BY JEREMY TREVORS - THE DAILY GLEANER
Fredericton Christian Academy is making changes to its student schedules for the upcoming school year. The school is introducing an AAA Enrichment Program in the fall.
"We’re looking to enrich the experience that our students have in school,” said principal Jonathan McAloon. “Through that enrichment, we want to have higher levels of engagement.” The AAA stands for athletics, academics and arts. The program will shorten and extend different periods of the day. Lunch will be reduced by 15 minutes to 20 minutes, the school day itself will finish 15 minutes later, but classes will be shortened by five to 10 minutes throughout the day. Class started at 8:30 a.m. and finished around 3:05 p.m. under the old program. Under the new program, school will start at the same time while finishing at either 3:23 or 3:25 p.m.
The students will have their typical five classes per day with an extra 60-90 minute block at the end of the day to allow them to have time with academics, athletics or arts. We’re really excited about the opportunity to provide them with extra time to be able to dive into either academics. If they’re struggling or they want to improve or just get further ahead.” Students who want to improve on the academic side will have extra time to do home work, catch up or even take some online courses. “We’re going to kind of rotate them through on a quarterly basis and there can be a variety of activities. The students will have the choice to switch streams during each quarter,”McAloon said.
In athletics, it’s not your stereotypical ‘let’s go and spend an hour in the gym shooting balls around’ or anything like that. The school plans on exposing students to different sports such as fencing, Olympic sports and a variety of others. On the arts side, it could be painting, drama or music and there are other streams on the art side that students could do as well. “People might get it mixed up with extra-curricular activity, that it’s the same thing as a sports team or as a band, but this is more of exposing students to activities they would never have a chance of participating in otherwise,”McAloon said. So far, he said, the reception has been positive. Most students and parents are curious as to how it’s all going to pan out as it’s a different module compared to other schools. McAloon said this will create more holistic students and prepare them for life after school, whether it be in the workforce or post-secondary education.
He said schools in the province have done enrichment programs, but McAloon isn’t aware of other schools that have taken the same approach they have with their module. “It’s just an alternative way of education and it would be great if the students would want to come and try it out and hopefully it would excite them and their education,”McAloon said.
The school will review the program next year and see if it needs to be adjusted. “We’re going to put it in place in the fall and then it will constantly be under evaluation and may need to be tweaked in some ways. We’ll obviously be following up with our students, our families and parents as well and make sure it’s meeting the needs of our clients,” McAloon said.
Fredericton Christian Academy
778 MacLaren Ave.
Fredericton NB E3A 3L7