Rick Hansen Secondary in Abbotsford will take a new direction this fall when it becomes the province’s first school of science and business.
School principal David deWit said the new approach is two-fold.
First, the school’s programs will be geared toward the goal of professional careers in business, science and medicine as well as preparing students for success in university studies.
“We’re definitely talking about post-secondary and professional career aspirations here,” deWit said.
Second, the daily approach to learning will be transformed.
DeWit said this new way of classroom learning will be more reflective of life in the work world and is focused on what educators call “problem-based learning.”
“With this approach, students learn through experience,” deWit said. “They learn by trying things, by solving problems presented to them. And they do so in teams and across multiple disciplines, which is more reflective of what they’ll be faced with in their careers. It’s very engaging for students, and very practical.”
DeWit said the school will still emphasize math, language, arts, sports and social sciences and all students can attend, but the overarching theme will be science and business.
Cindy Schafer, chair of the Abbotsford board of education, said this approach is innovative, and supports flexibility and access to programs and services.
Beginning in September, Grade 9 students will have a full immersion experience in the program.
As these students progress through the years 2016 to 2018, the entire school will be immersed in the full spectrum of science and business programming, deWit said.
Presentations will be made to parents, business and science community partners, and the public in the coming weeks, and there will be opportunities to help families make arrangements for enrolment.
Students from within the Rick Hansen Secondary catchment area will be given first option to enrol, but it will not be limited to these students.
“We expect that as students experience this new program and dynamic way of learning that there will be a high level of interest,” says deWit. “Our aim is to make it available to as many students as we have room for in the coming years.”