Tuesday, May 3, 2016

High schoolers get a week-long taste of post-secondary experience at Lethbridge College

Paul Kingsmith, Communications Specialist, University of Lethbridge

The halls and classrooms of Lethbridge College will get a burst of youthful energy this week as nearly 30 students from Pincher Creek high schools take part in Experiential Learning Week (ELW).

Students will be on campus today through Friday, taking specially-designed courses while also living in residence to gain the full Lethbridge College experience. The purpose of ELW is to provide opportunities for students to engage in high interest and authentic learning experiences to gain knowledge and skills to help them prepare for life after high school.

“ELW is a great opportunity for high school students to explore the college in general,” says Leah Wack, manager of Regional Stewardship at Lethbridge College. “But it also lets them explore a specific area of programming in more depth and determine whether they might like to pursue it further.”

Experiential Learning Week has been a staple in Pincher Creek for the last three years, but this is the first time Lethbridge College has been involved. Twenty-one students from Matthew Halton High School and seven students from St. Michael’s School will be on campus for the pilot project. Each will take part in a week of classes in one of the Justice and Public Safety, Digital Communications and Media, or Interior Design Technology programs.

As well, 16 students will spend the week exploring the wilderness in the Pincher Creek area while taking a field study camp run by the School of Environmental Sciences.

The programming has been designed by Lethbridge College instructors to give a simulated college experience, while the students will earn high school credit for their work.

“This unique pilot project is the culmination of two years of planning and coordination by Lethbridge College, Matthew Halton High School and St. Michael's School to build 'bridges' between the college and rural high schools,” says John Taylor, off campus coordinator for Livingstone Range school division. “This is an incredible opportunity for high school students to immerse themselves in an authentic, multi-faceted college learning experience. We are hopeful such an experience will assist rural students in their transition to post-secondary institutions.”

The program is funded in-part by a Government of Alberta Regional Partnership Grant with the purpose of developing high school to post-secondary pathways.

“All of our staff involved with this project recognize the benefits of collaborating with our region’s high schools to better support youth in their transition from high school to post-secondary,” says Wack. “We know that students are more successful in our programs when they’ve made informed choices and know what to expect when they get here.”

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