A program starting in Spryfield this year aims to help students stay in school with financial incentives and academic support.
Pathways to Education is a community-based charity founded in 2001 in Toronto’s Regent Park. The Spryfield operation, which covers residents of Herring Cove Road from Princeton Avenue to Cowie Hill, is the first in HRM.
Program director Kevin Young says they are registering students now.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to help reshape the community from a number of different health determinants,” he says. “It’s about providing as much opportunity for youth in the zone as possible.”
He says area statistics for 2003 to 2006 show students slated to graduate by 2009 had a drop-out rate of 46 per cent. “I would hazard to say there are areas [in HRM] that are going to be equally as high and many areas that are going to be lower.”
Pathways to Education says in other areas it has operated, high school dropout rates have fallen from 56 per cent to 12 per cent.
Young says the free program is open to every student in the area who is entering Grade 9 and who might be at risk of not completing school.