Connex is a transitional part-time program for students 12 to 19 years old, who have been out of school or are at risk of being out of school due to behaviours (e.g., anxiety, depression) that make it difficult for them to function in a regular setting.
The Connex Program has a high adult: youth ratio. Student programs are individualized and administered in an informal environment. Students typically attend school three hours per day, although students who are able to do so may arrange to attend full days.
Students are evaluated on an ongoing basis and when ready to do so, return to a regular secondary school with appropriate supports.
Our philosophy centres around the Circle Of Courage where we develop four universal growth needs: Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. Through fostering these four facets of a student’s character, we believe students will develop the resiliency to overcome obstacles and succeed academically and socially.
The focus is on moving the student forward from where they are socially, emotionally, behaviourally, and academically.
The order of these four components is significant in that without addressing the first two there is little success addressing behavioural academic needs.
- There is a focus on social responsibility and social skill development
- Belief that all behaviour has meaning and that children and youth do well if they can
- Smaller class sizes and high adult: student ratio
- Child and Youth Care Worker, Drug and Alcohol Counselor, & PLEA worker (for youth currently on probation)
- High degree of parent/guardian participation
- Parenting/guardian workshops
- Individualized programming (e.g., modified, adapted) and integrated, project-based high interest curriculum
- Work experience/trades training opportunities
Characteristics of Students for Which the Program is Intended
The Connex program enrolls students whose behaviour is under-controlled or over-controlled. Students whose behaviour is under-controlled may suffer from impulsivity, bullying, intimidation, defiance, or anger management difficulties, for example. Students whose behaviour is over-controlled may suffer from anxiety, depression, or phobias, for example.
Students may also attend the Connex Program when the school district has insufficient information in relation to programming needs, and the student requires assessment, diagnostic teaching, and intervention development. These services will be provided until there is sufficient information to assist with the transition to a long-term program.
Student entry into the program generally occurs between the ages of 15 and 17 years. Older and younger students are considered on an individual basis. Most students are on an individualized program and so they may or may not be working at grade level.
The Ministry of Education has established guidelines for providing support and intervention to students who experience behaviour and mental health difficulties (Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines).
Referral to the Connex Program should be made only after these school-based services have been exhausted. Students being considered for the Connex Program have been referred to the school-based team and have an IEP in place. District personnel (e.g., school psychologist, Student Support Services facilitator) have been involved and the student has a BC Ministry of Education designation.
The student’s home school makes the referral. The referral should be sent to the principal of Alternate Education. Consult with the principal of Alternate Education if you are unsure whether the referral would be appropriate.
The Connex program is a half-day program. Students attend as much as they are able (i.e., some students attend from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.).
Connex intakes students three times a year (September, December, March).