Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) is an independent, Catholic middle school located in Regina, Saskatchewan that serves students whose chances of success have been compromised by social or economic factors affecting them and their families. MTMS aims to break the cycle of poverty among its target families through the application of a unique educational model. MTMS delivers the Government of Saskatchewan curriculum, permeated by the Catholic faith and enriched by extended school time, small class and school size, transitional supports and by an innovative middle years program.
Disparity in education and employment outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan remains one of the province’s largest challenges. The employment disparity is driven by difference in education outcomes, specifically graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. In 2014, only 40.3% of Aboriginal students graduated on-time (within three years of entering grade 10), compared to 83.4% of non-Aboriginal students. Given two more years to complete high school, only 54.2% of Aboriginal students achieve grade 12. While MTMS is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, currently 82% of students are Aboriginal.
MTMS is unique among schools in providing cura personalis or care for the whole person. The full-time, onsite social worker helps achieve a high level of care by ensuring disruption of student learning is minimized. Students come from complex, disadvantaged families and have several barriers to overcome. Extensive supports provided by the school include: transportation to and from school, two meals and two snacks a day, eyeglasses, dental care, professional counselling and supports, uniforms, enrichment programs and a summer program.
Something that sets MTMS apart from other schools is its Graduate Support Program. Successful transition into high school is critical to student success. The Graduate Support Program ensures students are attending high school and helps them problem solve around financial, social and emerging educational issues. The time at MTMS sets the foundation, instills positive habits, and provides necessary supports to ensure overall well-being and success. The Graduate Support Program then ensures that students transition successfully into high school, graduate, and pursue post-secondary education.
The Mentorship Program is also critical to the success of students who rely heavily on relationships and networks to find success. In grade 7, all students are matched with mentors who serve as a second wave of trusted, caring adults in their lives. The mentors provide valuable one on one support and guidance as well as the start of a network for the students. The program also helps students build trust, confidence and social capital as they grow and learn to ask for help when needed.
Currently MTMS has 54 students and supports 34 students in high school. Student attendance is a critical school benchmark and a key focus for MTMS. From 2014-15, MTMS achieved an overall attendance rate of 95% for students and an overall attendance rate of 92% for its students in high school. Six members of our first grade 9 class made the honour roll at their respective high schools. All graduates are still in school and well on their way to becoming “men and women for others.”
Mother Teresa Middle School relies on the generous support of private donors and grants to make up 70% of its annual operating budget. The cost to educate one student at MTMS is $25,000 per year but it is a great investment. Investment in education outcomes for vulnerable youth will result in future cost savings to education, social services, health and justice ministries, as well as have a positive impact on our provincial economy. If students can graduate from high school, pursue a post-secondary education, become gainfully employed, have healthier lifestyles and better habits—they will become an asset to their communities.
For more information or to make a donation please contact Cindy Kobayashi, Director of Development, MTMS, 306.569.6867 or firstname.lastname@example.org.