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Pursuit Program

The Pursuit Program is designed to provide Grade 7-9 students with developmentally-specific skills that will help them navigate a changing world and develop the confidence to tackle problems using 21st-century skills. The world now seems to be requesting people who can be independent thinkers, self-starters and global citizens, and the W.D. Cuts Pursuit Program provides preparation for such a world while allowing 12-14 year-olds to explore the skills of their ages together.

As we move into our second year of our Pursuit Program, we are excited to offer students a way of learning that teaches them to take personal growth risks, responsibility and rigor in their education. While learning to use 21st-century skills to solve problems by communicating, collaborating, creating and thinking critically, students will cover all essential outcomes for the Social Studies, Math, Science, Physical Education and ELA curriculum. 

And, what makes the Pursuit Program a “pursuit” is that students also have the stimulating opportunity to explore and engage with their own personal passions. Our students r have explored unique individual projects including: environmental protection (solar panels for our school - in progress), pilot training, the science of singing, psychology, wood working, skateboard design and building, animation, language learning, music, coding, art, permaculture gardening, robotics, physical fitness and podcasting just to name a few!

Our students are eager and motivated learners, interested in exploring their world, curious to find out how things work, and excited to take up challenges. The learning in our class is based on students Knowing, Doing, and Being. It is the pursuit of practical and academic knowledge and skills that will help students tackle any current or future challenge.

FAQs

What does a typical day look like?
We have two types of days in general: Challenge Days and Personal Pursuit Days. Challenge Days propose real-life problems to students to engage with and learn about the four curricular areas (Social Studies, ELA, Math and Science), sometimes through gamification. Personal Pursuit Days are for exploration of students’ interests, wonders, curiosities and passions. Students have time during these days to find information, build, experiment, create, read, gather information, calculate, write, collaborate and anything else that they can to learn about their area of pursuit.

Can I still take all the options I want?
Yes! Because WD Cuts has nearly all the options in the afternoon, Pursuit students take options just like all other regular program students in the school, even Hockey and Rec Academy. All morning, students are in the Pursuit Program for their core courses (Social Studies, Science, ELA, Math and Physical Education). In the afternoon, they disperse to take the options of their choice with all of the other kids in the school.

Do they cover all the required points of the Alberta curriculum?
All essential outcomes from the four curricular core areas, and Physical Education are covered with special emphasis on subject areas skills development.

Do they have the freedom to explore other areas of interest?
YES! This is the whole purpose of the program! We believe that students need time to try out what is on their minds and hearts, and through this process they learn their strengths and challenges, how to tackle problem solving, how to use their curiosity and independent thinking, how to work with others, and how to communicate their successes and failures (temporary ones - they dust themselves off and get back to it!).

What does instruction look like?
Depending on the point of the year, the extent of instruction changes. At the beginning of the year, there is direct instruction about how to use 21st-century skills to solve problems and how to use the design cycle to construct their own projects. These two things are essential to the program since our goal is not to have students learn to regurgitate given information, but rather learn how to assess, face and break apart ANY problem from any subject area that they encounter and come up with testable solutions.

In addition, there is direct instruction built into each challenge with necessary information for use in that challenge. However, the intent with the challenges is not to give information to be memorized for its own sake, but rather that knowledge will be used in doing and experiencing the concepts of the subject area. We know that students learn far better, more deeply, and remember better by doing and engaging with subjects, topics, and concepts.

Registration

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William D. Cuts Junior High School