While graduation rates in Ontario have increased in recent years, a community program is doing its part to ensure that students who face various challenges as they enter high school are able to achieve graduation success as well.
Quantum is a long-term, multi-component intervention program aimed at students starting Grade 9 in the cities of Belleville, Trenton or Picton. Operated by the John Howard Society and supported by a number of community partners, this unique program aims to eliminate barriers to student success by providing wrap-around educational, developmental and service opportunities coupled with a sustained relationship with a caring adult for the duration of the student’s high school years.
During the pilot program, which took place from 2011 to 2015 in three high schools in Belleville and Trenton, 45 youth from the area were supported for four years with 70% achieving their high school diploma.
Now a unique pilot project in association with Highland Shores Children’s Aid will examine how the Quantum approach can support youth in care in grade 9. Up to 20 youth may be involved in the pilot and if successful, it could become an ongoing support in future years for youth in the care of HSCA. Angus Francis, Manager of Children’s Services for the Society explained, “This pilot project is about building community partnerships and using all available supports and resources to help the youth in our care be successful. These resilient young people often face unique challenges and as a result can experience difficulty with their academics. The wraparound approach used in the Quantum program provides support and encouragement that can make all the difference not only in educational experiences but also in terms of creating positive social and recreational opportunities and community involvement. The word quantum means “giant step” and we are hoping that this pilot project results in some ‘giant’ steps forward for these deserving youth.”