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Jim Bell

Former school board adult learner

Jim Bell was working as a temp at a large company when his employer offered him a full-time, permanent position. The catch? He needed a high school diploma.

“They said, ‘We’ll hold the position if you get your grade 12.’ The next day I went straight to the adult education centre and made an appointment,” says Jim.

Four months later, he graduated with his Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Jim is one of more than 70,000 adult learners in Ontario who enroll each year in school board credit courses. Many go through a program called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) for Mature Students that grants credits for work and life experiences.

“It’s a unique program that recognizes prior experiences, like raising children or volunteering,” says Bernadette Beaupré, Executive Director of CESBA, an organization that supports adult and continuing education in Ontario’s school boards. “PLAR helps learners finish their diploma so they can reach their goals.”

Jim agrees that the PLAR program helped him get his high school diploma quickly. He received credits for working and looking after a family, and finished his remaining credits online so he could keep working full-time.

“I couldn’t ask for better people to help me,” he says. “My experience with the assessment centre was fantastic.” 

Three years later, Jim has no regrets about going back to get his diploma. “If it weren’t for this program, I have no idea what I’d be doing,” he says. “I feel better about myself knowing I have my grade 12.” 

What’s keeping you from finishing your high school diploma?

For some, it’s a fear of going back to school with a younger crowd. For others, it’s a cost consideration. Maybe you don’t think you have the time.

  • We understand, but there’s truly no need to worry. It’s easy, flexible, free, fast, and more within reach than you probably think. And it’s never too late!
  • The OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma) is the preferred accreditation for employers. Don’t let anything hold you back from taking the next easy step toward achieving your goals. You deserve it! And with over 120 locations to serve you, your diploma is within reach!
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