Inter-A


Inter-A

Inter-A is one of the many options available to high school students in British Columbia, Canada. The program is based on leadership and is available to students in grades 7-12. Inter-A is situated within Kwantlen Park Secondary School which is part of School District 36 Surrey.

History

The Inter-A program was devised by Victor Vollrath and John Harper. The two teachers were sharing a classroom and teaching at opposite sides, when they came to the realization that this way of teaching was highly productive for students (individual students with the skills and motivation to excel maintain this level of productivity to this day). So, Inter-A was born.

The program was originally located at Len Shepherd Secondary School. There it remained for many years, and the school was separated into Inter-A and the mainstream students evenly. Inter-A started off small, with thirty or less students ranging from grades 7-12, as opposed to the regular 8-12 found in most British Columbia high schools.

Inter-A moved to Kwantlen Park Secondary School in 2002, opening the door to many more students. Victor Vollrath and John Harper retired as teachers a year later, but their roots are passed off onto the new teachers. The ideas of teamwork, self-motivation, community service and leadership and creativity that started the program still run strong today, and the program is looked favourably upon by the school district, for it has fallen into its guidelines without jeopardizing its intents.

Academics

Inter-A students can be found in the hallways at different times of the day, which suggests that Inter-A has more freedom than its mainstream counterpart. It offers all the electives necessary for graduation and a place at any University or College in British Columbia or in Canada. The main differences are that Physical Education is demanded of the students until graduation, Fine Arts programs are chosen by the students, and the Inter-A Component.

The students are broken off into two categories: Intermediate (grades 7-9) and Grad (10-12). There are six blocks in the day, as opposed to the standard four. There are also six units per school year, with a report card at the end of each one, as opposed to the two-semester system. Students who are academic thrive in the at-your-own-pace math and language programs, while those without motivation are asked how they can be helped.

PE is divided between Grads and Intermediates on various days. Fine Arts occurs over the course of three blocks one day a week. Students wishing to attend an Post Secondary Art School are recommended to attend a specialized high school whose focus is more art-based. That is not to say that Inter-A children cannot participate in other school events; sports, theater and clubs are open to all members of Inter-A, French Immersion and BCIT at Kwantlen.

All marks are out of 100%, but are then scaled down to 75%. The remaining 25% goes to the Inter-A Component, which is based on three criteria.

Community Service

Students earn credit by participating in community service. Ten hours of work is required every unit, 1% given every hour. A log must be kept by the students and signed by an appropriate overseer. Community Service can be completed within the school; 10% (the full service amount) may be gained that way. This can be as simple as tutoring a fellow peer, or as complex as running the school's recycling program. Many students go above and beyond, completing up to 20 hours of Community Service a unit. There are no "roll-over" hours.

The other 5% can be gained from completing service around the community. Since most of the students are from the Greater Vancouver Area, there are plenty of service opportunities available to them.

CPP

Career and Personal Planning is similar to CSL in the fact that students set goals for themselves. However, these goals are checked bi-annually and must be signed by the pupil's legal guardian for the 5% to go into the student's marks. A portfolio of the student's work is also gathered in this class.

Extra Languages

French is taught at Inter-A. However, if a student is taking a language class outside of Inter-A for extra credit, they can use that as their language credit and have the designated Language block as a spare. A record must be kept of the student's involvement, and the language must be one that makes the student eligible for graduation.

French in Inter-A used to be a work-at-your-own-pace program. However, after the departures of Volrath and Harper it has gone back to group classes. Grades 7-12 each have a different teacher taking them through different stages of French. A student can skip ahead if they show vast knowledge of the subject matter or finish the stages early.

Math

For students in grades seven through ten, Math is self paced. At the end of every chapter they must get their Math Trackers signed to signify they understand the concepts, then take the test. If they pass, they may go on to the next chapter. This age bracket works in groups at tables, called Inter-A groups. The Inter-A group was made to teach diversity and problem-solving. An Inter-A group should include even members of each gender, students of different ages/grades when possible, students of different skill levels and students who often do not work with each other.

Grades eleven and twelve work with a teacher, as opposed to the self-taught younger grades, for the subject matter is more difficult to grasp. However, once a week the younger students attend a Math Seminar lead by a teacher or a more experienced student. No Calculus is offered in Inter-A at this time.

Extracurricular Activities

Inter-A has an Ultimate team called "The Kwantlen Park Spartans", based on the movie "300". The sporty black and burgundy. This year (07/08 season) the Inter-A ultimate start to the regular season currently with a 6-0 record for both the senior and junior teams. The Junior team is currently ranked 1st throughout British Columbia and the Senior team is ranked second in their division. Hopefully Inter-A can have 2 provincial championships this year as the senior and junior teams are both striving for nothing less than being the best. The new jersey's for the ultimate team is a very stylish black with burgendy on the shoulders. It also has the logo of its parent school (Kwantlen park secondary) on the front which shows a timberwolf. Show your support for the Inter-a team by going to watch the Provincials!!!

A Reach for the Top team has been started. The team placed well in their first year of competition. However, this program has currently been suspended.

A school play is often run annually. Last year's play, "Guys and Girls", fabulously written by Roger Blenman, was a tremendous success.

Inter-A used to have high-ranking Destination Imagination teams. The teams often place second in Provincial Tournaments, and several have gone on to score highly at the World Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Math Club is available after school some days for students who struggle, need service, or just love math and need somewhere to do some math.

Inter-A has an Executive Team, much like its own Student Council. They make important monetary and educational decisions about Inter-A and its future, as well as plan future field trips. It is led by students.

A "Herd" is when the Inter-A students come together for an information session in one of the three rooms. "Apple Awards" are given at the end-of-the-year barbecue. They are given out during an outdoor herd to each student in a lighthearted manner. The awards are usually inside jokes suggested by friends or playful pokes at students given by the teachers.

Excursions

There are three types of excursions in Inter-A.

Day Trips

The small field trip in Inter-A is what could be considered a "through Kwantlen Park.

Overnight

A field trip that lasts overnight. Great example is the annual Inter-A Retreat at the beginning of every year.

Overseas

Inter-A is unique in the fact that every second year Inter-A has a trip overseas for over two weeks. The trip is expensive, but the response is excellent. Trips to Italy, Paris, England and other European countries have been a tremendous success in integrating different cultures and ideals into the minds of the youth. Through Kwantlen Park, exchange programs with Quebec are also available.

Achievements

Besides producing a class of graduates that shine both as academics and as human beings, the Inter-A program has consistently been regarded as one of the most notable institutes of secondary education in British Columbia. Through the Inter-A program the students learn self-motivation and direction, skills necessary for post-secondary education. With the skills developed in Inter-A many of the graduates excel in university level education with high exam scores gaining them acceptance to some of the finest universities and other post-secondary institutions in Canada. Both founders of the program, Vic Vollrath and John Harper, have received national recoginition awards for their excellence in teaching. And, as they say, with great teachers come great students, Inter-A has placed their parent schools (Len Shepherd and Kwantlen Park Secondary) amongst the top public schools in British Columbia within recent years based on Grade 12 provincial exam marks. There are a list of achievements that may be noted...further additions welcome.


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