Sudbury Catholic District School Board

St. Albert Learning Centre Celebrates First Graduate of the 2023-2024 School Year!

The 2023-24 school year poses to be a bright start for Caitlyn, a St. Albert Learning Centre student who has reached a significant milestone. In an outstanding accomplishment, she has completed all her credits and earned her Ontario secondary school diploma in just the second week of the academic year!

You might be wondering how such a remarkable accomplishment is possible. The secret to Caitlyn’s success lies in the unique learning environment at St. Albert Learning Centre. Here, students are empowered with the flexibility to work at their own pace thanks to dedicated support available right here at the school.

“Caitlyn’s journey was marked by its fair share of challenges, but she displayed unwavering determination,” say’s Christina Raso, Principal of St. Albert Learning Centre. “As recently as last June, she was merely one credit away from graduation. The St. Albert team rallied behind her, providing the guidance and support she needed to reach the finish line. Just two weeks in, Caitlyn proudly walked in with her completed coursework, ready to embrace the exciting next chapter in her life.”

Catherine, Caitlyn’s mother, expressed her heartfelt gratitude, saying, “I am eternally grateful to the staff at St. Albert Learning Centre who went above and beyond and never lost faith in my daughter. I cannot express in words how thankful I am.”

The St. Albert Learning Centre team is bursting with pride for Caitlyn and her exceptional achievements. Let’s join together in a virtual celebration for our first graduate of the year! Caitlyn, your determination and resilience are an inspiration to us all. We are eagerly anticipating the incredible journey that lies ahead for you.

At the heart of every education is the student it empowers. Whether your journey starts in Kindergarten or continues with Adult Education, lifelong learning is made possible at St. Albert Learning Centre. For comprehensive information about the programs we offer, visit our website, or feel free to get in touch with the school during their operating hours, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

St. Albert Learning Centre

504 St. Raphael | Sudbury, ON | P3B 1M4
Phone: 705.673.3031
E-mail: stalbert@sudburycatholicschools.ca 
Christina Raso, Principal

Local Students in PEACE Program Launch the School Year with Creativity and Teamwork

In an exciting start to the school year, students in the PEACE program at St. Albert wasted no time in igniting their passion for learning and growth.

Their adventure began with a much-anticipated Marshmallow Challenge, a test of creativity and teamwork. With smiles on their faces and determination in their hearts, these students showed that they were ready to rise to the occasion. 

The atmosphere was filled with laughter, excitement, and a strong sense of camaraderie as these young minds unleashed their creativity. The Marshmallow Challenge is just the beginning of their remarkable journey through the school year.

The entire community can’t wait to witness the incredible achievements that lie ahead for these talented individuals. The first day of school in 2023 marks the beginning of an extraordinary chapter, and we are excited to be a part of their journey.” Say’s Christina Raso, Principal of St. Albert Adult Learning Centre. 

 St. Albert Learning Centre Celebrates Double Grad from Same Family 

Robert O’Neil and fiancé Casey Lepine each celebrated a monumental achievement this month – they both graduated from St. Albert Learning Centre! Robert and Casey achieved their Grade 12 diploma. Casey also graduated from the Personal Support Worker program. They were honoured during a graduation ceremony which took place on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, where they each served as Class Valedictorians. 

After making a commitment to bettering their education, both Robert and Casey chose St. Albert Learning Centre because of its flexible and positive learning environment and encouraging educators. St. Albert Learning Centre provides unique learning opportunities and programs for students. Students learn at their own pace and courses are facilitated by classroom teachers in a supportive and caring environment. The Personal Support Worker (PSW) program at St. Albert Learning Centre is approximately six months in length and is taught by certified staff. Upon completion of the PSW program, students will receive a certificate and pin that is recognized by health care institutions. 

Throughout their time at St. Albert, they both felt supported by all staff – from their teachers to the daycare staff at Jubilee Heritage Family Resources who helped care for their children during the day. Though not always an easy journey, both Robert and Casey look back at St. Albert Learning Centre fondly. 

“I have pushed myself harder than I thought possible to soar to new heights and open new opportunities. It honestly is never too late for education – take yourself beyond those limits you placed and become better! I want to thank the staff at St. Albert Learning Centre for being so encouraging and fostering such a positive learning environment,” said Robert O’Neil, recent St. Albert Learning Centre graduate. 

“I have had the absolute pleasure of teaching both Rob and Casey throughout their educational journey here at St. Albert Learning Centre. Through their time at our school, this couple has been a major source of inspiration to several students and staff members alike, and they have taken full advantage of many of the programs 

and courses that we have to offer! The remarkable dedication displayed by both Casey and Rob to their education and future aspirations has consistently shone through within our classrooms. We wish them both luck in the future!” said Sarah Vandermost, Teacher at St. Albert Learning Centre. 

