Gifted intermediate students in Burnaby schools will have more chances to meet with their intellectual peers now that the district is expanding a program for advanced learners.
Gifted intermediate students from schools across Burnaby usually get pulled out of class a couple times a year to meet with other gifted kids. Now, the district is expanding the program so they can meet more often, as the elementary gifted students are already doing.
"We've always had primary and intermediate programs (for gifted kids). The primary one has been very successful," said assistant superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen. "For the intermediate challenge program, we thought we would mirror some of the aspects (of the primary program.)"
Grades 4 and 5 students will meet in groups throughout the year, once a week for seven to eight weeks per term, to work on special projects based on their interests and needs. For Grades 6 and 7, they will meet weekly, seven to eight times per term, with a new theme each term, but possibly with different students, depending on what they want to study.
"They'll be with their like-minded peers from week to week," said Niccoli-Moen.
That's good news for Peter Cech, who has two gifted daughters in the school system. Peter and his wife Charlene have been advocating on the issue for years, urging the school district to dedicate more resources for advanced learners.
"We are really happy that more resources are being put to it, and our hope is our daughters will benefit from it directly, but there's no guarantee our daughters will get in," he said, adding the demand is still excessive. "It's a positive step forward."
Burnaby's expanded program will help advanced learners emotionally as well, Peter pointed out.
"I think it's going to help a lot of them with their social emotional challenges. It's as simple as noticing and learning that there are other kids that are feeling things as intensely as they do," he said, adding that gifted kids often have strong emotions. "They are called excitabilities. They often feel things much more intensely and deeply."