Is your teen working towards their high school diploma via online credits or another self-paced online curriculum?  Or are you a homeschooler and find your high school student’s needs are expanding beyond your household’s ability to meet them as you would like to?  Or maybe you find yourselves in need an interim solution, a period of intensive, targeted support to help work towards the goal of reintegration into the mainstream system due to anxiety or situational challenges.

NowWhat’s alternative high school program can meet the needs of students in a number of different circumstances in a supported alternative educational setting due to Learning Disabilities, Giftedness, ADHD, ASD, Anxiety, or recovery from illness or trauma.  Whether you’re managing through a challenging temporary situation, or being proactive about creating a learning environment you know your student will thrive in, we are here to offer an alternative way to approach learning in the high school years.

At NowWhat we look at the big picture of academic, social, emotional and life skills development, and we provide our teens with a dynamic, immersive ‘real-world’ learning environment that sets each of them up for success in all areas of life.  The goal is for us to help their experience of education to be joyful, positive and strengths-based.

Certified Teachers and Executive Function coaches guide our high school students as they select and work towards private or board-based online credits (such as ILC credits ) providing qualified and compassionate support to help them to stay on track, navigate their virtual learning platforms and expand on challenging concepts and skills in both small group and individual settings.  We provide a mix of structure and focused academic time, with opportunities to pursue ‘passion projects’ and areas of interest, fresh air and social interactions.  As the world opens up, we will be increasingly involved in our community, accessing local resources and experiences as part of students’ learning plans.

We also support students who are supplementing conventional schooling within the program according to their needs and goals.  We do not provide curriculum, but rather scaffold, support, accommodate and enrich each student to help them meet their individual learning goals.  This program is not ‘academic tutoring’ as much as specialized therapeutic support for students, provided by trained LRTs and Certified Teachers.

Who is it for?

Students from Grades 9 to 12 who who are working towards ILCs or any type of online/self-directed education who may be:

  • Struggling in the mainstream education system for any reason and would benefit from a period of intensive, targeted educational support
  • Requiring more flexibility with scheduling than public/private schools can accommodate
  • Looking to supplement and scaffold conventional schooling with extra, highly targeted support
  • Facing barriers that make participation in traditional learning models difficult (health & wellness, anxiety, recovery from trauma, alternative learning styles)
  • Looking for a positive, empowering space to learn academic and study skills that go beyond subject-specific tutoring to target root learning skills and general ‘adulting’ proficiency
  • In need of extra support to develop personal and mental organization, focus, time awareness, positive self-talk and planning in order to be successful at school
  • Navigating learning disabilities or neuro-diversities (ADHD, ASD, OCD etc)
  • In need of a short-term solution that meets your families’ current needs, while planning a supported re-integration into mainstream school
  • Searching for strategies to find their way through non-preferred tasks, to reduce frustration levels in their life and increase their sense of general wellbeing
  • Extremely bright but is not consistently producing results that show their actual abilities due to things like anxiety, catastrophizing, perfectionism, procrastination, lack of planning, inability to get started/maintain focus etc

What is involved?

  • A month-to-month commitment to the Alternative High School Program (4 weeks minimum in advance, rolling enrolment, with 4 weeks notice to withdraw)
  • Comprehensive Case Management support and oversight for your student
  • Either 4 full days, 2 full days, or 4 half days of on-site school hours per week (flexible timing)
  • Monthly 60 minute parent session with parent coach Rina Rodak
  • Monthly 60 minute student wellness session with your teen’s supervising Social Worker
  • Therapeutic support from our collaborative team  (includes SLP, OT and social workers) built into your student’s personalized learning plan as needed
  • Certified Teachers to support student’s learning and bring concepts to life
  • Integrated Executive Functioning supports throughout the day & week
  • Spacious, comfortable, low-stress learning environments with individual & group work areas
  • Nutritious food included in the program, including prep & choices 
  • Built-in opportunities to learn practical life skills (cooking, budgeting, time management etc)
  • Daily routines including outdoor physical activity to support overall health & wellness
  • Safe, supported social interaction with peers
  • Volunteer opportunities as the community opens back up
  • Covid-19 protocols for staff and students in place per government requirements

What are the Therapeutic Goals?

The main goal of your student’s time at NowWhat is to scaffold them as they earn credits towards a high school diploma, but we know that everything in life is connected and a healthy, happy student is a successful student so we build in life skills, social skills and emotional support to our students’ days.

We include 1:1 support from an Executive Function Coach who will help your student identify areas of need and target them with specific plans, chart & chunk assignments into manageable pieces, and organize their personal workload, always with the goal of building skills that support independent learning and growing autonomy in their personal lives.  Individualized learning plans are made in collaboration with families, and are tweaked as needed to ensure each student’s needs are met and they are appropriately challenged.

Part of the program includes monthly wellness checks with our supervising Social Worker Helen Brook for each student, and monthly parent coaching sessions with Rina Rodak to troubleshoot any challenges at home.

DBT-based self-regulation and distress tolerance skills are taught alongside academics.  Assistive tech support and training can be put in place to manage individual challenges and scaffold each student in ways that help remove whatever roadblocks are standing in the way of their success.

Personalized re-integration plans with a focus on self-advocacy and independent learning skills are put in place for those who are aiming to return to mainstream school, or preparing for post-secondary education.

Who is Involved?

Certified Teachers & Executive Function Specialists Dan Zaitzow and Denise Hagger, with decades of experience (including SERT & guidance counselling), lead the program.  Our Social Workers, Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Music Therapist and Behaviour Coaches are also available to collaborate with on individual learning plans in the high school program, contributing as needed to tailor each student’s plan to fit their individual, dynamic needs.

Where & when is it happening?

  • 144 Wilson St E Ancaster, as well as the surrounding local trails & community
  • Monday to Thursday (flexible timing, Friday support available on request)
  • 4 half days or 4 full days per week
  • Throughout the school year, rolling 4 week commitment in advance

    How much does it cost & how is it billed?

    • Comprehensive 4 full days/week package is $3400 per month
    • Comprehensive 4 half days/week package is $1800 per month (can be 2 full days if this is more suitable to your situation)
    • Program is billed in advance with 4 weeks commitment at a time, so that we can ensure optimal staffing and planning is in place
    • 4 weeks notice is required to withdraw from the program
    • Course can be covered by most extended benefit plans under MSW (potentially with SLP & OT portions depending on therapeutic input)

How do I register?

  • Give us a call at 289 678 0581 or send us an email to get started, at
  • If you are brand new to NowWhat, we’ll set up a complimentary intake to ensure this program is a good fit for your student, talk about your individual schedule and answer any questions you may have
  • If this program feels like ‘overkill’ for your needs and you’re looking for some supplementary support, our individual EF coaching and academic support packages are always available!  Virtual options also.

Forms & Waivers

  • If you’re new to NowWhat, you’ll need to fill out a general clinic Intake Form and Service Agreement which will be emailed to you after you reach out to front desk
  • We’ll send you out a checklist for everything that’s needed to get your student enrolled in ILC
  • Prior to beginning this program, you’ll need to fill out the  Program Participation & Photo Waiver (once only)
  • Before EACH DAY, you’ll need to submit a clear Covid Screening Form (also found on the home page of our website)

Reach out to us today to discuss your how NowLearn can support your high school student’s alternative education!