Program will ENTER 2014-2015 school year

Renee Andor

Record Staff

Navigate’s ENTER program will be extended next school year to include Grade 9, according to teacher Roger Vernon.

Launched in September, 2012, the eCademy of New Technology, Engineering and Robotics uses students’ passions for science and technology to learn all B.C. curriculum. For the past two years the program has been offered to Grade 6 to 8 students, but Vernon confirmed the program will be extended to Grade 9 students in September.

“Very excited,” Vernon quickly says when asked for his thoughts about the extension. “These kids are very special learners and they learn in a very special way.

“These programs were designed to support them in feeling like successful learners based off of who they are … We look to build their sparks (passions) into their curriculum and their curriculum back into their sparks.”

ENTER students attend Aspen Park Elementary School three days per week for in-class, hands-on learning, and spend the other two days doing distributed learning. Vernon says details haven’t yet been finalized but the program next year is expected to include a Grade 6/7 class at Aspen and a Grade 8/9 class, possibly out of Highland Secondary School.

Vernon says ENTER students learn best by doing hands-on activities and are very interested in science, math, games, computer technology and computer code, for example.

Because they share similar interests, the social aspect of the program has been huge for the students, too, says Vernon. He notes there’s often just a handful of students with these interests in each school in the district and they can “get pushed to the outsides” of schools.

“But, here they all speak their own language so it’s really, for a lot them, it’s the first time that they’ve had a social cohort — which is really, really cool to see,” he says.

Vernon expects most of the students with the choice of continuing into Grade 9 in the ENTER program will choose to do so.

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