What students are saying about PAS:
“I feel that I have a duty to express my extreme gratitude to PAS West for everything it has allowed me to achieve.
I graduated from high school through PAS West in 2007, and since then have graduated from Sir Sanford Fleming College with a certificate in General Arts & Sciences and Trent University with an honors degree in philosophy. I have recently received my Law School Admissions Test grade, which lead to many offers of admission along with scholarships at law schools throughout Canada and the United States. However, I have deferred select offers to September 2014 in order to teach English to elementary school students in Korea for a year.
All of my success thus far, and that to come in the future, is thanks to PAS West. I have no doubt that without PAS West I would be working at an unrewarding and low-paying job until I retired with more regrets than accomplishments. Thankfully PAS West was there to allow me to achieve my seemingly impossible dream of going to university and then law school. I will never forget how encouraging the PAS West teachers were of my dreams despite the unlikelihood of their instantiation.
When I arrived at PAS West I hated school. Now, I cannot praise the value of education highly enough. PAS West was the first step of my journey out of Plato’s proverbial cave towards the contemplation of the great philosophical problems of all time, and eventually a return from the academic world in order to serve those who were not as fortunate as myself. That journey has left me with an indelible appreciation of education as an end in itself; something that was unthinkable when I first arrived at PAS West.”
Daniel P., PAS West Graduate
"I am so grateful to have the ability to attend a program as exceptional as TEAM. Team has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. Because of this program, I am able to pursue my dreams while still being a mother to my son. If this program was not here, I would have had to drop out of school, my plans for post secondary would be out of reach. But now, not only do I have confidence in myself, my dreams are atainable. I feel good about my future. My ability to succeed has no limits."
- Celeste B.
"If it wasn't for TEAM I don't think I would be so close to finishing school. To be honest I don't think I would have gone to school at all. The support that this program has given me didn't only help me for school but in my life. It's helped me become a better person and mother. Being a single mother isn't easy, especially when you're trying to finish school and this program helped me so that I can bring him and still finish school. It showed me that I can do it and still succeed."
"After becoming a teen parent, everything around you screams pause. Overnight you move from a teenager to expecting mother and if that isn't traumatic enough, 40 weeks later, ready of not, a parent! Keeping up with a newborn is a tough job and many things must be put on hold. For many girls across the world this includes their education. Luckily for me, and many of my fellow classmates, the TEAM program made it possible to complete school while raising my children. Many course options to choose from and working at my own paace made it possible for me to complete assigments and keep my head above the workload. My teacher Julie Martin made it easy to settle in and work through my courses. For me, it was as as though Julie left her teacher title at the doors and became my mother, and in some ways a best friend! If that isn't enoutg support, every girl at the TEAM program was different but we were all moms working toward the same goals. Our social worker Donna is so informaed on resources we may need and you better believe she goes above and beyond for her TEAM girls! These are just a few of the people and memories I will be taking with me as I move on to college, all of whichpalyed a huge role in my success."
"I’ve struggled through school and life, but who hasn’t? This is MY story.
I was one of those kids that you look at and think to yourself “That kid will be going nowhere in life”. I was the kid that fought and got suspended daily, I was always kicked out of class, and sent home, because teachers didn’t understand me, and my ways of learning, when I was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, all the missing pieces showed up, but still didn’t fit together. I’ve been on every medication for ADHD on the market, some worked to a point, some made me worse, so in the summer of 2011 I took myself off of my meds, and that seemed to work.
Through the years, I’ve learned that I only learn in small classes, and at my own pace, Wait Did I mention I have ADHD, yeh, you try to keep me focused for more than 5 min, if it not anything to do with cars, as your reading this, I’m probably looking at car parts. Now back on topic, What brought me to P.A.S? Well I fell into this cycle of skipping class, and that would make me fall behind, so then I said to myself well what’s the worst that could happen if I skip one more day, I’m behind anyways? I’ll tell you, you get so far behind, that before you know it, its
200+ skipped classes.
At P.A.S I had the chance of learning at my own pace, if I skipped a day, I wouldn’t fall behind. I also CAN’T learn off a chalkboard, I have trouble taking the words off the board and putting them on my paper. At P.A.S there was help and support, unlike mainstream schools.
Since I’ve attended P.A.S, I have become a better person, I truly don’t understand how, but I can feel it. Maybe I’m just prouder of myself, because I have proved the people that didn’t believe in me wrong, I’ve shown them and the world that I am successful. But what is success? Some think it’s when you’re rich and famous, with the big house, the expensive cars, that may be success to you, but to me, success is having people that love you for you, that are happy you tried, that you’ve beaten your fears of failure. Sure you can be rich and famous, but if you have no friends and family that love you for you, and not the money, then really, how successful are you?
Doing the mPlar course, I have not necessarily learned anything new, but I have enhanced things about myself. I have enhanced how I think, I listen, and how I present and carry myself.
