Helping youth get their education back on track is an important component of the Portage Program. All centres for adolescents offer mandatory on-site high school programming that is adapted to the needs of the residents. At Portage Elora, six on-site teachers from the Upper Grand District School Board deliver self-paced learning programs with small-sized classroom support. While most Portage residents have struggled with school in the past and many have abandoned their studies altogether, Portage Academy helps them rediscover their academic abilities and reawakens the drive to complete secondary school. Many residents even to go on to post-secondary studies.
Portage Academy is a self-paced distributed learning program, much like schooling by correspondence. Within a self-paced program, students take control of their own learning and develop a sense of responsibility for their studies. Each student develops an education plan and receives course package tailored to their individual needs for each subject they are enrolled in. The students work through the readings and assignments in their packages with the support of the teachers who act as facilitators. Students respond well to this model because they set their own pace and they feel accountable for the work that they do.
At Portage Academy, the teachers are there to offer one-on-one support and instruction as the students work through their course packages – facilitating, implementing, and overseeing the learning process of each individual. The teachers are supported by an Educational Assistant at Portage, who helps to enhance the learning experience for all students. There is also a Portage support staff in each classroom to ensure that positive behaviour models and the therapeutic community approach are integrated into classroom activities. They also help guide residents in their school work.
Whereas the Portage Ontario rehabilitation program gives residents hope for the future, Portage Academy gives them the tools and the confidence they need to pursue their studies and to broaden their horizons as far as they like.