Owen Sound District Secondary School (OSDSS) hostsTake Your MPP to School Day

The diverse trades related programming in the tech wing at Owen Sound District Secondary School (OSDSS) was on full display on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 as some special guests dropped by for a tour.

(L-R): MPP Rick Byers, OSDSS teachers Jeff Williton and Gregg Mackay, and BWDSB Chair Jane Thomson in Tech Design class

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers was invited to join Bluewater District School Board Chair Jane Thomson for “Take Your MPP to School Day,” which included an overview of robust Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) and tech offerings at OSDSS. Secondary Teacher/SHSM Lead – Arts and Culture Jeff Williton was on hand to offer a guided walk through to MPP Byers and Chair Thomson, accompanied by Principal Erin Paylor and BWDSB Superintendent of Education Lauren Penner Lipsett.

(L-R): OSDSS teacher Mark Klunder, MPP Rick Byers, and BWDSB Chair Jane Thomson in Manufacturing class

The tour spanned visits to Tech Design, Manufacturing, Integrated Tech, Transportation, Construction, and Hairstyling classes, with teachers providing background and insight into course requirements, materials, and equipment, and important connections to career pathways. Students were also asked to share their personal experiences in the different program areas.

MPP Byers was appreciative to learn a great deal about the school’s comprehensive SHSM programs available in various sectors, including the components that are part and parcel of enrolment:

1. A bundle of 8 to 10 credits for Grade 11 and 12 students that include:

· 4 major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills
· 2 to 4 other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in which some expectations are met through learning activities contextualized to the sector
· 2 cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, and practice sector-specific knowledge and skills

2. 6-7 sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses (e.g., Standard First Aid/CPR, WHMIS, Working at Heights, and more)

3. Experiential learning activities within the sector (e.g., tours, field trips, and work with community partners)

4. Reach-ahead experiences connected with the student’s chosen post-secondary pathway (e.g., investigate various post-secondary education and career opportunities)

5. ICE training (Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship) or a mathematical literacy experience

Through the various programs at OSDSS, students have benefited this year from numerous experiential learning opportunities, such as trips to Bruce Power, Kuhl Machine Shop, Maclean Engineering, Georgian College, Toromont CAT, and the Canadian International AutoShow, among others. Students have also competed at regional and provincial skills competitions, and participated in a Tools in the Trades Bootcamp, financial literacy workshop, mentorship cardboard car project with Grade 8 students, and MedAhead Healthcare Camp.

“Take Your MPP to School Day” is an initiative of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) as part of ongoing and increased government relations advocacy, to raise awareness among MPPs of the role of trustees and build relationships. It is also an opportunity to showcase students, staff, and programs happening in schools and the realities of education in local communities. School boards are encouraged to coordinate visits during the May constituency week for MPPs following Victoria Day, and to promote on social media using the hashtag, #MPPSchoolDay.