The Wild Rose School Division has been considering options for offering professional education for students.

At the January 23 board meeting, the Director of Instruction Jen Lefebvre presented trustees with an outline of different academies and collegiates the division could partner with.

The analysis report says academies are branded, specialized programs that don’t necessarily need an academy to put into place. Collegiates, which were announced as an official designation in Alberta Education in 2022, are schools that offer specialized programming that is geared toward guiding a student for different career paths.

Superintendent of WRSD, Brad Volkman, says there are many divisions that offer academy courses such as Flight Academies or Fire Academies and WRSD wanted to do some research on the feasibility of bringing some of these courses to the division.

Lefebvre brought an analysis that spoke about the benefits, drawbacks, and costs of some of those programs.

Volkman says one of the programs they were considering was a flight academy. However, since there is no funding from Alberta Education to help with the program, it would be too expensive to run.

“The cost is borne by the students,” says Volkman. “That includes instruction from a certified flight instructor, transportation costs to the airport, and there’s a pretty big insurance requirement.”

He says Lefebvre looked into different courses offered by other divisions and felt it was too much. “We’re hearing from some places that the cost is $20,000,” says Volkman.

After hearing the costs, the division felt there would be a limit as to which students could afford the enrollment for the course.

“Equity is very important to Wild Rose School Division, and we tend to not put a lot of resources into something that would impact only a few students who could most afford it.”

Volkman says while the flight academy is not an option at the moment, they are looking at other courses. One they were excited about was the firefighting training. According to the report, WRSD is currently looking to see if they can mitigate some of the transportation issues involved.

Frank Maddock High School is also partnering with Drayton Valley Ford as a focus for students in mechanics. Both Frank Maddock and Breton offer a full cosmetology course which helps students achieve apprenticeship level when they graduate. Breton also has received a grant to offer a welding program at the school.

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 29, 2024 at 09:17

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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