Bev Facey Community High School is looking to give its students a leg up before and after graduation.
In September 2019, the school will launch a two-year Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma program, which will be offered in conjunction with existing AP courses. The new program is designed to provide students with greater academic challenges and prepare them for life as post-secondary students.
"We're really excited to be able to offer that program," said Cherum Orr, the Grade 11 administrator and AP co-ordinator at Bev Facey. "It's pretty fantastic that we're one of the first schools in the Greater Edmonton area to be able to do that."
In the first year, students take a seminar course where they learn university-level research and essay-writing skills. Then, in the second year, they work on a personal research project, where they use the skills they learned in the seminar course and apply them to a research essay on a topic of their choice.
"The focus is on things like collaboration, critical thinking, defensive writing, thesis writing and research, so it's a little bit more skill-based and looking at some of those soft skills that students aren't necessarily focusing on," Orr explained.
Students who complete their capstone project and AP exams, with a score of at least four out of five, receive university course credits and boosted overall academic averages.
"They're getting the benefits of just the skills themselves, but then it's also translating into an academic benefit — and possibly a financial benefit — when they move into their post-secondary," Orr added.
Any Bev Facey student who is registered in at least two AP courses is eligible to enrol in the new program.
The school will run as many classes as necessary, based on the number of student requests.