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FAQs

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+ 1. Why are you changing MACC?

The current MACC model was introduced more than 30 years ago, and although it was forward-thinking at the time, recent international peer-reviewed research shows learners with a gifted designation thrive in a regular classroom setting where learning is tailored to meet the needs of everyone in class.

As the needs of learners are ever-changing, the District places a strong emphasis on program offerings that are dynamic and responsive to this growth and development. 

+ 2. How are you translating a year-long education program into six weeks without losing the depth and insights of the previously designed MACC?

The curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education is designed to support all learners, including those with diverse needs, in the mainstream classroom setting.

The curriculum offered at the new proposed program, Gifted Enrichment Centres (GEC) will augment the Ministry of Education curriculum by providing enrichment above and beyond what is typically offered in the mandated Provincial curriculum. Enrichment programming, whether it is offered in the mainstream classroom setting or beyond, is a requirement for all students with a Gifted (P) Designation.

The GEC model is designed specifically for students who are seeking enrichment and is being developed with their needs in mind, first and foremost. Students can return to the GECs repeatedly throughout the year, enabling and empowering them to explore a wide breadth and variety of topics and interests.

+ 3. How will students keep up with their regular course work if they attended GEC?

The curriculum is not being missed but rather the student is engaged in a different way through the enriched learning opportunities offered at the Gifted Enrichment Centres (GEC).  At GECs learning is complimentary and augmentative to the curriculum being offered in their catchment school.

It is very common for many students participate in short-term programming under the District Learning Services umbrella. These students successfully transition back into their catchment school setting at the conclusion of the program and adjust quickly to the change in educational setting.

+ 4. How can you guarantee the quality of education won’t downgrade in this new proposed model?

The quality of education will be enhanced with this new model. The revised model is specifically designed to meet the needs of students with a gifted designation, and to provide service above and beyond, as mandated by the Ministry of Education.

Segregating gifted students and individuals with diverse needs amongst themselves was a practice that was supported in research from the 20th century, however that research is decades-old and therefore out of date. Recent international peer-reviewed research shows learners with a gifted designation thrive in a regular classroom setting where learning is tailored to meet the needs of everyone in class. How students are taught has evolved over the years and the MACC program should evolve with it.

Furthermore, by going to their catchment school and an enrichment centre, the revised program will offer students different learning environments which will also help them to develop skills to successfully navigate the world outside of the school setting.

The shift in service delivery would also allow students to maintain connections with their catchment school friends while meeting new students at the proposed gifted enrichment centre, something the current MACC model does not allow.  The revised model develops a student’s problem-solving, social and inter-personal skills, all the while providing an enriched curriculum. The current model excludes students from receiving additional supports because they are segregated in a program. With the introduction of GEC, students will have access to more supports and different programing options than before. For instance, students can attend both GEC and social emotional learning programing, whereas the current MACC students could only attend one or the other.

+ 5. How can you ensure gifted students will still have their needs met?

MACC is Gifted education. The GECs are Gifted education. The service delivery model of each is very different but both models represent practices within Gifted Education. Both models meet the Ministry of Education standards and required delivery of service above and beyond the curriculum for students with P (Gifted) Designations.

+ 6. Where will you locate the classes?

Since its inception, MACC has always been a program designed for students with a P (Gifted) Designation. It was not designed for students who are twice-exceptional. The District offers specific learning support programs for students who have twice-exceptionalities in their learning profiles. More information can be found here.

+ 7. Why are you cancelling MACC when three other school districts continue to host the MACC program.

The pilot GEC is being introduced in order to bring the District’s program into alignment with the redesigned BC curriculum and inclusive best practices. Province-wide, education has evolved since MACC was first developed approximately 30 years ago. Out of the 60 school districts in BC, there are only four school Districts, including Vancouver, that have versions of the current MACC model. Most school districts in Metro Vancouver have implemented an inclusion model for gifted programming in which students with a Gifted designations are supported in the mainstream classroom setting and implement models that are similar to the Gifted Enrichment Centres.

+ 8. Why can’t you keep the current version of MACC and implement GECs?

The MACC model is not aligned with the BC Redesigned Curriculum. The current MACC model, segregating students, is not best practice anymore. The new service delivery model represents current and inclusive best practice. The two models differ significantly because the MACC model required updating to reflect the move from segregation to inclusion.

We are evolving the program to be in line with today's curriculum, introduced by the Ministry of Education in 2016. The shift in today’s education focuses on concepts instead of content, on how to learn rather than what is learned, and, on developing critical thinking skills in place of memorization. We moving towards a service delivery model that meets the current needs of students within the changing education context, with meaningful inclusion for all students at the forefront.

+ 9. This feels like a program cancellation. Do these changes need to have Board approval?

The current MACC model was introduced more than 30 years ago, and although it was forward-thinking at the time, recent international peer-reviewed research shows segregating learners is not best practice.

Changes to programs are operational. District staff have the ability to change or cancel programs to adapt to the changing needs of learners; The Board approves policy changes. As experts in education, District staff often revise or adjust programs and service delivery models in order to meet the current needs of students within the changing context. With over 70 District programs, continuously reviewing these programs is standard and an ongoing practice for the District.

+ 10. You’ve cut the honours program, now you are cutting MACC, why are you targeting special education?

The BC curriculum was redesigned in 2016 to support differentiated instruction and enriched learning, and as such all schools in Vancouver offer challenging and comprehensive programs.

The shift in today’s education focuses on concepts instead of content, on how to learn rather than what is learned, and, on developing critical thinking skills in place of memorization.  There is a fundamental shift to make education more inclusive as part of the redesigned curriculum, as such, honours classes were phased out because the same learning opportunities are embedded in the revised curriculum.  

