G.W. Graham opts for in-house honours program

G.W. Graham middle-secondary school phases out its IB program in favour of the da Vinci Program of Distinction.

G.W. Graham middle-secondary school adopts a new excellence program.

G.W. Graham middle-secondary school adopts a new excellence program.

The International Baccalaureate program is being phased out of G.W. Graham middle-secondary school.

Not because it’s not a great program, but because it’s not an inclusive program.

Middle years IB was only offered to students in grades 7-9, which was great when the school wasn’t a full 7-12 school. But in recent years it’s become somewhat of a division between the middle and secondary program.

“Without intending to, some teachers in the high school were left feeling excluded,” said IB coordinator Tammi Chernoff who teaches middle years math and science.

“We’re not just a middle school anymore, we’re a middle secondary school and we need to reflect that.”

However, to implement the IB secondary program would have cost thousands, an expense that would have likely been offloaded onto parents.

The school decided to go a new route.

This spring the da Vinci Program of Distinction is being phased in for the Grade 9 and 10 students, and come next September it will be offered to all students.

da Vinci is an in-house honours program, designed by GWG teachers, to give students in grades 7 to 12 an opportunity to advance their learning through personalized projects.

The program takes pieces from several other programs, including IB, but with a personalized touch that will meet the specific needs of GWG.

“A huge part for us was the six-year experience,” said P.E. teacher Jake Mouritzen. “We wanted to develop a program that started in Grade 7 and went all the way up to Grade 12 – that was huge for us.”

All students in grades 7-8 will be required to participate, completing both a science fair and humanities project. The 9-10 and 11-12 programs invite students to explore an individual project over a 10-month period. Both programs are optional, and students can opt in to do one or both at any time.

The da Vinci Program of Distinction follows the B.C. Education Ministry’s guidelines for personalized learning.

With the program, students will spend 10 months investigating and completing a project of interest. They will be mentored and guided by teachers, but predominantly the majority of the work will be done by their own initiative – through summer break and winter break, as well as the school year.

“Kids are brilliant, they will astound you every single time if you allow them to,” said Chernoff.

Even though the program doesn’t have the widely recognized “IB” affiliation attached to it, it will still be resume worthy.

“It’s definitely going to give them an edge with scholarships, bursaries and jobs,” said Chernoff. “It’s another aspect of who they are as learners.”

And, because it’s now a six-year program, teachers believe it will better unify their school.

Students can earn up to four credits for graduation.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

West Coast Duty Free president Gary Holowaychuk stands next to empty shelves inside his store on Tuesday (June 15). (Aaron Hinks photo)
Revenue down 97% at Surrey duty free as owner waits for U.S. border to reopen

Products approaching best before dates had to be donated, others destroyed

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

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

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read