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Thousands of Richmond students head back to class for new year
It’s back to the books for Richmond students who returned to classes Tuesday following summer holidays.
And as the 2013-14 school year begins for the roughly 22,000 students enrolled in local elementary and secondary schools, the district is rolling out a new program designed with their future job prospects in mind.
The Skilled Trade Exploration Program—STEP for short—is a new partnership between the Richmond School District, CUPE Local 716 (school district 38 works yard) and the district career programs office. Initially, STEP will afford students in grades 11 and 12 the opportunity to step into the shoes of a skilled trade worker.
“I’m really proud of this partnership that offers students job placements for a week to see whether this is a career option for them,” says Wendy Lim, the district’s assistant superintendent of schools.
The program enables students to work alongside workers in such trades as plumbing, carpentry, painting and electricity. A pilot program was held last spring and proved to be well received.
The STEP initiative is a further example, says Lim, of the district’s ongoing focus on the learner which has been its longtime motto.
“For me, everything we do is focused on how it supports student achievement,” she says. “That includes ensuring opportunities are available for teachers to grow and develop as well. Our high schools continually rank one or two in the province when it comes to graduation (91 per cent of eligible students graduated in 2013) and I think that’s in large part because of the dedication of our teachers. Our teachers meet regularly to work on strategies and assessments to ensure all our kids are getting strong, effective learning experiences, and at the district level we have committees as well to share ideas for student engagement.”
Lim says having parents involved in their children’s education is also crucial in the students’ overall success.
“We believe in a very collaborative mindset in the district and that extends to the home,” she concludes.