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Educating for the future

Morinville high school looks to offer more dual credit courses in years to come

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

MR. PRINCIPAL – Todd Eistetter, principal of Morinville Community High School, spoke at the chamber lunch last Wednesday.
MR. PRINCIPAL – Todd Eistetter, principal of Morinville Community High School, spoke at the chamber lunch last Wednesday.
STU SALKELD/St. Albert Gazette

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Grade 12 students in Morinville can now raise the level of education in the province by taking university credit courses, said Todd Eistetter, principal at the Morinville Community High School.

Eistetter spoke at a Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Wednesday.

He said the high school is among the first in Alberta to offer university dual-credits to its students, and is now looking to expand the program. They also hope to increase the number of high school and university graduates in Alberta, he said.

“What we are hoping with the program that we are starting … is that our students will have a good experience and continue on,” he said.

The dual-credit course was first introduced to students this year and is part of a partnership that Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools has with MacEwan University.

The program gives Grade 12 students, who have been accepted into post secondary education, the opportunity to take a regular university course with a professor at their school.

The course, Business 201 – Introduction to Canadian Business, earns them high school credits while studying at university level without paying tuition, he said.

Eistetter said the program addresses rising educational requirements for jobs in the province. In Alberta, students are more likely to drop out of both college and university than anywhere else in the country, he said.

“There are very few producers now in Fort McMurray that will accept anyone without a Grade 12 education,” he said. “If we can give our students a good experience, the opportunities for them to continue, to complete their studies, hopefully will be far greater.”

The school is now applying to start a partnership with another post secondary institution.

Next year, they are hoping to add university courses with credits in English and psychology to their program, and courses in sociology and political science a year later, he said.

The new courses will earn students credits that are transferable to other post-secondary institutions. Eistetter hopes this will also make their application to university look more favourable.

Other courses

The dual-credit courses are not the only initiative the community high school has created in recent years.

The school now provides 25 different courses for Grade 9 students, and over 100 courses to high school students, said Eistetter.

Among them is a course in urban agriculture, which was introduced this year and teaches students where their food comes from, how it is produced, and how to sell it. The course is the only one of its kind in Alberta, he said.

“They have gone out to farms, they worked with feedlots, they worked at greenhouses, they have their own pigs,” he said. “And each semester they slaughter three pigs, they butcher them, and then they sell the meat back into the program.”

Other programs include a work experience placement and registered apprenticeship program, where students work with local employers and earn high school credits.

The school has now also entered into a partnership with Community Futures Tawatinaw Region.

The eight-week program teaches students the basics about going into business, including skills in bookkeeping, marketing and using credit.

In the future, the school is also looking to create an online job board for local businesses, said Eistetter.

“As a school we take as many opportunities as we possibly can to use local services,” he said. “Whether it’s buying local or using our community, the knowledge, the expertise that is here.”


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