Black Gold School Division


  • Advocating for Dual Credit & Off Campus programs

    Posted on    Posted in BGSD, Black Gold School Division, Board, Featured, General, Trustee Column

    Alberta is facing a shortage of skilled trades people, and in response, the Black Gold School Division continues to focus on connecting our high school students with opportunities in support of diverse career pathways.

    Our Dual Credit program allows students to earn college/university credits from a postsecondary institution and high school credits from their school by completing college-level coursework all while attending High School. Additionally, students can earn hours and high school credits by enrolling in the Registered Apprenticeship (RAP) courses.

    The program offers students with numerous benefits, including cost savings, flexibility, career exploration, and the development of new skills.

    “Students report that after taking dual credit courses, they developed the confidence to pursue full time postsecondary when they graduate,” said Curriculum Manager Terri Reid. “This allows them to pursue more meaningful and rewarding career opportunities.”

    The Off-Campus Education courses offered at the Black Gold Outreach School include Agriculture and Workplace Safety, Work Experience, the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), the Green Certificate Program, and their prerequisites.

    “The purpose of the Off-Campus program is to familiarize students with the world of work,” said Reid. “Real-life resumes and interviews can help them land a quality job, while customized skill and safety training gives them opportunities to excel at their worksites.”

    Black Gold Schools received  funding approval for an addition to Calmar Secondary School to house a new collegiate school, which will provide students with opportunities to complete their first period apprenticeship training and related work/registered apprenticeship program placements in addition to their high school graduation. Construction on the Calmar Secondary Collegiate School is expected to begin in Spring 2024.

    As per the Education Act, school divisions are required to pay the tuition for dual credit courses, which results in the costs of many dual credit programs, including some first period apprenticeship training for trades, exceeding the per-pupil funding received for individual students.

    “Dual credit courses often require lower pupil-to-teacher ratios in order to provide supervision and hands-on student support,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Romanchuk. “In order to achieve those ratios, school divisions are then required to be more economically stringent in other areas and increase pupil-to-teacher ratios in other classes to balance the books.”

    After more than seven years of dual credit implementation – with ample evidence of benefits – and a full two years after the Alberta Education Dual Credit Framework commitment, school divisions are waiting to see a consistent, sustainable funding structure. “We continue to deal with unpredictable start-up or pilot funding, which limits our ability to expand dual credit opportunities,” said Romanchuk.

    “We are working with other school boards through the Alberta School Board Association to address concerns around dual credit and career education,” said Board Chair Esther Eckert. “Further, on September 20th we requested MLA assistance in advocating for a sufficient, sustainable and equitable funding structure for dual credit programming to support student pathways to post-secondary education and workplace training.” 

    The Division’s Dual Credit program is based on partnerships with Lakeland College, Olds College, Portage College, Northern Lakes College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Alberta Education. For more information, please visit  

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