Robert hopes to pursue a job working underground or as a conductor for the railroads. For her part, Casey is excited to begin her PSW career – she thoroughly enjoys working with her clients and hopes to make a huge impact on their lives. 

St. Albert Students Participate in Brain Buster Quiz with Let’s Talk Science

On day four of Catholic Education Week, students at St. Albert Learning Centre participated in a special Brain Buster Quiz show organized by the team at Let’s Talk Science.  

Students tested their knowledge about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in a fun and engaging activity. Students learned new vocabulary such as “umami” all while earning points and having a great time!  

At the end of the game, students were given the opportunity to ask questions to game host Nick Butt about his experience studying STEM. Nick is the Outreach Delivery Coordinator at Let’s Talk Science who studied physics at Memorial University of Newfoundland and then earned his masters degree in Educational Research specializing in Curriculum and Learning.  

We would like to thank the team at Let’s Talk Science for organizing this event, sharing their passion about STEM but most importantly for celebrating Catholic education week with us! 

Congratulations goes out to Fisher, Curtis and Kayla for earning the highest scores and winning gift cards!

It’s never too late to get your high school diploma or train for the job you love!

Since 1992, St. Albert Learning Centre (SALC) in Sudbury has been providing learners with opportunities in an alternative setting. Programs aim to meet each individual’s needs while providing flexibility of time, which allows for greater success when compared to traditional classroom settings.  

SALC is a unique, inclusive learning environment that offers a variety of programs to accommodate different needs and learning style. SALC prepares learners for their future goals in the workplace, post-secondary or an apprenticeship role.  

At SALC, the programs and learning environment align with its mission, vision and values.

Man works on his laptop

Mission:

We are committed to providing a Catholic, caring and supportive environment meeting learners where they are in their educational journey and helping them achieve their goals. 

Vision:

We welcome all learners and provide flexible programs to meet the needs of diverse students and the community, as a whole. 

Values: 

We are committed to providing: 

  • Real world experiences; 
  • Flexible programming needs; and 
  • A supportive environment. 

As well, one-on-one counselling allows SALC to determine the fastest route to achieving educational and/or career goals.  

SALC takes a two-fold approach to learning: 

  • To identify and meet the academic needs of adults returning to school; and 
  • To provide on-site and off-site community supports and services to manage the challenges of returning to school. 

SALC is proud to have helped thousands of people graduate and enter post-secondary education or find meaningful employment. There are a few different options to consider including for those 18+.  

One such option is the PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) Challenge for Credit and for Mature Students. This program allows adult students to use their life and work experience to earn credits towards an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.   

What makes the PLAR program unique is that it recognizes skills and/or experiences people have had in their lives and grants high school credits for these experiences. If you worked in an industry and have pay stubs or a letter from the employer indicating your role and job description, you may be able to obtain credits.  Learners can also earn credits for being a parent and managing a household.  

“St. Albert Learning Centre offers a wide variety of programming. From upgrading skills, to earning credits for a high school diploma, or getting you job ready in one of our specialized programs such as PSW or cleaner training program, we will help each learner achieve their goals,” says Principal Cassandra Tenbergen. “St. Albert offers a warm and welcoming environment, and we want each learner to achieve success, whatever success means to them. We will help people achieve their goals.” 

Debra R. receives support through the Ontario Disability Support Program. Debra struggled with addiction and at age 15, dropped out of school. Now 50 years old, Debra would like to earn her Gr. 12 diploma in a year and secure a part-time job. “With the PLAR process, one-on-one assistance from my teacher and possible co-op placement, I will be able to achieve my goal!” 

Women studies from her notes

Maria R. is a retired entrepreneur who ran four local businesses over a span of 30 years. Without a formal education, she immigrated to Canada when she was 16 years old and worked full-time at a bakery and convenience store. After ten years of working, she decided to attend Cambrian College as a mature student, to complete a three-year degree and graduated with honours. She says, “I found out that through the PLAR process I could be granted equivalency credits for my college education and would only need to take one senior-level course to earn my secondary school diploma. I will be graduating in June 2023 with my Gr. 12 diploma!” 

Women works on her laptop

Other programs for students 18+ include: 

  • PSW (Personal Support Worker) – join an information session to learn more; 
  • New eight-week certificate programs with on-the-job training: Cleaner, Retail Worker and Cook’s Helper; and 
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) for credit courses – speaking, listening, reading and writing, to give students a well-rounded understanding of the English language.  
  • One on one credit counselling for immigrants to support them in attaining their Ontario High School Diploma  

Want to learn more? Visit the SALC website for more information or contact SALC today and get ready to start your journey – it’s never too late! Registration is now open. Onsite daycare services available.  

