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Carleton partners with OCDSB for School Within A University project

December 5, 2023

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and Carleton’s Centre for Initiatives in Education have a new opportunity for high school students to access and experience university.

The new School Within A University is a pilot project for high school students who may not have considered university studies as a pathway. It is only the second of its kind in Ontario, and it is the first to target a specific group of students.

Students in grades 11 and 12 will take a university class for both high school and university credit. This creates a meaningful experience that encourages high school completion and lowers the threshold for postsecondary access. At the same time, the students and their high school teacher will have a dedicated space on campus as a home base for their exploration of campus life – from studying in the Library, to working out in Athletics, to grabbing a snack through Dining Services. And, of course, visiting Therapy Dogs.

“We’re excited to welcome these students to campus and hope to inspire and support them as they consider their post-secondary opportunities. Carleton University’s Centre for Initiatives in Education (CIE), which will host the program, was founded to expand access to education, particularly for underrepresented groups,” said Dr. Anne Bowker, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University.

Many barriers currently prevent youth from pursuing post-secondary education. The new initiative extends CIE’s core mission of providing access to education, complementing established programming such as the Enriched Support Program (ESP), and reaching out to individuals earlier in their learning journey.

“The CIE is committed to creating a learning environment where every student, regardless of background, has the chance to thrive. We see this partnership with the OCDSB as an example of our shared commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive future through education,” said Dr. Bowker.

Meagan Malboeuf works in Program and Learning Innovation at the OCDSB. She has been a key collaborator with the CIE on this initiative. She is eagerly anticipating January 2024, when the high school students come to campus.

“I am looking forward to seeing a group of students change their lives through School Within a University, by regaining hope in their education and thriving from an authentic path to their Ontario secondary school diploma and to post- secondary education. The OCDSB has been a proud supporter of Carleton’s ESP program for many years, and we are honoured to foster our relationship with Carleton through this phenomenal learning experience for some of our most vulnerable but capable students.”