Esquimalt High Schools 4C Challenge Program has been delivered continuously since 1979. Throughout the program's history we have stayed committed to our goal of delivering differentiated and enriched curriculum to intellectually gifted, creative and talented students.
Our program is commonly called the 4C Challenge Program. The 4C's stand for:
- Commitment to Tasks
- Creative Problem Solving
- Challenging Curriculum and Assignments, and
- Community Involvement.
The 4C's are worked into the programs three basic elements which include intellectual components, social / emotional components, and ability grouping.
Students' intellectual abilities are developed in a variety of ways from academic enrichment to special projects; from critical philosophy to self directed learning. At Esquimalt High School, all grade 9 students in the 4C Program take the Integrated Studies & Philosophy course which underpins their studies right through to grade 12. In this course students study major thinkers in the western traditions from Socrates to Nietzsche, and also investigate trends in eastern philosophy. Ethics, morality, metaphysics, and politics are all addressed in this course. Critical thinking skills are taught and developed. This background and these skills assist students in all of their studies throughout the program.
Students in grade 11 build on this work in the Integrated Studies & Philosophy 11 course. This course focusses on post modern philosophy and contemporary issues. The Integrated Studies & Philosophy 11 course helps students develop advanced research and presentation skills through the pursuit of a major project. This allows students to delve into a passion or burning question which may not be addressed in the normal course of their studies. Students then give a formal presentation on this topic. Scholarship exploration and a serious consideration of life following high school are also covered in this course.
Students in the 4C Program also have the option of studying to take Advanced Placement exams in many grade 12 academic subjects. These are university level exams, a qualifying grade on which allows students to earn credit for first year university courses at many Canadian universities. The enriched and often advanced nature of 4C Challenge courses effectively prepares students for these exams.
Esquimalt High School's four-block semestered timetable allows students the opportunity to take university courses during high school. Some of our most intellectually able students appreciate this level of enrichment and/or the opportunity for acceleration in a subject area.
The 4C Challenge Program is extremely flexible and can accommodate all kinds of Independent Directed Studies courses. We strongly encourage students to explore this option at some time during their four years with us. Independent Directed Studies courses allow students with a specific interest to find a teacher or outside mentor who will guide them through an investigation of that subject. Students have completed directed studies courses on topics ranging from Science, History, Philosophy and Literature, to Jazz standards, Chinese Poetry, Architecture, String Theory and Post-Modernism.
The social/emotional component of the 4C Challenge Program is developed in many ways. Students organize and participate in a variety of social events throughout the year such as BBQ's, dances, camping trips, movie nights, talents shows etc. These events give students the opportunity to develop socially in a safe and supported setting.
Grade 9 students participate in a retreat at the beginning of their grade 9 year. This is a trip which takes place at Caleb Pike Heritage Park. At this retreat, students examine what is meant by giftedness, what the joys and struggles of being a gifted learner might be, and what a holistic gifted educations might look like. Students participate in individual and group goal setting activities, and work together to make the retreat an enriching and nourishing experience. Students also participate in a number of physical activities at this retreat, such as hiking, dancing, and Martial Arts. In this way, the retreat attempts to attend to the development of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit
Each year, students in all grades also organize and attend a conference that focuses on a theme selected by the students. This conference takes place at the University of Victoria where guest speakers offer workshops and presentations related to the theme. The students then explore ways to apply their new knowledge to contribute to their community. Students have organized benefit concerts, awareness campaigns, ecological clean-up initiatives, outreach for the homeless, and political actions among other events. This community action component of the 4C Challenge Program attempts to further develop students' social and emotional skills.
Each year students also organize a forum where they discuss their ideas for improving the 4C Challenge Program with the teachers. These forums allow us to work with students to continually tailor the program to meet their needs. Several initiatives such as the conferences, new courses, and social events have resulted from these forums.
Students also maintain a system of government within the 4C Challenge Program. Each grade elects one male and one female student representative each year. These representatives work together to coordinate communications between staff and students and between grades in the program. They also coordinate social events and other initiatives brought forward by students. Grade reps do not take on all the work themselves but learn to delegate and coordinate rather than "do it all". These students play an important role in providing students a place to voice their ideas and concerns, in acting as liaisons between staff and students, and in making things happen in the program.
