Brian Scheling (left), who is in the SWAC Automotive Service Technician Program at Red Deer College, stands with WCPS teacher Darcy Blum.                                Image: WCPS

Brian Scheling (left), who is in the SWAC Automotive Service Technician Program at Red Deer College, stands with WCPS teacher Darcy Blum. Image: WCPS

Dual credit benefiting WCPS students

School division working on expanding program into nursing, business studies

A high school program that has enjoyed success is hoping to expand.

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) dual credit program has operated for the past three years, with more than 50 students taking part in the project that provides them with both high school and post-secondary educational credits.

Sean Lougheed, WCPS director of learning services, explained the program has only operated in the province for the last five years and that it has done some amazing things for students.

“(We) have all worked together to create amazing opportunities that allow students to earn both high school and post secondary credits simultaneously,” he said in an e-mail.

“Over the past three years, WCPS students have participated in over 500 courses in both trades and academic-focused post secondary areas.”

While the program’s achievements could be measured by how well the students have done, it has also succeeded in growing the number of students interested in shaving time and money off their education after high school.

“Each year, we have been doubling the number of students participating by ensuring presentations highlighting the program take place at all WCPS high schools and junior high schools,” he stated.

Another measure of progress was witnessed this past school year, with two students taking welding through the program capturing first and second spots at the Alberta Skills Competition.

The school division started with Red Deer College as its partner via the School Within A College (SWAC) program.

“These students are participating in the first year technical training to become journeyman welders and automotive service technicians,” stated Lougheed.

“WCPS also has a partnership with Olds College, where students are taking the first year technical training to become journeyman agricultural equipment technicians.”

In addition, Olds College has recently taken several WCPS students within its hospitality and tourism certification program.

Lougheed added WCPS has been exploring other opportunities with its present partners and other institutions.

“The hope is to offer dual credits in areas like nursing, business, education and computing science programs,” he said.

“This is an area that has tremendous potential and, under the provincial high school redesign, WCPS schools have fully embraced these opportunities. We have consistently seen that more opportunities to help prepare students for post-secondary education and the world of work are what both students and parents want.”