Success for Each; A Place for All 

St. Albert PSW students receive special visit!

On November 22, 2018, St. Albert’s Personal Support Worker Program enjoyed a visit from Andrew Olivier to reinforce the importance of PSWs. Without PSWs, many people would not be able to perform basic activities of daily living that so many of us take for granted. Andrew offered a first-hand perspective as to what it’s like working with a PSW on a daily basis and the valuable role they play. Personal Support Workers are often the unsung heroes of the health care field, providing clients with assistance in their day-to-day life with respect, dignity, and compassion.

This visit was a great way to cap off the theoretical portion of the program. Students have now headed out to placements in our community to build on what they learned in class and put their knowledge into practice. St. Albert’s is extremely fortunate to have supportive partners in education: St. Joseph’s Villa, St. Gabriel’s Villa, and Pioneer Manor continue to be integral and valued community allies in the drive to provide our city with quality PSWs.

St. Albert’s offers the PSW program twice per school year starting in September and January. There are still a few spots available for January 2019: feel free to come to an intake session December 10, 2018 at 2:30pm to learn more about our program and how to become a PSW.

SCDSB Bringing Literacy to the Community

Christine McCracken, a teacher with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board does not teach out of your typical classroom. With the board since October, 2015, McCracken works with adult learners in two different locations. One of her locations is on the Atkikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation Reserve. The second is at the Sudbury jail. It is this second location that inspired a call-out to her fellow SCDSB staff. After meeting with the learners in jail, she realized that many were desperate for something to read. McCracken brought the newspaper in with her during her visits and they couldn’t get enough. After some inquiry, she realized that there weren’t very many books available to the inmates. Inspired by the enthusiasm of these learners, McCracken discussed some strategies with her principal at St. Albert, Aaron Barry. The two decided to do a call-out to all SCDSB staff to see if anyone wanted to donate any new or gently used books to the Sudbury jail. After only a two-week collection period, the staff had donated close to 500 books. “We currently have at least 50 inmates taking part in this programming at the Sudbury jail,” explain McCracken. “We even already have a few really close to getting their high school diplomas. Reaching out to them in this environment has inspired them to want to continue their education after as well, which is wonderful. These books will really help in their learning!”
The St. Albert principal explained that through the St. Albert Learning Centre, some of these individuals were able to gets some credits through PLAR which is the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition program. This assigns credits to individuals towards the secondary school diploma (OSSD) for knowledge and skills that they have acquired outside of secondary school. “McCracken has been a real inspiration with these particular learners as she really motivates learning and encourages them to continue working towards their OSSD,” Barry stated. “Through the support of the SCDSB, we are able to bring continuing education to a group that may otherwise not consider continuing on with their education. It is a great program, and we are thankful to all of our coworkers and SCDSB staff for their generous book donations –they will make a positive difference!”

For more information about continuing education, PLAR, or getting your OSSD, contact St. Albert Learning Centre at (705) 673-3031.

Exploring Opportunities in the PEACE Program

Assistant Deputy Minister Janine Griffore and Nicole McAllister, ‎Education Officer visited St. Albert Learning Centre on April 22, 2015 to look at a unique program happening with students enroled in the Sudbury Catholic District School Board’s PEACE program.

The PEACE program, which stands for Personalized, Experiential, Alternative, Catholic Education, is an alternative program for for secondary students who are disengaged, on a long term suspension or expulsion, behind in credit accumulation and have social/emotional issues. The students learn techniques to overcome obstacles all while earning credits towards their secondary school diploma and are supported with their social and emotional needs, and learn how to give back to the community through community partnerships.

At the end of last year, a proposal was submitted by staff, to bring in a project that would allow these students some hands on learning, and gain business experience. The Peace Pen program was born. The purpose of the Peace Pen program is to help the students to thrive in a non-traditional classroom setting. Through this project, the students earn credits by participating in different aspects of a school run business venture.

The “business” offers promotion materials to our board. The Peace Pen project involves the fabrication of customized, hand-made, one-of-a-kind wooden pens presented in engraved boxes. After purchasing a wood lathe and laser engraver, the class purchased special pen kits. Each pen, when complete, includes a written description of the program, signed by the student who created it. As well, it includes a description of the wood used for that particular pen.

