Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Immaculate Heart of Mary to offer Level 1 in September

This is a copy of an article that appeared in The Western Star newspaper on Monday, March 21, 2011.

Immaculate Heart of Mary to offer Level 1 in September


CORNER BROOK Elaine King believes in meeting the needs of the individual student and starting in September Immaculate Heart of Mary School will take a further step in doing just that.

The independently operated, privately funded Catholic school, where King is the director of education, is adding Level l to its curriculum.

King said the Level 1 program will offer all the required courses of the provincial high school curriculum, but will also allow for some individualized programming to meet students’ needs and interests.

“We have to offer a program that’s going to enable children to be able to graduate,” she said.

This includes the regular courses of math, English, science, Canadian studies and healthy living.

The optional courses, the number of courses a student completes and student interests are where the individualized part of the program comes in.

“Really in many ways the rest is open,” said King.

A student may want to take choral, or ensemble performance, or the school could offer a robotics program.

If they are interested in sports, time could be built into their program to allow them to pursue that. And course selection could be more focused on career interests.

“There’s loads of flexibility,” said King. “We would cater to the best of our ability to the students’ needs.”

In the regular school system a student completes 14 credits a year to graduate with 42 credits, ' but King said students only need 36 credits to graduate.

So if a student wants to take fewer courses that will be an option.

She said this will be good for students who may struggle with a full course load or others who want to focus more on outside interests.

“I think we've got to be so careful in terms of our education system in terms of how we engage and empower versus how we disengage and disempower.”

King said her school always promotes “a safe, respectful, family-oriented environment.”

In the last couple of years the school has also expanded its junior kindergarten and French immersion programs.

King said she started with the foundation “and now I want to expand at the other end of the spectrum.”

And she feels there is “a desperate need” in the city for the type of high school experience that Immaculate Heart of Mary is planning to offer.

“The beauty with our school is there's an alternative, there's an option.”

She said school doesn't have to be that rigorous and that you can think outside the box.

“It’s really important that we respect the mandate of the provincial curriculum,” said King. “But I also respect that kids need different things and they need their approach to curriculum handled in different ways.”

“It's really important I think that we respect and we appreciate the different career paths the kids want to take and their different interests and that we tap into those to have them empowered and engaged.”