Daniella Figliuzzi, a Grade 12 student at Next Step, won a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Student Award in September 2023.

Daniella Figliuzzi, a Grade 12 student at Next Step, won a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Student Award in September 2023.

Sherwood Park, AB. — Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) students can step into alternative choices for academic success within the outreach program at Next Step. “Attending Next Step has been a positive experience for me,” says Daniella Figliuzzi, a Grade 12 student at the school and winner of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Student Award. “In this environment, I've found a community that embraces diverse learning styles and recognizes that education isn't one-size-fits-all.”

Next Step operates in three community-based locations—Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan and Vegreville. Programming is offered to students in grades 8 through 12, depending on campus location. The school is a supportive and comfortable environment for students who require an individualized program.

“At Next Step, we're encouraged to explore our interests deeply and creatively, which has made learning much more engaging and relevant,” adds Figliuzzi. “This program has not only expanded my academic limits but also bolstered my confidence in my ability to succeed in non-traditional ways.”

Students at Next Step provide input on their program from the start—such as designing their own attendance and work completion schedules in collaboration with staff. The school ensures students have ample guidance and encouragement so they can complete their educational goals successfully.

“I've witnessed firsthand how outreach can change lives,” says Cindy O’Neill, a teacher at Next Step. “Our school is more than just a place of learning—it's a safe haven where students who might not thrive in traditional settings find their footing. We focus on individual strengths, offering personalized learning paths that cater to each student's unique needs and interests. This environment fosters not only academic growth but also personal development, resilience and self-awareness. It's incredibly rewarding to be part of a school that genuinely makes a difference in young people's lives.”

Students can attend Next Step several ways:

  • As a full-time student—grades 10, 11 and 12.
  • As a returning Grade 12 student—who recently graduated from an EIPS senior high school.
  • As a shared student—who’s concurrently registered at any EIPS senior high school.
  • Additionally, Next Step Sherwood Park offers a summer school program for grades 9 through 12 students and a junior high program for students in grades 8 and 9.

New and returning students may apply to Next Step during the registration process beginning in February. For key registration dates, see the EIPS Guide to Registration 2024-25.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.


EIPS Outreach Programs
Next Step School Website



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902