This project has already blossomed into an engraving business as well, with requests coming in from the school board for specific engraving pieces used throughout the schools and buildings. Students are involved in different aspects of the Peace Pen project such as marketing, accounting, promotion and communication, inventory and production. According to Michel Grandmont, the board’s secondary consultant who supports the class, “This contextualized approach to meeting curriculum expectations makes it real for students. They are actually operating a small enterprise, all the while meeting the different curriculum expectations,” explained Grandmont. “Depending on the tasks and activities the student is involved in, he or she will earn credits by meeting overall expectations in several secondary courses such as mathematics, business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and English.”

The students divide up the tasks such as production and the development of promotional materials such as brochures, website and the creation of an instructional video. One of the students involved in the program, Jessica Blais, was given the task of explaining to their Ministry of Education guests, the Peace program, the Peace Pen project, and how much both have changed her life. “Working with Peace Pens has forced me to leave my comfort zone and face my fear of talking to people,” Blais explains. “Once I overcame my fear, I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. This small classroom business is teaching us valuable life lessons while we work toward achieving our diploma, which I now see in the near future. I am very grateful for this second chance.”

St. Albert and ICAN Making a Positive Difference in Health Care Through Partnership

The ICAN Independence Centre and Network in Sudbury is a community- based non-profit organization that provides services, resources and support for people with disabilities.  St. Albert Adult Learning Centre is a school in the Sudbury Catholic District School Board that offers adult and continuing education programs with the purpose of preparing individuals to succeed in today’s workplace through a variety of programs and initiatives. One of the programs that St. Albert offers is a Personal Support Worker (PSW) program. While these two organizations differ greatly in their mandate, they do share a common theme – a quest to seek and train people who are enthusiastic and compassionate, and who are motivated to work in the PSW field.

In a recent interview, Chief Executive Officer for ICAN, Marie Leon, explained that with a growing population of seniors, there is a greater need for qualified PSWs, particularly those who are committed to providing quality care for their clients. The challenge is to recruit motivated candidates and retain them within the organization. She explained that when demands for a profession are high, so are turnover rates.

St. Albert’s PSW program is in its third year and 24 spots are available for each intake (every six months). Students must pass an aptitude test and a formal interview before gaining admission to the Program. ICAN is one of the facilities that accepted PSW students to do the practical portion of the, so a positive partnership between the two organizations already existed. In the Fall, both ICAN and St. Albert entered into formal discussions to take their partnership one step further.  In an an effort to recruit and retain strong PSWs, an agreement was reached whereby ICAN would sponsor up to six students. ICAN supports each student by paying their registration fee of $1,500, and by providing a weekly stipend to support the student financially during their program. Once the student finishes the theory portion of the course, they are hired immediately as a casual employee. In return, the student must commit to working for ICAN for two years in order to fulfill their obligation of the agreement.

According to the school’s principal, Karl Dreger,it is a win-win for both parties. “ICAN is a progressive organization which offers its employees a competitive wage and a comprehensive benefit package.” “There is a comprehensive interview process for these six coveted spots,” Dreger explained.  “Not only is the student candidate interviewed to gain admittance into the PSW program, but select students who we believe would be good candidates for the ICAN program are interviewed again by the ICAN staff. 

One of the students who was given this opportunity, Amy Winn, gushed about her experience at St. Albert, as well as her upcoming career placement with ICAN. “I have been a career waitress for 15 years,” Winn explained.  “I heard about the St. Albert PSW program through word of mouth, and decided it was worth looking into.  I had been out of school for 15 years and all I could remember about school was that I struggled to stay awake.  This program at St. Albert is anything but boring – the teacher is absolutely incredible – she is very knowledgeable and every day teaches us something interesting and exciting. This school is the perfect setting for learning as there are no distractions like in a regular school.  I am excited about this opportunity, and feel very lucky to have been chosen to be a part of this incredible partnership with ICAN.” Principal Karl Dreger echoed Winn’s sentiments about the teacher and the school.  “We are so fortunate to have Dawn-Marie Brunet as the program lead for this course. Not only is she a certified teacher, but she is also a certified Registered Nurse (R.N.) with many years of experience. Someone with this type of experience is very hard to come by.  The students really respond well to her teaching, and the end result is a group of PSW’s who are inspired to make a positive difference in our community.  This is a really great example of the outstanding and supportive environment at St. Albert. These days, we must seek and forge partnerships outside of the education sector to keep our programs strong and viable. A synergistic relationship such as this is a wonderful model that we are very proud of”

For more information on the PSW program, the partnership with ICAN or other St. Albert programs, please call the school at (705)673-3031 or visit their website at:

[ http://www.st-albert.sudburycatholicschools.ca ]www.st-albert.sudburycatholicschools.ca

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