The start of summer marks the end of the school year at Portage. Did you know that all our youth programs in Québec, Ontario and Atlantic feature mandatory academic programs that are recognized by local school boards and adapted to students’ individual needs? 

Youth who are dealing with dependency issues often see their education cut short.  Frequent absences, inability to concentrate and behaviour problems significantly impact their motivation and academic success. When residents begin their therapy, they not only start working on achieving sobriety, but also gain immediate access to Portage’s academic program so they can finish their school year or, in certain cases, complete their high school program and go on to postsecondary studies.

A personalized educational approach 

In addition to therapy, young residents get two to three hours of schooling every day. This daily routine allows them to immerse themselves in a stable educational environment that is conducive to academic success.

In class, every student learns at their own pace, with teachers providing individualized attention and support for their special needs. Class sizes are limited so that teachers are able to devote more time to each student. Thanks to this personalized approach, the needs of each student can be met and their enthusiasm for learning is stimulated.

 ʺI lost all interest in school when I started using. At Portage, school is a big part of the program. It helped me rediscover my love of studying, which I didn’t think I would get back again. I really appreciated that.ʺ - Frank, Youth Program, Lac Écho

This approach is especially effective since it provides structure and allows residents to develop essential attributes such as self-confidence, perseverance and patience, all of which are key to their academic success and their personal development, even after they’ve left the residential program.

According to Marie Pascale, who teaches at Portage at Lac Écho, ʺThe structure, or at least part of the structure you see at Portage should be implemented in many other schools: the help and support afforded to students as well as teaching support, zero tolerance for poor behaviour and constant positive reinforcement of good behaviour are all extraordinary features of this living environment!ʺ

Academic program and therapy

Combining therapy and schooling has a positive effect on residents’ personal as well as academic development; teachers and counsellors work together closely to ensure students’ well-being and success in both areas.  ʺI know my students well. I know their limits, strengths, achievements, life experience and therapeutic goals; I am very involved (just like all Portage teachers) in their plan of care. And, the counsellors are very involved in their academic planʺ, adds the teacher. We make a strong team and are dedicated to the students’ well-being; we communicate on a regular basis (at least once a week) to ensure their success.ʺ

On the Path to Success

Many Portage residents graduate from high school during their residential program. This year, three residents at the Lac Écho Francophone Youth Program ended the year brilliantly by completing their high school program – a huge step towards post-therapy success.

To add to its residents’ opportunities for success, Portage has established a scholarship program for youth who attended school during their residential program and completed their drug rehabilitation program. Students who meet the eligibility criteria (personal and academic aptitudes) receive a scholarship for a recognized postsecondary program or specialized training in the trade of their choice.

Residents who already have a high school diploma can attend career workshops that will help them decide what they want to study once they have completed their therapy. These workshops provide guidance and information to help residents make informed choices about their professional future.

Every resident who comes to one of our centres has their own path to follow, but all of them share the will and determination to lead a healthy, rewarding life. Portage is proud to assist them by encouraging them to go back to school and continue learning. We fully support their personal and academic growth as they work towards becoming active, accomplished citizens.

For more information on the Portage Academy: https://portage.ca/en/services/school/

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