Junior High Bridging Program

Philosopy

The focus of the Next Step Junior High Program is to provide students in grades 8 and 9 with a modified, flexible and personalized school schedule. Class sizes are small; include school supports; and are provided in a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe environment. The program supports students in the four core subjects: language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Additionally, students will progress through health and wellness course materials. Next Step believes in establishing the virtues of an accepting, respectful, individualized learning environment based on responsibility. The program endeavours to support a student’s eventual return to their home school and transition successfully to a senior high school setting. 

Structure

Each student receives teacher-led instruction, self-paced learning and educational support in the four core subjects: language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Health and wellness course programming will be woven throughout their time at Next Step. Classes are organized by grade groupings, when possible, at the following times: 

Grade 9 Morning Group – 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. 

  • math and language arts are taught daily 
  • social studies and science are taught on alternate days 

Grade 8 Afternoon Group – 12:30 to 3:15 p.m. 

  • math and language arts are taught daily 
  • social studies and science are taught on alternate days 

NOTE: Core subject times may vary given the grade grouping, class size and teacher preference. 
Students will have scheduled break times during morning or afternoon class. 

Non-instruction times: 
During non-instruction times, attendance is not required at the school. However, students are expected to pursue organized enrichment, personal interests or outside club activities at this time. 

Course material: 
All course materials are posted on Brightspace for Students. Project-based cross-curricular learning activities will be utilized as part of the learning process.  

Student profile:  
The Next Step Junior High Program supports students who: 

  • have difficulty participating in regular school routines, difficulty participating in the general school and classroom environment because of social concerns, mental health issues or attendance challenges;  
  • are participating in extracurricular or high-performance sport activities where regular attendance may be challenging; 
  • are experiencing challenges with social relationships; 
  • are capable of achieving at, or near, grade level; 
  • are achieving beyond grade level; 
  • require a modified school timetable—focused on the four core subject areas—to address mental health, social interaction and the transition to a regular classroom, when appropriate; 
  • are supported by a parent, guardian or caregiver who can provide alternative supervision and activities outlined in the student’s individual program plan during the non-instructional portion of the school day. 

Eligibility

Students eligible for the Next Step Junior High Program must: 

  • be a current EIPS-based student or reside within the Division’s attendance boundary; 
  • meet the criteria listed in the “student profile” above; and 
  • be referred and recommended by administration at their current school. 

Registration Process

How to register for the Next Step Junior High Program: 

  1. Families wanting to explore the program must express interest to administration at their current school—outlining rationale.
  2. Administration will refer the student to the Next Step Junior High Program—outlining rationale.
  3. After receiving the referral, Next Step Junior High administration will reach out to the family, offer details about the program and expectations.
  4. The family will then meet with Administration to discuss the following:
    • overview of expectations, criteria and limitation;
    • overview of how the program works, hours and location;
    • a description of expectations from the family to ensure success;
    • information about underlying issues relating to the need for alternative programming; 
  5. Administration and the Specialized Supports staff will review the request and determine student’s eligibility for the program. 
  6. If accepted, a family intake meeting is scheduled with the teacher:
    • to define expectations for attendance, behaviour, family supports and participation; and
    • to establish a plan for the alternative activities during the non-instructional time.

Expectations

Parent, guardian or caregiver: 
Because of Next Step Junior High Program's unique nature, parental support is necessary to ensure its success. Parents, guardians or caregivers must commit to providing supervision during the non-instructional hours, which includes structuring optional activities outside of class. In addition, families must arrange for transportation to and from school to access the program.  

Study and review: 
All expectations around studying and reviewing class material are the same as traditional school. On an ongoing basis, students need to dedicate time outside of class to complete homework, review, read and study. 

Attendance

Regular attendance and arriving on time are strongly encouraged. It’s also expected that appointments are booked outside of instructional time. If a student is absent, the family must let the school know by calling 780-464-1899 or via email to the teacher. Students are responsible for all missed materials as a result of absences. 

Should regular attendance be a challenge, speak to the teacher directly. The school will develop a plan to help with attendance and connect the student to supports outside of the school. 

Behaviour

Positive behaviour is always expected from all students attending Next Step Junior High. To ensure a welcoming, inclusive, safe and respectful environment, co-operation is needed among students, teachers and staff in the classroom and throughout the school site. 

Transportation

Transportation to and from the school is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. Some students may be able to access EIPS Student Transportation. To learn more, contact Student Transportation at 780-417-8151. 

EIPS Student Transportation

Communication

The success of the Next Step Junior High Program depends on ongoing communication between the teacher and family. As such, its imperative both the student and the family have access to PowerSchool—and they check it regularly. In addition to PowerSchool, other communication methods including email, phone calls and frequent updates on Brightspace. The first line of communication is with the classroom teacher. 

Programming

Next Step will work closely with the family to determine an appropriate level of support and activities required based on individual needs and circumstances.  

All students enrolled in the Next Step Junior High Program receive a half-day of instructional support. They are required, by legislation, to spend the balance of the day on instructional pursuits. It’s the family’s responsibility to help arrange, support and monitor the non-instructional time and complete a monthly report outlining the attendance and completion of these activities. Upon acceptance, the student and family, together with the teacher, need to submit a Commitment Form and an Activity Schedule that meets the instructional and activity requirements. 

Next Step Outreach

Next Step Junior High encourages all students and families enrolled in the program to familiarize themselves with alternative education opportunities at the school—by reviewing documents and information available at www.eipsnextstep.ca. 

If you have any further questions or concerns about the program or alternative programming, contact the school directly at 780-464-1899.