Science Co-Op 11 is a program offered at Riverside Secondary, which was formally taught by Ms. Deborah Mackenzie Pierce and now is currently taught by Ms. Melissa Jackson.

Science Co-Op 11 is a program where students work as a cohort, meaning that the same students all semester long focusing on math and sciences curriculum for the first part, which includes Chemistry 11, Physics 11, Pre Calc 11, and for the second part are placed in a work experience opportunity. Students work at a slightly accelerated pace so that they are finished their classes at Christmas break. This schedule then gives them the chance to fully immerse in their work experience that starts after the break.

With this being Jackson’s first year teaching work experience after Pierce retired she had some initial nerves about taking on the role. “I feel like it was such big shoes to fill as far as Ms. Mackenzie Pierce is just a brilliant woman and I know she really loved this program. So when she retired I felt needed to maintain the program to the level she had done for so many years; it was kind of daunting at first,” said Jackson. Jackson has found that she “absolutely adores” teaching work experience and working with the students.

Science Co-Op 11 isn’t just the opportunity to build amazing relationships within a cohort class environment, it’s also an opportunity to improve in Math and Science as well as learn pre-employment skills. Students get the opportunity to have real-life experiences and see what it is like to work in a place you might want to pursue in the future, and, adversely, discover that maybe the career wasn’t what you thought.

A few placements that stand out this semester would be an Emergency Vet Clinic where the student works after the regular hours. The student starts work at 6 pm and ends work at 8; this placement challenges the student to see if he is capable of working those hours and how he feels about doing surgeries and working with sick animals. There is a student placed with a professor from SFU who teaches Criminology. Here the student gets to sit in on lectures, labs, that second, third, and fourth-year university students are taking. Overall, it gives the student a look at what grad studies involve. And lastly, a student is taking work experience with an electrician and is getting some hands-on experience, which is very valuable if the student chooses to pursue this career.

Co-Op is an amazing program at Riverside Secondary with practical opportunities to learn in real-world situations. It gives students a chance to meet new people, make contacts with people at work placements for future possibilities, and a chance to see the world from a different perspective than a high school student.