Pilot project aims to help more students at risk of not graduating [The Record]

July 27, 2018

KITCHENER — A new pilot project aims to support students at risk of not graduating from high school in two low-income Kitchener neighbourhoods.

Carizon hopes to launch the three-year pilot in January with 160 students in Victoria Hills and Centreville Chicopee.

"We think this is a great opportunity to take something we know works and modify it so we can reach more students," said Carizon chief executive officer Tracy Elop.

The pilot is based on the Pathways to Education program that Carizon has been running in the Chandler Mowat and Kingsdale neighbourhoods for 10 years. It saw graduation rates in those neighbourhoods improve by 85 per cent.

Last year there was a comprehensive review of the model, which is successful but expensive to offer. As well, Carizon realized many more students in other neighbourhoods could benefit.

The Youth Getting Connected focuses on the key components that have a big impact on the lives of students and their academic success: the one-on-one relationship between the student and support worker, and financial assistance that helps them get to school and join community events.

The current program also runs throughout high school, with about the same level of support throughout. But that can create a challenge for some students when they move on to post-secondary education or the workforce.