Step Ahead Program
The Step Ahead program is a free English as a Second Language (ESL) Program that aspires to help young newcomers to Canada to build on their proficiency in English, while developing their academic, leadership and recreational skills through a variety of activities. It is a full-time program that runs for five weeks through July and early August, a period during which schools are out and many new immigrant students with little or no access to English tend to regress. Many of these students experience academic, linguistic, and social barriers in the education system.
Since 1995, this unique program was initiated when the school board cutbacks caused summer ESL classes to be cancelled. This is the only program of its kind in Ontario, and possibly in Canada. Studies have shown that older newcomer students are more likely to fall behind in school, and are much more likely to drop out of high school without graduating. This program helps to fill in the country-specific and culture-specific knowledge gaps, and equips students at risk with solid skills and language development that make it easier for them to succeed in following years. Participants become aware of the community resources and recreational activities that are available to them, as well as how to access them.
ESL teachers and community organizations serving newcomers nominate students for the Step Ahead Pogram. The 150 available spots in eleven classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and the remaining applicants are placed on a waiting list. To date every student who started the program has completed it. Not one has ever dropped-out!
For more information, contact:
Ikram Jama, MLO Program Manager
Phone: 613-725-5671 ext. 262