By Elizabeth Courchesne
Over the past 14 months, everything we expect from school has changed. The Phelps Helps team has worked hard to adapt to the needs of the students by offering online, in-person, and hybrid models of support throughout the past school year.
As we now work our way out of the pandemic, we must continue to support Stanstead area students, and Second Chance is the perfect opportunity for just that.
What is Second Chance?
The Second Chance Program launched in 2019 to provide support for Stanstead high school students in summer school. The four-week program consists of weekly tutoring sessions led by volunteer tutors in the school subject of the students' choice. The objective of these sessions is to prepare students for their retake exams at the end of July/beginning of August.
During the pandemic?
The idea for the Second Chance program came long before the pandemic, but when everything shut down right before the program's start date, the Phelps team had to quickly shift gears and find a new way to support students with the program.
One of the challenges to the program was the transition to an online platform to reach students during the pandemic. Tutoring sessions had always been held in person, and it was uncertain how students and tutors would respond to this shift. To help ease the transition to online learning, program coordinators offered Zoom tutorial sessions for students and volunteer tutors. After straightening out a few glitches, online tutoring sessions proved to be a success and allowed students to access tutors from outside the region who otherwise could not attend sessions.
Another challenge was the cancellation of all exams in 2019 (not only ministry exams). The program shifted the focus to offer extra support to those students who wanted to better prepare for the next school year. In total, thirteen participants from both Elementary, High School, and Adult Education attended 83 sessions. After four weeks, 35% of students reported that they felt more prepared for the next school year, and 92% of the students felt they had reached their learning goals.
What about this year?
Although there are no ministry exams again this year, students were busy writing their final exams (in-class) and working on last-minute assignments. Unlike last year, students will not advance automatically, meaning they will need to earn a passing grade to proceed to the next level. High school students who do not meet the requirements of a passing grade will be invited to attend virtual summer school in July, with retake exams at the end of the month. The Second Chance program will give these students extra help to ensure they are well prepared for the retake tests and the next school year.
Students can choose between one to two weekly sessions at Phelps or online. Students can also choose to do online sessions from Phelps in case of any connectivity issues. The High School Program Coordinator and Summer Programs Assistant will be onsite to help students with any questions.
How can I get involved?
- Students who are interested in participating in the Second Chance program should contact Elizabeth Courchesne at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Interested in volunteering? Contact Elizabeth Mackinnon at email@example.com
- For general inquiries about Phelps Helps, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org