Rick Hansen meets students during a June forum following the announcement that the school bearing his name will have a science and business focus.

Rick Hansen meets students during a June forum following the announcement that the school bearing his name will have a science and business focus.

Major changes launching in district for new school year

Initiatives include Rick Hansen transformation; shifting focus to new provincial curriculum

As parents, students and teachers prepare for a new school year, big changes are afoot at Rick Hansen secondary school, where a new cohort of Grade 9 students will be the first to take part in programs that focus on science and business learning.

The change of Rick Hansen to a “school of science and business” was announced in February and aims to prepare students for both university and a life in professional careers in business, science and medicine. The programs will be run with a focus on “problem-based learning,” an approach emphasized in a new province-wide curriculum that will be introduced in 2016.

At Rick Hansen, the hope is that the shift in focus will reverse declining enrolment numbers. School district superintendent Kevin Godden said there have already been indications that it’s working.

Godden said teachers and administrators have spent months preparing for the new focus, with teachers attending workshops and developing programs over the summer. The programs will be introduced gradually, with students already at Rick Hansen progressing through established programs while younger cohorts will enter the new science- and business-focused classes. The program will also see the school working with science and business partners, along with the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Godden said the school has also attracted interest from parents outside of its normal catchment area, although the number who have elected to send their kids to Rick Hansen is still modest.

But the key will be ensuring students in the school’s local area don’t feel like they need to send their kids elsewhere.

“More than anything else, I want to make sure that we serve the kids who live in the catchment and want to attend that school,” Godden said.

It’s not just at Rick Hansen where students and parents can expect to see changes.

With classes slated to begin next week, Godden said teachers will be laying the groundwork this year for the new curriculum’s province-wide introduction in 2016.

That curriculum aims to shift the focus of education from learning facts to building problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, while retaining an emphasis on fundamentals like reading and math.

“This will allow teachers to get kids to work on problem-based learning. They will do a lot more problem solving and critical thinking – the kinds of things that will allow them to be more successful in the world,” Godden said.

“The teachers’ role is going to change somewhat, because the teacher is not going to hold the answers to all the questions. The kids are going to learn how to ask the questions and learn how to find the answers to real-life problems.”

September will also see the opening of a new “Early Years Centre” at the Sweeney Neighbourhood Learning Centre. The program will pair StrongStart programs for pre-kindergarten children with resources and referrals to connect families with health, well-being and development assistance.

“It will be a one-stop-shop experience,” Godden said.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department on scene at a house fire on Boundary Road and No. 4 Road on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (David Seltenrich/ Facebook)
Fire crews respond to house fire on border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Flames, dark smoke reported coming from front of house when crews arrived

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

AHL president and CEO Scott Howson believes the new Abbotsford franchise is off to a strong early start. (AHL photo)
AHL president: ‘Tremendous success’ selling season ticket deposits for Abbotsford franchise

President and CEO Scott Howson optimistic about new Vancouver Canucks affiliate in Abbotsford

Stock photo by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay
Drop-in vaccination clinics slated in Abbotsford for construction workers

Among three sites in Lower Mainland holding no-appointment clinics in June and July

A CH-149 Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on a training exercise in Chilliwack on June 16, 2021. (William Snow photo)
VIDEO: Military search and rescue training in Chilliwack Wednesday

CH-149 Cormorant and CC-115 Buffalo from CFB Comox participated in downed aircraft rescue simulation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read