Rainy River District School Board

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Student Success

Student Success Programming

GraduatesThe Rainy River District School Board currently provides a number of programs geared to provide students with multiple avenues to achieve their Secondary School Diplomas. These programs allow students to gain valuable workplace experience, learn specialized skills and leave high school better prepared for post secondary education and the workplace. Some of these initiatives and Program Pathways include:

Specialist High Skills Major

What are they?

Specialist High Skills Majors let students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Students receive the SHSM seal on their diploma when they:

  • complete a specific bundle of 8-10 courses in the student's selected field
  • earn valuable industry certifications including first aid and CPR qualifications
  • gain important skills on the job with employers. 

Who are they for?

Grade 11 and 12 students who are:

  • heading for apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace
  • wanting to identify, explore and refine their career goals and make informed choices about their next steps after secondary school.

How can they help?

Students have the opportunity to:

  • gain important skills on the job with actual employers, at skills training centres and at school
  • earn valuable industry certifications, including first aid and CPR qualifications.

Specialist High Skills Major Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

FFHS-SHSM Manufacturing FFHS-SHSM Business
AHS - SHSM Environmental Education AHS - SHSM Hospitality & Tourism

Credit Rescue and Credit Recovery

The Board continues to offer credit rescue and credit recovery programs. Credit Rescue is for students who are enrolled in a program and are at risk of losing the credit. Credit Recovery allows students who were unsuccessful in attaining the credit have the opportunity to earn the credit through a condensed format. Students must meet a minimum standard to participate in Credit Recovery. During the 2014-2015 school year, 311 credits were rescued and 41 credits were recovered.

Co-operative Education -Expanded Co-op

What is Cooperative Education (Co-op)? • Cooperative Education is a ministry-approved program that allows students to earn secondary school credits while completing a work placement. The program consists of a co-op course monitored by a cooperative education teacher, a related curriculum course in any subject and a work placement. • Students can apply two co-op credits towards their compulsory high school graduation requirements, with no limit on earning optional co-op credits. Co-op placements are arranged for students by their secondary school and must follow Ministry of Education policy and guidelines. Who is it for? • Co-op programs are for secondary students who are heading for apprenticeship, college, university or the workplace.

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Experience hands-on learning
  • "Test-drive" career options
  • See the relevance of their classroom learning
  • Develop the essential skills and habits required in the workplace
  • Gain valuable work experience that will help build a resumé for postsecondary programs and future employment.

All employers interested in taking on a co-op student can contact the principal of your local high school.

Hospital Co-op Placement Fire Hall Co-op Placement

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program    

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a school-to-work transition program offered through Ontario secondary schools. Full-time students in Grades 11 and 12 earn cooperative education credits through work placements in skilled trades.

"I can use this course in my current Co-op placement and the next."
"The training was good, and I can use it right away."

Who can participate?

If you are a full-time high school student entering Grade 11 and are at least 16 years old, you can work towards a career in the skilled trades by participating in OYAP.

How can I access OYAP?

To learn more about OYAP, contact your local high school guidance counsellor, your co-op education teacher or the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Coordinator for our school board (807-274-9855, ext.5011).

This project is funded by the Government of Ontario.  


Students can earn high school credits through E-Learning.  The high schools offer the following courses:

  • Fort Frances High School - BAF3M Financial Accounting Fundamentals, SPH4U University Physics
  • Atikokan High School - BTA3O Information and Communication Technology, CLU4U Canadian and International Law
  • Rainy River High School - HZT4U Philosophy: Questions and Theories, SNC4M Science

Other Programs

To support students in their learning, the Board continues to offer Summer Literacy Learning, Reach Ahead and Summer Cooperative Education programming.

Transition Programs

Transition programs are a group of orientation programs, strategies and interventions that help students as they move from elementary to secondary school. They are designed to provide individual support tailored to the student. Programs can include:

  • An educator or other caring adult assigned to provide support during transition years
  • A profile that highlights student strengths, needs and interests
  • A customized timetable based on the student's profile.

Each year in March, both secondary and elementary teachers meet at Fort Frances High School to discuss supports that will provide a successful start for students entering high school in fall. This strategy aims to build stronger links between elementary and secondary schools by promoting innovative Student Success initiatives and teaching practices, and focusing on the needs of each student.

Alternative Programming

The Rainy River District School Board offers a number of creative programs to provide additional support for students outside of a traditional school environment.

Lighthouse Projects

Lighthouse projects are innovative local programs that help students who need extra support and attention to stay in school. They are for students who are struggling in a regular classroom or who have left high school and want to return. Students have the opportunity to:

  • Accumulate credits
  • Return to school after leaving.

Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils (SALEP)

The Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils (SALEP) program provides an alternative learning environment for students who are not attending school and offers students a path back to full participation in school.

Alternative Programming provided in partnership with community based agencies

In addition to alternative programs provided by each of the three high schools and the United Native Friendship Centre, the Rainy River District School Board is partnering with Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services to contract the services of a counsellor to provide supports for students. Services include anger management and social skill development, as well as referrals for further supports as required.

Attendance Support

The attendance counsellor proactively works with students in both elementary and secondary schools to ensure consistent attendance. The attendance counsellor provides further support and connection to school for individuals in the Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils program.

GE-DA-GI-BINEZ Youth Centre

GE-DA-GI-BINEZ Youth Centre, Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne -Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services and the Fort Frances Chief’s Secretariat helped establish the only all - Indigenous youth facility in Canada in 2009. The facility serves Indigenous youth aged 12 to 17. The RRDSB has been a partner since the facility opened in April 2009 by providing educational programming for the youth at the facility.

Section 23 Classrooms

The Board has Section 23 classrooms at the GE-DA-GI -BINEZ Youth Centre and the Ganawendaasowin Treatment Program. The Rainy River District School Board provides educational opportunities for the youth who are admitted to these facilities through protocol agreements with the Ministries of Community and Social Services, Children and Youth Services, and Community Safety and Correctional Services. The educational program is composed of both instructional and blended activities with agency staff and teaching staff working together with students. The primary focus of instruction in both programs is literacy and numeracy. This process is guided by the Ontario curriculum and tailored to students based on assessments done to determine learning needs. The program also includes a strong Indigenous healing component which helps to further support youth through the cultural teachings and ceremonies of Elders.

Other Programs

  • Adult Education
  • Paid and Summer Co-op

Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Student Success Culture

Training for principals and teachers that includes new ideas and innovative approaches to helping students graduate from high school. It builds upon a culture of high expectations and individualized attention and caring. Students have the opportunity to:

  • Achieve more because their teachers are better able to give them choices
  • Be matched with appropriate alternatives to regular classroom learning.

Training is being rolled out across the province, introducing teachers and principals to new opportunities that are becoming available to their students.

Student Success Teams

At each school, a dedicated team of a principal, teachers and a guidance counsellor provides extra attention and support for individual students. Teams help a variety of students, including those who need extra attention to help them graduate and those who are looking for new challenges in high school. Students have the opportunity to:

  • Benefit from individualized attention and support
  • Choose from more options for learning, including more challenging studies
  • Seek help in solving problems they previously may have faced alone.

Student Success Teams are available to every student who needs more attention or motivation.

Additional supports and complimentary programming:

  • A caring adult provides support during transition years
  • Support for Literacy and Numeracy development.
  • Character Education.