For students with the academic aptitude, the District and schools provide many opportunities for accelerated learning and enrichment. Teachers are able to provide differentiated and enriched instruction to support all levels of learners, including those highly able. In addition, students who excel and have the ability, can enrol in classes beyond their current grade level to keep them academically motivated. Furthermore, the District offers programs that provide enrichment opportunities for highly motivated students through mini schools, the international bachelorette program and advanced placement courses in later years.

+ 11. How will the new proposed model differ from the current MACC model?

The District is committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, while continuing to follow the BC Curriculum in all schools. The revised program focuses on five pillars of equity:

  • Equity of location: each quadrant in the District will house a centre, making it walking distance for students.
  • Equity of access: Multi-week enrichment sessions increase student access and participation in the program.
  • Equity of development: : the new model exposes students to different learning environments in order to better navigate the world outside of a classroom setting.
  • Equity of admission: The revised model is inclusive and prioritizes the removal of barriers for students.
  • Equity of service: The revised model fosters student agency by allowing students to choose to attend once, or multiple times a year to engage in deeper learning opportunities

+ 12. What will happen to the current MACC students?

Changes to MACC will be phased in. No current MACC student will be asked to leave the program. Every student currently enrolled in MACC can choose to finish future grades they have left in the program at the end of Grade 7.

+ 13. Will the current MACC classes continue to intake new students?

Based on feedback from the engagement workshops, intake for students in grades 5-7 will continue for the current MACC programs for September 2022—referrrals from schools are currently being received by District Learning Services. Students who will be in grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 in September 2022 can be referred to the pilot Gifted Enrichment Centre by school teams. All referrals are submitted to District Learning Services by the catchment school. More information regarding the referral process will be provided to schools in the coming weeks. Students who are currently in Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 will be eligible for referrals to be submitted to District Learning Services in Spring 2022 for GEC placements for the coming school year.

+ 14. When will the new program begin?

With four MACCs currently in operation, the District is in a unique position and able to use one current MACC as a pilot centre to implement the changes. The pilot will incorporate public feedback and input obtained through the engagement process.

The pilot Gifted Enrichment Centre (GEC) will begin in September 2022 and operate for six, six-week sessions over the course of the 2022-2023 school year. District staff will assess the pilot project and will evaluate the benefits, challenges and any necessary changes to the program. The District will review the learning activities, learning topics, and length of learning as part of this pilot. All four GECs are scheduled to be in place by September 2025.

+ 15. Where will you locate the classes?

The revised MACC program would locate each enrichment centre in one of the four quadrants of the District (north, east, south, west), increasing accessibility and significantly decreasing travel for students and families.

Each centre would be within 1.4 KM away from any given elementary school, making the centre walking distance and geographically easier to access than before. Currently, there are three MACC classes on the west side of Vancouver and one on the east side of Vancouver.

+ 16. How many students can attend the revised MACC/Gifted Enrichment Centre?

The proposed revisioning of service delivery would support more students in the District by increasing the total number of spaces in the program from 80 to potentially more than 700 students each year.

Based on peer-reviewed research, the District is proposing to offer six 6-week enrichment sessions throughout the school year where students could explore a broad range of topics in depth. If this service delivery option were to proceed, approximately 720 students per year could receive enriched project-based instruction. The District will use feedback from the engagement to determine the final length of time for each enrichment session. 

+ 17. Who can apply to Gifted Enrichment Centres?

Unlike the current model where referrals are generated based in large part on findings from a psychoeducational assessment or other standardized testing, the revised model provides a flexible referral system, encouraging more students to attend the enrichment centre.

The revised program is designed for students with demonstrated ability and an articulated desire to engage in deeper learning about a given area. Any student from Grade 4 to7 can be referred by the school team; self-referrals and parent referrals will also be considered, with school team support. Students who demonstrate an interest, passion, and aptitude in a topic can access the programming offered.

Enrichment opportunities will include a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, STEM, music, theatre, poetry, history, current events. A final list will be determined as part of the MACC engagement process.

+ 18. How can I enroll my child in a GEC?

With four MACCs currently in operation, the District is in a unique position and able to use one current MACC as a pilot centre to implement the changes. The pilot will include public’s hopes, desires and aspirations obtained through the engagement process.

At this time we are still in the development phase of the pilot. Schools will be informed of the new pilot program in Spring 2022, at which time they will be given direction on the application process, timelines and steps for the next school year. Families can follow up with their teacher or administrator in late Spring.

+ 19. Now that you are not offering a year long program, is there a limit as to how many times each student can attend a session?

The revised model is designed to allow for repeat visits in a school year, complemented by daily enrichment support and differentiated learning in the mainstream classroom setting. Students are welcome to attend the Gifted Enrichment Centre multiple times and participate in repeat visits so that they may engage in enrichment activities within different topics of interest.

Unlike the current model where students must be formally tested and who have a designation as gifted by the Ministry, the revised model allows students with any demonstrated ability and an expressed desire to engage in deeper learning to participate.

+ 20. What evidence supports the recommended six-week service model?

Learning Services Department engaged in comprehensive research in Gifted Education and Inclusion and the GEC model is well-supported by that research. A six-week span for pull-out gifted programming is the most well-supported and frequently implemented time frame in educational research. The research can be found here.

+ 21. What if you are oversubscribed in the new program, how will you prioritize students?

The proposed revisioning of service delivery would support more students in the District by increasing the total number of spaces in the program from 80 to potentially more than 700 students each year.

In receiving referrals, District Learning Services will be prioritizing students who have a Ministry P Designation (Gifted) first, and those who fit criteria for a Gifted Designation.

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