Technology Advantage Program Pilot - FAQ for Parents
What is the Technology Advantage Program?
The Technology Advantage Program (TAP) is a pilot program introduced in seven schools in 2019-2020.
TAP is a STEAM-based program designed to spark interest in a variety of technology jobs and fields. A STEAM-based program brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
The intent of the pilot program is to help students develop workplace skills, provide them with mentorship opportunities with people who work in the technology sector, and experience internships and co-op placements over the course of the program.
The pilot program is new and unique. It builds on an academic foundation and includes experiential learning and career exploration in Grade 9. Students will graduate with their high school diploma, as well as earn a diploma at no cost to the student from the Nova Scotia Community College. The program can run up to six years. Students will be ready to step into a job, or if they choose to, continue their learning.
When does it start? How long is it?
The pilot program started in September 2019. The program can run up to six years.
What is the goal of the Technology Advantage Program?
The Technology Advantage Program is about students exploring their potential and options for their future. Any student who has an interest in technology and feels they may like to explore a career in the technology sector is encouraged to apply.
Which high schools are involved in the pilot?
There are three high schools involved in the pilot:
- Cole Harbour District High School
- J.L. Ilsley High School
- Yarmouth Memorial Consolidated High School
What does it cost?
The program is free. There is no cost to families. This includes two years of tuition at the Nova Scotia Community College.
What will students be doing as part of the program?
The Technology Advantage Program is designed to support student learning in a technology and career focused manner.
Students will be in a program cohort. As part of the program, students will have community-based learning opportunities throughout the years; these include co-op courses, internships and field trips that will help them explore potential careers in technology.
Over the course of the program, students will meet and benefit from interactions with individuals working in the technology sector.
What will high school look like for students in the Technology Advantage Program?
Like other high school students, they will continue to take courses required to receive a Nova Scotia high school diploma. However, courses will be delivered using a flexible and integrated approach. They will be cohorted in a number of courses in Grade 10 as they work towards achieving high school credits through an IT focus, preparing them for post-secondary and the workforce.
What is the selection process for students who want to continue the program into Grade 10?
The selection process for Grade 10 will take place in April and May 2020. The selection process will involve students, families and their teachers. Students and families will have an opportunity to attend information sessions and interested students will complete an Expression of Interest and take part in an interview process.
What happens if you decide to leave the program before it is over?
We understand that making a six-year commitment is a big deal.
There is a lot to think about and a lot can change over that time. There is no penalty if a student leaves the program. They will still receive their high school diploma.
We want students and their families to make the decision that is right for them.
What kind of jobs will this program prepare you for?
A graduate from this program could be ready to work in one of many technology fields from cyber security to software design and development; they may pursue a career in the growing field of artificial intelligence, oceans technologies, or they may take what they have learned and become an entrepreneur. Some students may decide to further their studies after graduation by attending university or college.
The program is about supporting students to explore their potential and interests, that will lead to a job in the technology sector or to assist students in pursuing a passion.
Where will students go to school and who will be teaching them?
Students will attend the high school in their community and will be taught by teachers at that school. Public school teachers will teach the public school program components of Grades 10 to 12 requirements for graduation. NSCC instructors will deliver college-level courses for the college diploma components of the program.
Will the program be expanded?
The Technology Advantage Program was introduced as a pilot in 2019. As with all pilots, the program must be evaluated before any decisions are made about future cohorts. This has always been the intention. We have partnered with St. Francis Xavier University to evaluate Year 1 of the program.
My child was not part of the grade 9 cohort when the pilot was launched. They are now in grade 10. Can they still participate?
Students who started the program in grade 9 will have an opportunity to apply to continue on in the program in grade 10 and for the remaining years of the program. Seats will only be available to other students if space is available after the selection process.