After I finish the mPlar course, I plan to attend Centennial for Automotive. Then I will continue my journey to owning and operating my own shop, complete with roadside assistance. My big dream is to start a chain. It’s okay to have dreams, but it’s better to make it a reality.
I’m off to make my dreams reality,
Thank you for reading,"
“After missing countless days due to health reasons, my principal at Port Credit Secondary School told my parents that I had the choice to attend Peel Alternative School South. I heard the common misjudgement of PASS, I was worried. Peel Alternative School has always been known as the school for delinquents, or youth criminals. I knew that there was nothing I could do to improve my attendance, so PASS was my only option, I decided to attend.
On the morning of my first class, I stood outside of the school; looking at the students as they went in. I called my mom; telling her that I didn’t belong here because I didn’t have crazy hair colours, body piercings or tattoos. She told me everything would be fine; and I later found out that it was. I started talking to one of the girls outside; I realized that she was one of my classmates that went to my elementary school years ago.
As I met more of the students, I realized that they were no different from me. This school has always been judged by the appearance of the students. This school is an alternative school; students come here for many reasons, not just because they did something that got them sent here.
After meeting my teachers and classmates, I was thrilled to be at Peel Alternative School South! I feel that I fit in here, and I have many people here to support me. The teachers here have a level of compassion much higher than those of the “main-stream” schools. I believe it takes a special kind of person to be at this school, as a staff member or student. This school has a level of maturity and emotional capacity far beyond any school community that I have experienced. Most of the students that attend PASS have been through hardship, or are currently in a very difficult stage of life, they seem to have a better understanding of life.
Peel Alternative School South does not only teach school subjects, but it teaches life lessons. I believe that your mindset changes when you attend this school. The environment is much more enjoyable, the staff encourage attendance and education in a way that is much less stressful than previous techniques I’ve seen at other schools.
The biggest life lesson that I have learned from attending Peel Alternative School South is not to judge a book by its cover. I judged the school based on the rumours I heard and the appearances of the students that attended. After actually putting myself in this environment, I realized how wrong I was to build an opinion solely on appearance and rumours. “
Jen Miller, PAS South
“Though I have many stories to tell, my true story begins on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, exactly eighteen years after my birth. I was fast asleep after having a huge party for my birthday. That same night, I had a nightmare of something horrible happening to someone I care for more than anybody else. It was almost like it was whispering in my ear, "It is all up to you now." And just as I was coming to the conclusion of my bad dream, my cat (at the time) slashed my toe, thereby waking me up immediately. After that, I fell back to bed. A few hours later, I could celebrate my eighteenth birthday. It seemed like a happy day with such a beautiful blue sky and the air feeling more pleasant than usual in the month of March, but I was in a different state of mind, unlike usually on my birthdays. I had the nightmare of the night before stuck within my head. So, after I blew out the candles on my cake, me and my older sister went for a steak dinner at her work. Before the food came, and all day especially, I felt a strange feeling of conflict … the kind of conflict which also caused me to reflect on the events of my entire childhood. Feeling a true sense of self-guilt and failure, I decided I'd be a better person, one way or another. And though I was practically uneducated given how I was a problem child with Asperger's Syndrome, I'd like to believe I had intelligence above the average man.
About three weeks later, I got a phone call from none other than one of my PAS West teachers named Rob Pierson. And it was through that call he told me, "Show up here next Tuesday." Hoping to change my life for the better, I did exactly that. On my way back to PAS West, I knew that day, April 12, 2011, was going to decide my future, not me (yet). Because of all the days I missed school, I had a scary feeling PAS West would toss me out like an old, single shoe. I showed up at Rob's classroom door, hesitant that he would go into grizzly bear mode and roar in my face for missing months of education. But instead, he gave me a friendly smile and allowed me to return to PAS West so I could find my purpose in life. As I took a long walk home from school that same day, it seemed like the voice who spoke to me in that nightmare on my 18th birthday was saying to me, "Maybe you do have what it takes to protect your loved one." All in all, I knew what I had to do from that day on: Spark the world in ways no other man has. And, to do that, I had to spark my own self by finding the courage to never back down, gathering the wisdom that would guide me to great things, and having the power to never stay down defeated. As of the day of Tuesday, April 12, 2011, my story was finally just being written. And not too long after, I got the English credit from Rob and a Science credit from Shawna Geer, another teacher here at PAS West. It was through finally getting the Science credit that I fully realized I could spark the world as an electrician if was to graduate through College after High School.”
H.R., PAS West student
“I can learn at my best ability and I have all the help I need whenever I want. Small class room and small amount of students makes it easier to learn.”
“I like that I can keep my job, and work independently on my work. I feel extremely successful that way. And it’s really great that my teacher is concerned about my work.”
