Students at Drumheller Valley Secondary School (DVSS) are getting more and more opportunities to step out of high school and right into a career or with a leg up in their post-secondary studies.
Back to school for DVSS students is Tuesday, September 3 and Principal Curtis LaPierre is excited for the year to begin. This will be the third year the school will be offering its Health Care Aide Program in partnership with Campus Alberta and Red Deer College. This allows students to work on their certification and earn high school credits.
“We are running the Health Care Aide Program this semester, which will be the third time. I have five students doing it, and it is a full-time program for five months. They begin in September and finish in January, they do no other course work at that time and at the end of January, they are fully certified,” said LaPierre. “The 12 students that did it last year, almost all are working as health care aides right now. The employment piece has actually been very high. There are a number of them at Continuing Care and at a variety of lodges in town.”
Another initiative says LaPierre, aimed at the graduating students and graduates from last year are dual credits post-secondary offerings. These range from business-related courses to medical, tourism and science courses through Bow Valley College, Red Deer College and Olds College.
“What we do is we bring that student back, even if they have graduated and we will pay their tuition to take those courses. They will still get high school credit, but they will also get post-secondary credit,” he said. “I have targeted that primarily towards students that have a gap year.”
This gives the student an opportunity to get some credits while they are figuring out their next move, whether it be more schooling or entering the workforce.
“We are always trying to push the envelope and think outside the box,” he said.
The school welcomes Vanessa Page to the staff. She began last year covering a maternity leave, and this year she will be focusing on junior high math after teacher Michael Lee Chong departed.
“She really proved herself in that semester last year and worked so hard, so it is nice to have her,” said LaPierre.
The school is also welcoming former DVSS graduate Jasmine Manning who will be taking over for Aaron Mitchell who also departed the school. She will be teaching junior high language arts, as well as media arts, video arts, and robotics.
“She is a bit of a technology geek, so she is pretty excited about the position,” said LaPierre.
Miranda Farmer is also at the school this semester, completing her final practicum. She will be teaching high school math.
“It is always nice to have former students returning. One of the nice things about that is they are dedicated to the community,” said LaPierre. “We knew them as students, now we get to know them as colleagues.”