U-Turn is an alternative program that will provide learning opportunities that will demonstrate and encourage behaviours that promote success in all school communities. As an alternative intervention, we will provide an invitational learning setting for at-risk youth to overcome their obstacles to learning, make better decisions and improve their work habits so they can successfully transition back to their home school or the workplace.
We offer various programs under the U-Turn umbrella
- U-Turn Core
- U-Turn Connect
- U-Turn Works
- U-Turn Diversion
- U-Turn Re-engagement
Profile of the U-Turn Student
At-risk youth ages 15-18 that would benefit from an intervention in an alternative setting in Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo. Risk factors for at-risk youth may include:
- low grades
- low self-esteem
- lack of motivation
- poor work habits
- anti-social behavior
- peer conflict or
- low level stress/anxiety
Academics is not the only focus here at U-Turn. There is an equal focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students. There are two Child and Youth Workers at each of our sites. They are here to work through anything that arises with the students that doesn’t necessarily involve academics. Students focus on improving communication, making better choices and increasing self image as part of our holistic approach.
We encourage daily kinetics activity as part of our wellness strategy.
The Fun Stuff
We have a variety of presenters come in, and various field trips throughout the year. Some fun and interesting field trips and activities that we have done in the past are:
- Rockwood Conservation Area
- Rare Conservation
- Habitat for Humanity Builds
- CAP baseball tournament
- Toyota Tour
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Holocaust Centre Toronto
We provide lunch for students as part of our Nutrition for Learning program.
- Students will be able to gain one high school credit in 4-5 weeks.
- Smaller Class size 15 max
- Classes will run from 9 am to 1:45 pm.
- Attendance is crucial to this program.
- Transportation is provided to the student in form of Grand River Transit bus passes.
- Respect – students are expected to respect themselves, other students and staff as well as, the other programs in the building.
The majority of courses taught at U-Turn are electives. This is so that we can cater to students in Grades 10 – 12 (U-Turn Core, Works and Diversion), Grades 8 – 9 (U-Turn Connect) in the same classroom. Each one of our courses is taught all day and lasts about 5 weeks in length. Each student will only have to focus on one subject at a time. We teach 4 courses in each semester, for a total of 8 courses in a year, much like regular high school.
U-Turn Works is the ideal program for the student who wants experience in the working world while obtaining high school credits. Co-operative education credits count towards Groups 1, 2 and 3 compulsory credits, as well as any of your elective credits.1 credit is obtained with approximately every 110 hours of work (in-class and on the job hours). You don’t have to have a job to come into the U-Turn Works program but you must be willing to work hard to obtain a placement. Effort is a requirement in this program. You must also demonstrate a high level of respect, a level of consistent attendance and consistent completion of school work in order to be considered for this program.
Diversion is the alternative to the regular core U-Turn program. This is a joint project with the Waterloo Region District School Board and the John Howard Society. Students attend from 9:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and are working towards transitioning to the core U-Turn program. This program is located at Continuing Education in Waterloo and the John Howard Society in Cambridge. While setting their own pace, students focus on credit based courses, and interpersonal skills. Diversion is a highly student centered program and attempts are made to accommodate curriculum to match individual students needs and interests.
The Referral Process
Students MUST be registered at their home school to be eligible for U-Turn.
- Home School Team
- The Home School Team identifies a need for student to be referred to U-Turn.
- The home school will fax a completed U-Turn referral package (CCS, Short version Index Card, IEP– if applicable) to U-Turn. The U-Turn referral form is available on “P”:Secondary Schools/ACE/UTurn.
- Intake Interview Meeting & Tour
- Student, home school representative and U-Turn representative meet for pre-registration and tour at a date and time arranged by U-Turn staff.
- U-Turn Team
- All referrals are considered by the U-Turn team and students are contacted by the U-Turn staff and given a start date and credits to be offered. We need to interview all parties prior to acceptance in the program.
U-Turn Exit Process
U-Turn team in consultation with student agrees that student has achieved success and is ready to return to home school or the workplace. Teacher/Staff contacts appointed home school representative to advise that the student is ready to return and completes transition checklist.
The smaller class size has helped me overcome my school related anxiety. Smaller work loads at a time help me complete more assignments without getting stressed. The one course at a time helps me focus on achieving one thing before moving on, now I don’t have multiple half finished assignments. Without U-Turn I would drop out.
This is a very laid back, easy, and a good way to earn credits. I’m proud that I came everyday, on time to this program and earned some credits.
U-Turn has helped me get back to school, and has given me the opportunity to catch up on my schooling, and get the credits I need to have a successful future.
In my old school, I would hardly show up. I would do some of my work, but I found it hard to go back after I had missed so much. I kept falling behind and struggled to try and catch up. If I didn’t have U-Turn honestly, I would be a drop out with no chance of getting a job.