“I like that I can learn at my own pace, and take my time on things i have to. I do not have to take the pace of everyone around me. I can attend tutorial on days I do not have school to make up missed time.”
"Peel Alternative School West - this is the name of my school - my wonderful school! As soon as you walk in you get a great big good morning from our lovely secretaries at the front. It kind of looks like they're trapped behind the huge front desk, but when you see their smiles you realize they LOVE what they do. Bebind them is the principal's office. You rarely see her because she has a lot of work to do being the principal.
"This is the lovely school that I attend: they work miracles! When I came here I HATED school and now I plan on going to college and school isn't so bad anymore."
Comments from parents:
" I am writing this letter in appreciation of the outstanding efforts and genuine caring of Mrs. Duma, the guidance department head at Peel Alternative School South.
I am the father of an 18-year-old student, who has struggled in traditional scholastic environments since grade 8. He was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes at the age of 13, and has limited success in maintaining his health since the time of his diagnosis. His scholastic experience and his quality of life, have suffered at times in part because of his chronic condition, which requires multiple daily injections to keep him healthy. He also has been in the care of a therapist due to ongoing anxiety and depression issues, which have further compounded the challenges he faces as a student. Our son comes from a stable family, and has been well cared for. Despite our efforts, he has underachieved academically, and has often resigned himself to being one of those people who are, in his words, “just no good at school”. His career ambition, which was to be in the military, will never be realized, due to his medical condition. As a result, he has struggled with goal setting and motivation.
Mrs. Duma was a godsend for a kid who was falling through the cracks. That’s the best way I can put it. He was struggling to achieve just one grade 10 credit, and he was about to give up, until Mrs. Duma offered a program that would help him make the difficult hurdle and finally complete the grade 10 curriculum. As a result, he showed a little renewed hope, and will begin grade 11 courses next September, after fulfilling the requirements of the MPLAR program. He is half way to graduation, a position he had great difficulty believing he could ever find himself in. Mrs. Duma’s positive and encouraging demeanour was a breath of fresh air for a kid who has often felt judged unfavourably by those in authority. In his words, “they gave me opportunity, and this is the first time I felt that”. He’s very pleased, and he’s ready to take the next step. His mother and I are ecstatic.
As a parent, I am grateful that there are still resources available to struggling young people in need of a leg up, in order to become future contributors to the community. PAS has given this young man a reason for hope. He’s not a perfect student, but he’s well worth investing in, as are so many of our young people that are frequently overlooked in a school system that often seems more concerned with its “success ratio” than the actual success of its students. PAS, and particularly Mrs. Duma, have had a tangible and tremendous impact on his opportunity to succeed. His attitude toward education has become more positive as a result. In fact, this is the first education milestone she has achieved since public school …and that’s huge for us.
I do hope you recognize Mrs. Duma for being the important asset she is to our education system, for those at greater risk of failure.
Programs like PAS are absolutely critical for young people who, for a host of reasons, can’t succeed in traditional school environments. I do hope that such programs will be adequately maintained in order to assure children have a chance to make the transition to productive adulthood upon graduation.
"I am really happy that the PAS South has been there for my son during his period where he did not see the importance of getting an education."
"PAS has been a wonderful alternative for my child's education. The smaller class setting and the emphasis to meet the individual learning needs has helped him succeed and develop academically. Staff have been approachable and supportive in all areas of learning."
What the Community has to say about Peel Alternative School
"My husband and I attended the Open House at PAS West last Wednesday. We were delighted with the reception that we received. Our daughter, Karen Goodeve, is one of the teachers at that site and she was kind enough to invite us.
We were thoroughly impressed during our visit. We had the opportunity to meet some students and some teachers. The physical layout of the school was so refreshing and very positive. Everywhere we looked there were wonderful messages and thoughtful sayings for and by the students.
We were very impressed with the students’ behaviour. They were very polite and seemed very interested in the school activities. Their art work was fantastic. It is quite obvious that there is definitely a wonderful rapport between the students and teachers. We feel that this school has certainly given a very necessary chance to students to succeed and to be very happy with their choices in life.
Thank you to all the staff involved in this program. It is a very worthy challenge.
Earl and Michaele Goodeve"
Feedback from PAS teachers:
"I enjoy the opportunity to work with students on a one-on-one basis, getting them engaged in the material and supporting their socio-emotional development."
"Working with our students is very rewarding. I feel that I am learning new things every day. The current staff is supportive of one another. The staff demonstrate flexibility and caring towards the students. Seeing this kind of caring in action makes me feel very good about the work we are doing. Although we are a small staff, we work hard to bridge our differences."
"Working to meet the needs of students who have struggled in other school settings, I see the positive effects of our school on student success, not just in terms of credits completed/earned but in terms of socio-emotional growth and increased self-awareness and self-esteem."