Specialized programming attracts 50% more students in Grades 6-8
Burlington Christian Academy’s new edVENTURE program is growing the school and helping students get excited about learning.
Principal Gord McNeice says edVENTURE is part of the elementary school’s big picture to have specialized programs available to enthuse Grade 6, 7 and 8 students about education and address the challenge of students switching to private schools.
The programs have increased enrolment at the school, with 50 per cent more students in Grades 6, 7 and 8.
The school started offering the Advanced Level Program of Athletics (ALPA) program in 2007 for Grade 7 and 8 students, which has since expanded to include Grade 6. The sports academy program is for kids who are passionate about sports and has certain athletic requirements. Approximately 15 to 20 students are enrolled.
Students entering Grade 6 now have the option to enter the ALPA or edVENTURE program.
“We added the edVENTURE program, which is an experiential learning program, so kids learn by experiencing all sorts of things that are out there for them in the community,” says McNeice, noting the program aims to encourage students to become active adults.
The program runs four days a week and starts 40 minutes earlier in the morning to maintain ministry requirements for class time.
The specialized programs have leadership and service elements, which McNeice says has immeasurably helped the climate of the school.
The edVENTURE program is designed to provide students with a taste of any elective they might find in high school to enhance their educational experience and give them a variety of extra-curricular activities.
The students are engaging in a variety of activities including photography, woodworking, computer programming, badminton, martial arts and service projects.
“Anything they could do as an elective I wanted them to at least have a trial run at it, so that they could make an informed decision when they went to high school,” says teacher Dan Cope.
For experience with service projects the students have helped at So On Fire, an organization that collects toiletries and other supplies that are sent in backpacks across the world.
The program re-enforces the curriculum in a subtle way, says Cope. For example, in native studies the students were learning about the Wendat people and in the edVENTURE program they built Wendat villages.
There has been positive feedback for the program and the school will look to add more formal evaluation in the future.
“We’ve gotten a great response, a lot of the parents have been saying that even the students that drag their feet in the mornings jump out of bed because they want to make sure they are there to see what we are doing that day, which is really nice to hear,” says Cope.
The school plans to add theatre arts to its specialized programming this fall. The students will take on the tasks of a theatrical company and produce two or three major presentations throughout the year, incorporating all aspects of theatre including music, art and design.
Burlington academy offers cutting-edge athletic program