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Co-Operative Education

WHAT IS CO-OP?
Whether students are bound for university, college, an apprenticeship or the workplace, Co-op gives them the opportunity to develop transferable skills, improve upon work habits and cultivate professional connections required for success. It helps students identify their strengths and interests and provides them with experience and knowledge that can assist with the transition from high school to the workplace or post-secondary education and guide them through the career planning process.

Co-op is a unique program which involves integrating academic study with practical experience in business and industry. Programming is based on a partnership between the school and business/agency and involves the commitment and participation of students, teachers, parents, and the workplace.



HOW DOES CO-OP WORK?
Co-op is a four-credit program that is taught in conjunction with Designing Your Future (GWL 3O). The course takes place in both the classroom and the workplace, whether that be an office setting, a bakery, on the stage or on the road, and it is made up of three parts:

Pre-placement – the focus is preparing students for their placement.
• in school during the first two-three weeks of the semester
• topics of study include

o Job Preparation – self-assessments, resume and cover letter writing, job applications, interview skills, job readiness skills (communication skills, positive attitude, flexibility and adaptability, initiative, responsibility)
o Health and Safety in the Workplace – CPR/first aid, hazards in the workplace and personal protective equipment, Occupational Health and Safety Act, WHMIS, procedures for reporting accidents and unsafe practices
o Rights and Responsibilities – school and placement expectations, specific health and safety considerations, confidentiality and the right to privacy, wok ethics, Employment Standards Act and the Human Rights Act

• placements are assessed by the co-op teacher and students take part in placement interviews

Integration Classes –the focus is on the labour market and relevant career-related issues.
• in school one day a week
• topics of study include

o Reflective learning
o Job market trends and the nature of the workplace
o Post-secondary research
o Financial literacy


Placement
– focus is on gaining work experience and developing skills and a good work ethic.
• students are at their respective places of work Tuesday through Friday
• students work towards individual learning goals
• Co-op Teacher visits regularly to assess learning through observation and discussion and to provide feedback to the student

NOTE: In order to earn credits students must fulfill course expectations and completing assigned tasks both in and out of the classroom, not simply by accumulating a specific number of hours in the workplace.

HOW DOES CO-OP BENEFIT THE STUDENT?

Co-op provides students with the opportunity to:
• gain valuable work experience
• exploring tentative career choices
• increase awareness of workplace demands and needs
• develop self-knowledge (interests, strengths, goals), maturity and self-confidence
• develop knowledge, skills and attitudes
• apply classroom theory to workplace experience
• earn credits for secondary diploma – two credits can be counted towards compulsory credits
• build a network for future employment
• make a smoother school-to-work transition
• enhances acceptance possibilities to post-secondary or training programs
• participate in special programs linked to the trades including OYAP, Accelerated OYAP, and the Specialized Construction Trades Exploration Program
• participate in the Dual Credit Program in association with local colleges*

HOW TO APPLY FOR CO-OP?
1. Include COOP on your course selection sheet. If you failed to select Co-op prior to the course selection deadline see your Guidance Counsellor.
2. Complete the Co-op Application.
http://tdsbweb/webdocuments/SchoolServices/Experiential/docs/StudentAppl2008.pdf 
3. Submit your completed application with a copy of your Course Credit Counseling Summary (obtained from Guidance) and a copy of your Resume to the Co-op Department.
4. Students will be notified, by the Co-op Teacher, regarding an interview.

Please Note: The TDSB offers Central Programs and Specialty Programs.
These programs require students to apply months in advance of their actual Co-op start date.
These programs include:
• Army Reserves
• Specialized Construction Trades Exploration
• Banking and Finance with BMO
• Health Care
• Toronto Police Services

VULNERABLE SECTOR SCREENING
As an added detail, some Co-op placements require the completion of a Vulnerable Sector Screening Report. See your Co-op teacher with any questions as to whether your placement plan requires this added paperwork.

This form applies to any student 18 years of age or older who would like to complete a co-op placement with children, seniors or people with disabilities. Without the completion of this form students will NOT be allowed to start placement. Please read and follow all the instructions provided on the form. NOTE: It may take up to 6 weeks to process your application.

The form MUST:
a) be printed on legal sized paper,
b) be accompanied by the proper payment method and amount, and
c) be completed in full or it will not be processed.

*DUAL CREDIT
Dual Credit is a relatively new program that provides high school students exposure to the college experience. Dual Credit students are enrolled in college and take a college level course. Upon successful completion of this course students earn not only a high school credit but a college credit as well.

Students at Don Mills Collegiate have the option of taking courses from Seneca College, Centennial College, George Brown College and Humber College. Courses offered vary from semester to semester. In September 2015, students are taking part in a psychology course called Group Dynamics offered through Seneca College, Introduction to Marketing (Seneca College) and Introduction to Sewing and Drafting (George Brown College). Other options may include, but is not limited to, web design, criminal law, art, and computers.

There is no cost to students for enrolling in Dual Credits. Dual Credit students do however get to enjoy many of the facilities that the college may have to offer.

ADDITIONAL FORMS:
Students Working Under the Supervision of a Teacher
http://tdsbweb/webdocuments/SchoolServices/Experiential/docs/StdTracking2010.pdf

WEA
http://tdsbweb/webdocuments/SchoolServices/Experiential/docs/WEA%20Form.pdf

Informed Consent
http://tdsbweb/webdocuments/SchoolServices/Experiential/docs/InformedConsent07.pdf

Workplace Accomodations
http://tdsbweb/webdocuments/SchoolServices/Experiential/docs/WorkplaceAcc2010.pdf

For more information, please contact Natalie Veneziale.
This is the current calendar for Co-op Education for 2015-2016, to get an idea of how the program runs.

"Co-op education is an essential part of the Experiential Learning component that students need for success. Students get to try on a career, get shown a real life workplace and learn about what kind of work they excel at."


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