Inter-A

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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[edit]

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. In fact, individual students with the skills and motivation to excel maintain this level of productivity to this day. Thus, 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 original Len Shepherd 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[edit]

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: Intermediates (grades 8-9) and Seniors (10-12). There are six blocks in the day, as opposed to the standard four to accommodate the average high school attention span. There are also six units of six-weeks per school year, with a report card at the end of each one, as opposed to the two-semester system. Mathematically inclined students thrive in the at-your-own-pace math program, while those who struggle are asked how they can be helped.

PE[edit]

Physical Education is divided between Seniors and Intermediates on various days. Anyone can run a PE option, grade 8-12. The teachers run options to join as well.

[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. The three criteria are: Community Service (10%), Choice (10%), and CPP (5%).]

Fine Arts[edit]

Fine Arts occurs over the course of three blocks, one day a week. Like P.E, anyone can run an option for it with the options the teachers are running as well.

[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. The three criteria are: Community Service (10%), Choice (10%), and CPP (5%).]

Community service[edit]

Students earn credit by participating in community service. Ten hours of work is required every unit, . 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[edit]

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.

Choice[edit]

10% of an Inter-A student's marks consists of choice. Students in grade 7,8, and 9 can elect to run a choice seminar, which, if done well, can bring up a students choice mark by 4%. A choice seminar is a student-led class, based on their knowledge of a particular subject, whether it be soccer, or the history of the ukulele. The student will then be required to teach their peers about that particular subject, through visuals, demonstrations, group activities, or however else they see fit. Attending and handing in an assignment based on the leader's knowledge is worth 1% of an Inter-A students choice mark.


The choice program allows for students to be exposed to many different new subjects which are not covered by the BC curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to gain a broad view of the world around them, and to gain public speaking, leadership, and teaching skills.


Extra languages[edit]

French is taught in 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 regular 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[edit]

For students in grades seven through ten, Math is self paced. At the end of every chapter they must get their "Math Tracker" 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 sits in mixed age, mixed ability groups, called "Inter-A groups". The Inter-A group was made to teach group skills, leadership, 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 elevens and twelves work with a teacher in a traditional setting, as opposed to the self-taught younger grades, as the subject matter is more difficult to grasp. However, once a week the younger students attend a Math Seminar led by a teacher or a more experienced student. Calculus 12 is not offered in Inter-A at this time, but all three math streams (Apprenticeship and Workplace, Pre-Calculus, and Foundations of Math) are offered until the grade twelve level.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Students wishing to attend a 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 all clubs are open to members of Inter-A, French Immersion and Kwantlen students.

Inter-A has an Ultimate team called "The Kwantlen Park Timber Wolves". In the 2007/2008 season, the Inter-A ultimate started the regular season 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 two provincial championships this year as the senior and junior teams are both striving for nothing less than being the best. The new jersey for the ultimate team is a very stylish black, with burgundy on the shoulders. It also has the logo of its parent school (Kwantlen Park secondary) on the front which shows a Timberwolf.

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.

An Inter-A play is often run annually."The Grounding of Donnie Greener", was fabulously written by Roger Blenman, and was a tremendous success.

Inter-A has several very high-ranking Destination Imagination teams. The teams often place second or better 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 it.

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 as an independent body, and elections are held every two units. All Inter-A students are invited to vote.

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

Excursions[edit]

Excursions in Inter-A can be divided into three categories:

Day trips[edit]

The small field trip in Inter-A is a typical field trip experience. Inter-A students have been to the Vancouver Aquarium, Chinatown, Geneskool, Bard on the Beach, and Science World. Day trips are used as a way to give students a real-world application for work done in a classroom.

Overnight[edit]

A field trip that lasts overnight. A great example is the annual "Inter-A Retreat" at the beginning of every year, which is three days, and two nights. The Retreat is in September of every year, and took place at Rockridge Canyon in Princeton, British Columbia this year. The Retreat is an opportunity for students, and teachers to get to know each other before the year starts. This is especially helpful for new grade eight students to integrate into the program with ease.

Overseas[edit]

Inter-A is unique, as every second year the program offers a trip overseas for two to three weeks. The trip is expensive, but the response is excellent. Trips to Italy, France, Australia, Greece, England and other countries have been a tremendous success in integrating different cultures and ideals into the minds of the youth. Through Kwantlen Park, exchange programs with other students from Quebec are also available.

Achievements[edit]

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 recognition awards for their excellence in teaching. 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.

External links[edit]