Inner City High School's focus on supporting youth education and youth health and wellness is a perfect complement to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation's (EOCF) mandate. In December 2010, the EOCF purchased the former Native Friendship Centre on 101 Street to serve as Inner City High School's new home. This new facility accommodates 150 students marking a 125 per cent increase from the previous school building's capacity. Accredited by Alberta Learning, Inner City High School focuses on offering youth both an academic and arts-based alternative to a high school diploma.
This alternative high school supports Edmonton's inner-city youth with a stable and consistent path that goes beyond the classroom. Youth are given guidance regarding accommodation, counselling, nutrition and medical care. Its strong sense of community has created a safe haven offering many at-risk youth a solution and promising future. Through this initiative, the EOCF will help leave a lasting legacy for the City of Edmonton and its downtown core.
Helping youth achieve their full potential both academically and personally is a fundamental goal of Inner City High School and in some cases, the work will be nothing short of lifesaving.
"Without taking care of the students' lives, as a whole, we have no hope of giving them an education," said Dr. Joe Cloutier, Director, Inner City High School. "We are building bonds of trust by saying 'You don't have to worry about this anymore'."
Since relocating to the new premises in January 2011, registration is up by 15 per cent and Inner City High is close to maximum capacity. Actual attendance has also improved, increasing 15 per cent from last year. Its total youth enrollment in 2015 was 285 with 144 of those youth concentrated in academic programming. This academic program's enrollment has grown by 10 per cent.
Students experience a top-quality learning environment in the new facility with amenities including: new counseling rooms, a brand new kitchen facility, science lab, cosmetology classroom, Elder's room and four soundproof recording studios for students to explore their art and talent. These resources are instrumental in helping the students feel motivated and passionate in both academic and non-academic activities.
In June 2015, Inner City High School celebrated the success of 10 graduates with three receiving provisional acceptances to the University of Alberta and another's acceptance into the design program at Grant MacEwan University and a couple students exploring opportunities at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). A testament to Inner City High School's care-focused mandate and the students' hard work, this initiative has the potential to transform lives by helping youth fulfill their personal aspirations.