Iqaluit high school launches practical learning program

“We’re recognizing what happens outside of our walls”

Students won’t be returning to Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School this school year, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop earning credits, thanks to a new initiative that allows them to complete activities outside the classroom for credit. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

The doors of Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School may not be open to students for the rest of the school year, but that doesn’t mean students won’t be able to earn credits outside the classroom.

From now until June 19, the school’s students can submit activities they do for possible credit as part of a new practical learning program.

“We’re recognizing what happens outside of our walls,” said Steve Carter, the teacher heading up the program.

“Realistically, the opportunities are endless.”

The program is Inuksuk High School’s response to one of Education Minister David Joanasie’s messages to Nunavummiut on April 17, when classes were cancelled.

“On the land activities like hunting and fishing complement student learning,” said Joanasie.

“The department encourages these activities.”

Now, so does Inuksuk High School.

“Typically students would only be able to earn those credits when they participate in those activities under our direction,” said Tim Hoyt, Inuksuk’s principal, referring to the existing on-the-land programs offered by the high school.

“But with the COVID-19, we were allowed to offer the program this special way under these circumstances, which we’re very excited about because it just further acknowledges the importance of those activities.”

So far Carter has heard from students doing everything from beadwork and snowmobile maintenance to fishing and hunting.

For the Education Department, these activities complement the skills and knowledge students acquire through the school year.

Recently, Carter had a parent reach out to him whose child was helping build a cabin.

“That’s a great practical learning experience. What better way to learn how to make something and learn about construction technology than building a cabin,” he said.

“It’s really important that we recognize that.”

But Carter also points out that the program is an opportunity for students who may not be as successful in the typical school setting to really showcase what they can do.

“This is an opportunity for them to do what they really like to do, what they’re really good at, and hopefully earn some credit.”

While the exact conversion of practical learning hours into high school credits is still a work in progress, Carter says it’ll likely be in the ballpark of 25 hours for one credit, the same as it is for similar classwork.

For students and parents who would like to participate, the logbook form can be found on the Inuksuk High School Facebook page and must be submitted to Carter by June 19.

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