Students in the 4C Challenge Program benefit from learning in academic classes with peers who share an interest in academic excellence and who are creative about how they learn, what they learn, and how they express their knowledge or insights into any given subject area. A spirit of cooperation is fostered in the classroom and students often comment that the 4C classroom provides them with a place to interact with their peers in a safe, constant and stimulating environment. It is a tribute to the students in this program that the 4C culture really lacks the cut-throat competitiveness often associated with highly motivated learners. The social / emotional components of the program generate a real need for these students to work together to achieve a goal, whether it be completing a class project, organizing a trip or raising money for a women's shelter. All of this lends to a culture of cooperation and mutual support.
We are very excited to now be offering a French Immersion Program at Esquimalt High School and have many students who are registered in both the 4C Challenge and French Immersion Programs at the same time. We have managed to organize the two programs in such a way that they dovetail nicely into one another and provide students with the double advantage of a Dual Dogwood and Gifted Program Graduation.
Students passionate about music should know that many Challenge students take advantage of Esquimalt High School's highly regarded Jazz Studies programs, as well as participating in string and woodwind ensembles, bands, and choir. Much of the music program is offered outside of the timetable, allowing students to take many electives in addition to their music studies. For more information check out Jazz Studies under the Career Programs section of the Academics menu on our website.
Students at Esquimalt High School have received the highest marks in the province on Provincial exams, won first place in the Fame Math Competition and regularly score well in national math competitions. Awards at the Canada-Wide Science Fair are consistently won by our students and our grade 12 students regularly win full scholarships to colleges and universities across Canada and the U.S. Esquimalt High School graduates have gone on to study at Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, McGill, Queen's, the University of Toronto and almost all of Canada's most prestigious universities.
The 4C Challenge Program has helped prepare students whose achievements have been recognized with Fullbright, Merit, and Rhodes Scholarships and a variety of other awards including the Young Women of Distinction Award. Other 4C Challenge Program graduates have been accepted by United World Colleges in Hong Kong, Italy and Wales.
Esquimalt High School offers students every advantage when it comes to winning scholarships and attaining admission to universities both nationally and internationally. The 4C Challenge Program has a strong reputation with universities and awards committees across Canada and we have a dedicated academic counselling staff who work tirelessly to assist students with scholarship and awards applications.
Criteria for Probation and Withdrawal from the 4C Challenge Program
Although withdrawal from the 4C Challenge Program is rare, and indeed we expect, and are used to, the following issues not being a problem, students and staff alike feel that a clearly defined process for probation and withdrawal helps both students and program staff.
A student will receive a letter of probation for the following reasons:
1. Suspension from school for any reason.
2. Plagiarism and/or cheating. This includes handing in the same work for more than one assignment, lifting copy directly from the internet, presenting the work of others as your own, cheating on tests, in team settings, in competitions etc.
3. Chronic, unexcused absences, or tardiness.
4. Two “needs improvement” evaluations for “work habits” on report cards. “Needs improvement” evaluation will be given to students who display behavior that is disruptive to fellow students and / or teachers; students who repeatedly submit late work without valid reason; students who are repeatedly late to class without valid reason; students who do not participate in class; students who are repeatedly unprepared for class.
5. Bullying as identified by any staff member. Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological or emotional and includes actions and/or words directed towards other students, teaching staff, support staff or administrative staff delivered in face to face or online.
6. Repeated assertions, written or verbal, of a desire not to be in the 4C Challenge program.
A student will be withdrawn from the program for the following reasons:
1. Withdrawal from, or failure to complete, any required 4C Challenge program course.
2. Receipt of a probation letter followed by further failure to meet the 4C Challenge program standards as demonstrated by situations as listed above.
If you have any questions, please contact the Program Coordinator, by phone or e-mail:
4C Challenge Program Coordinator
Esquimalt High School
847 Colville Road, Victoria, BC, V9A 4N9
Phone: (250) 382-9226 Fax: (250) 361-1263 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org