Alternative Learning Programs for Students

The Thomas Merton Centre for Continuing Education offers four alternative programs for secondary school students under the age of 18, who are struggling with their academic and non-academic needs at their home school. These programs include:​​​​​​

Thomas Merton Alternative Program Brochure​​


 CHANGE Program


The focus of the Change program is for Grades 5-10 students who are demonstrating difficulty with coping in their home school, in spite of supports provided by Teachers, Student Services, the Student Success Teacher, Child & Youth Counsellor and/or Social Worker. Students are provided with an alternative approach at the Thomas Merton Centre for Continuing Education.

  • Parents and students must agree to enroll in this alternative program
  • Transportation is provided



The Transformation program is an extension of the Change program, offered to Grades 11 and 12 students. In order for a student to enroll, he/she will:

  • Demonstrate an expressed desire to attend
  • Provide their own transportation

Individuals who have been approved by the Supervised Alternative Learning Committee will also be considered. Students may return to their home school for graduation, or they may graduate from the Thomas Merton Transformations program.




This voluntary program is geared towards students who have been expelled. The focus of this program is on academic and non-academic components. In many cases students, will return to their home school with a detailed re-entry plan, after the expulsion has been served. This will involve conferences with administrators, Student Services, Social Workers, and/or Child & Youth Counsellors to develop a re-entry plan.

  • Students must provide their own transportation

 New Hope


This voluntary program supports students who have been suspended as follows:

  • 6 – 10 days; academic based with some discussion of non-academic issues
  • 11 – 20 days; academic and non-academic concerns are addressed

The goal of the New Hope program is to support the classroom teacher with academic instruction as the student returns to the home school, after the suspension has been completed. Classroom teachers play a vital role in the process, as they remain involved with providing and evaluating work.

  • Students must provide their own transportation

These programs share the academic/non-academic responsibility of the student with the home school. Program teachers deliver curriculum for the students’ academic needs using various strategies, such as Differentiated Instruction, Universal Design, small group collaboration, and one to one direct instruction. Credit deficits and maintaining grade appropriate course loads are supported by our program teachers.

The non-academic component is led by our school-based Social Worker and Child & Youth Counsellor. Their role includes addressing the non-academic social and emotional needs that are affecting a student's academic performance and daily self-management skills.

For all programs a re-entry plan is developed in conjunction with the home school to assist in the transition back to school or a new school.

Both our academic and non- academic initiatives derive themes from our Focus on Faith themes. These include but are not limited to:

  • Community & the Common Good
  • Human Dignity
  • Human Rights & Responsibilities

Admission to Program

  • referral from home school principal and/or vice-principal
  • student/parent program commitment
  • admission intake meeting
  • development of student success plan (academic and non-academic)

Program Staff

  • qualified teacher(s)
  • social worker
  • child and youth counselor
  • supervising vice principal

Program Locations

Thomas Merton Centre for Continuing Education
171 Speers Road, Unit 1, Oakville, ON, L6K 3W8
905-849-7555, extension 243

Bishop P.F. Reding Catholic Secondary School
Offering the Change and Transformations Programs
1120 Main St. East, Milton ON, L9T 6H7