide a safe and friendly environment for students.
“We have students ranging from 18 years old to 60, and they all work in the same space. We try to, every once in a while, have food together and next Friday we’re having a Thanksgiving feast, so we’re trying to create a sense of community for our students. They can participate if they want or just pop in, whatever works for them. We’re here to work for them, meet their needs, and do what they need us to do to help them be successful,” said Cosco.
“We’ve really gone out of our way to make sure that this is a safe space for everyone, that everyone is welcome, and everyone’s needs are being met as much as possible,” she added.
For people interested in enrolling or finding out more information, Cosco encourages popping in to their 15 Fair Street location. They’re also available at 737-3506 ext. 1302.
“People can pop in. We’re here all day, every day, and we register them on the spot. We try to figure out what they need and what their individual path is,” she said.