Established in 1999, the John Oliver Mini School offers a comprehensive, enriched, and in some subject areas accelerated academic program to students in Grades 8 through 12. The program provides students opportunities to take a wide variety of senior electives and advanced courses in their senior years. Field trips and outdoor education are integral components of this program and are used to enrich and enhance student learning. Student leadership and service to the school and community are essential requirements of the program. Digital Immersion was implemented in the fall of 2010, with incoming students equipped with their own personal lap tops and their curriculum delivered as much as possible in the context of digital literacy and technology as an integral tool.
Moving forward, the John Oliver Mini School seeks students who are highly motivated, creative, able to think critically and who have a strong desire to become well-rounded global digital citizens. Supportive parental involvement is welcomed and encouraged. Students who are motivated, well-rounded, intellectually curious, academically capable, and with an interest in the pursuit of excellence, enrichment and new and challenging experiences should apply to the J.O. Mini School Program. Students and parents who wish to be part of the J.O. Mini School understand and accept the challenges and responsibilities, and that a 5 year commitment to the program is required. This program is not recommended for those who wish to transfer part-way through their 5 year commitment to another program.
An emphasis is placed on learning and developing leadership skills, community service and social responsibility. As such, all mini school students enroll in the Leadership 10 course in their grade 9 year. Academic acceleration or enrichment occurs in the subject areas of Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Technology and innovation are key components of several subjects across the curriculum.
As the program continues to evolve and endeavours to provide students with a technology supported and enhanced learning environment with the aim of nurturing students in their goal to learn, adapt, and thrive in our new technology rich world, beginning in 2010-11, each incoming student will work with a laptop in which he/she will be able to learn, build, and improve upon their skills and knowledge by learning through rich media and web-based delivered content in a wireless classroom. Computer technology and related aspects will be integrated into the core academic areas and grade 8 students will also receive a block of Information Technology to support their learning. In the third year of the Digital Immersion Mini School, students will have the option to pursue an area of interest or passion in a year long course of their own design – an opportunity to explore an area of technological interest or produce an original work in their field of choice.
Skills and knowledge of various outdoor activities are developed through various field trips each year, with these field study experiences being linked to the specific curriculum of the various subject areas. Each year there are generally three major field trips, each usually a week long in duration. Destinations have included Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Okanagan, the Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. All students in the J.O. Mini School are expected to take advantage of the educational opportunities that each field trip provides; therefore, full participation is strongly encouraged. As well, specific subject areas may also include day-trips in their respective courses such as visits to the provincial legislature or Bard on the Beach. Many activities and challenges of the JO Mini School Program also compliment the objectives of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and students are encouraged to complete the various levels as suited to their specific endeavours.
All the curricular and extracurricular programs and facilities of John Oliver Secondary are accessible to students of the J.O. Mini School. J.O. Mini School students are expected to be involved in various aspects of the school community and student life, from athletics and fine arts to clubs, academic competitions and service.
As a member of the John Oliver Mini School, each student is encouraged to challenge themselves, to broaden their personal horizons and to pursue excellence in all facets of their educational experience.
The philosophy of the program is to encourage the all-round development of each student, in mind and in body. Each student is expected to further their areas of strength while also working on areas that need improving.
The John Oliver Mini School has three areas of focus in student development: academic achievement, physical fitness, and leadership. Student programs will include academic acceleration and/or enrichment, skill acquisition and development in traditional physical education as well as outdoor education activities, and opportunities in individual and collective leadership in the school and in the community.
To enjoy the benefits and privileges offered by the program, all John Oliver Mini School students are expected to uphold the following principles and expectations, both in and out of the classroom:
Challenge – to push oneself to do better and to encourage each other to collectively improve to achieve greater heights in pursuit of excellence
– students will maintain good attendance and academic standards to the best of their ability
– students will seek to maximize and broaden their educational opportunities with their full participation in field studies and related activities provided
– students will examine and confront pre-conceived notions in seeking resolutions in a positive and adaptive manner
Leadership – to make positive impact in the school and community, through individual and collective efforts, representing the program and school
– students will demonstrate positive citizenship and social responsibility
– students will support other members of the learning community and help foster a positive learning environment respecting individual differences and learning needs
– students will be self-motivated and concurrently be able to work independently as well as collaboratively
Perseverance, determination and dedication are qualities that are essential in student success, as are honesty and trust, which form the basis of the teacher-student relationship in the program. Therefore, the program’s prerogative is to provide a challenging and varied educational experience in this context, providing assistance and support where needed as students strive to meet their challenges. However, students failing to meet the expectations and requirements of the program will be presented with a series of outcomes that range from additional support to remedial measures. It must be noted that the John Oliver Mini School educational program – like all alternate programs – may not meet the needs of all students and in cases where the aforementioned support and intervention processes have not met with success, the result may be reassignment of the student into a more appropriate educational plan.
We wish you the best in your educational pursuits,
The J.O. Mini School Teachers