Thomas Merton Elementary CHANGE Program 


St.Benedict Catholic School

80 McLaughlin Avenue
Milton, Ontario, L9T 8N2
289-851-9353

Start/End Time: 9:20 – 2:50

Vision of Thomas Merton

H.C.D.S.B. Alternative Education Programs are committed to working co-operatively with families, kids, and the greater community to provide opportunities for educational and personal growth of youth. We believe that all students are inherently good and want to learn. Our program creates a Faith Centered environment which demonstrates compassion, care, and love for our students.

  • The focus is to work primarily with grade 7 & 8 students.
  • The home school has exhausted all possible avenues to engage students with the curriculum.
  • Students are demonstrating a difficulty coping in their home school, in spite of supports provided by: classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, Child and Youth Worker, and Social Workers.
  • We are a "school within a school". We are part the Thomas Merton Family of Schools but are located and run out of St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School, Milton.
  • Differentiated Instruction and Assessment strategies are part of the culture of the classroom environment.
  • Our program offers students many types of ways to learn (visually, hands-on learning, orally, small group work, through the use of technology, developing life skills etc.) while trying to appreciate individual student interest and need.
  • Promote healthy living (both physically and mentally) within our classroom.
  • Provide non-academic support with access to a Social Worker and a Child and Youth Counsellor.
  • Involvement in both the school community and the greater community.
  • Our program believes in a “wrap around” approach to supporting student needs. School staff, family, and community partners are invited to be part of the support team

Student Responsibilities

  • Attend school regularly and arrive ready to work
  • Cell phones can be used at recess or lunch. You can use your phone to listen to music as long as it does not interrupt your work.
  • To use appropriate language in class.
  • Show respect for yourself and others.
  • Wear appropriate clothing (See Attached)
  • To do your best to participate in all non-academic groups and activities.
  • Respect the St. Benedict School environment

Important Notes:

  1. Students are taxied to and from school daily.
  2. Start time 9:30 am.
  3. End time 2:50 pm.
  4. Recess and lunch will be scheduled at alternate times from the St.Benedict regular school schedule.
  5. Fridays are a half-day. Students will be picked up at 11:30 am by taxi and returned home.
  6. Large focus on non-academic supports.
  7. Frequent trips/walks/activities in the community are built in as part of the program.
  8. There will be little to no homework component to the CHANGE Elementary Program.
  9. An agenda will be used as a communication tool and as an important life skill.
  10. A transition plan will be created with the student’s home elementary school or secondary school when they exit the program.

Things to Consider:

  • Permission to take photographs for the purpose of achieving various curriculum goals
  • Comfort level with animals; our programs invite a Therapy Dog to our classroom on a weekly basis.
  • Food allergies
  • Medical concerns

Non Academic Supports

An example of some of the Non-Academic support offered to students in the Elementary Change Program include:

  • Individual Counselling
  • Referrals to outside community supports
  • Life Skills Programming
  • Dog Therapy
  • Small Group
  • Community Outings
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Friends for Life Training

Dress Code

Why we have a dress code?

We hope that by promoting a dress code, it reflects our desire for students to be neat, clean, and comfortable while attending school.

An example of appropriate clothing for school includes;

  • Tops must meet bottoms
  • Shorts or skirt hems to extend to the fingertips
  • No underwear or bra straps showing
  • No clothing with insulting, vulgar, or inappropriate sayings or pictures

In the event a student wears clothing which may be deemed inappropriate by staff, parents will be called and reminded of the dress code. If clothing issues persist, additional steps will be taken to ensure the dress code is followed.

HCDSB