In the next week Heather Park will begin our Explorations Learning Program for Intermediate students in grades 4-7. The program is scheduled to run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from October 15, 2013 to March 13, 2014 – see Heather Park website for detailed schedule: http://www.hpar.sd57.bc.ca. Most of these 90 minute lessons will be offered in two different sessions for six weeks* at a time:
A. for students in grades 4-5 from after recess (10:40 AM) to lunch (12:10 PM) and,
B. to students in grades 6-7 from after lunch (1:00 PM) to dismissal (2:30 PM)
* The exception will be hockey, which will run for the whole 20 weeks.
Explorations will provide personalized learning experiences in three areas:
1. Academic support for students who need extra lessons in Mathematics and Language Arts.
2. Academic enrichment in core subject areas for students who are already working at, or above, grade level in those subjects
3. Specialized LAR courses – which stands for Lifeskills, Arts and Recreation.
All students, except those in hockey, must take at least one Academic course — either Support or Enrichment.
Before beginning Explorations each year, teachers meet in two groups: one for grades 4/5 and the other for grades 6/7 to identify students who will be placed in Explorations Math and Explorations Languages Arts. Students are pre-enrolled in these courses because they require extra instruction. It is possible for some students to be placed in both of these courses, leaving one other course to choose on their own.
During the second Explorations session, French Immersion students identified by their teachers as needing further concentration in French Language lessons will be enrolled in the French Explorations course.
The class-size of these courses will be limited to 15 or less, and will focus on helping students learn key skills needed to be successful in the core academic areas. Teachers leading these courses will make the lessons interactive, using real life examples in the hopes that students can experience success by working at their individual level.
A small group of students in each grade will be identified as needing a more intensive course called Explorations Skills. The Skills course will be offered by specialized teachers with groups of less than 5 students, and will be focused on helping those who have higher academic needs than students in the Mathematics and Language Arts courses.
Students who are not in the Hockey Program, or already enrolled in an Academic Support course, must take at least one Academic Enrichment course. These specialized courses include hands-on topics in Science, Technology, Language Arts, Mathematics and Project Research.
LAR Courses – Lifeskills, Arts and Recreation
A number of non-academic courses will be offered in each of the three sessions in areas such as:
– Athletics – Visual Arts
– Performing Arts – Gaming
– Wood Shop – Sewing and cooking
These courses will be more focused on non-academic skills that many students will find very rewarding.
The Hockey Program is a LAR program that runs for the full 20 weeks. Students enrolled in hockey may still be required to take one Academic Support course, if deemed necessary by their teachers.
On October 8, all students will receive an Explorations Course Selection Form. This form must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the school by Friday, October 11. Students in Hockey and those requiring Academic Support will have fewer choice options than others. All other students MUST choose at least one Academic Enrichment course. Students will be asked to put their choices in rank order, from 1 to 3 for both LAR and Enrichment courses.
It will NOT be possible to give everyone their first choices. However, first priority will be given to students who have been enrolled in Academic Support courses.
Assessment of Learning Outcomes
All courses will have learning outcomes which will be used to provide students and parents with assessment information on students’ progress during the course. These one-page reports will be included in each term’s report card envelopes.
The purpose of Explorations is to provide students with targeted learning opportunities based on their needs and interests. Students identified by their teachers due to their struggles in the classroom will receive extra support to with instruction at their level. The program also provides students with choices that will hopefully motivate them to pursue personalized learning goals throughout their time in public school.