Grade 8 & 9 Program Info

​Nu'wilum, Bienvenue, Welcome

To the Ballenas Learning Community

Today we live in a state of constant change. British Columbia’s curriculum has been modernized to respond to this demanding world and, at Ballenas, we agree that to prepare students for the future, the curriculum must be student-centred and flexible, with a focus on literacy and math skills. Through our linear, cohort-structured Grade 8 and 9 Program, Ballenas provides space and time for students to develop their skills and explore their passions and interests. The deep understanding and application of knowledge is at the centre of the new model, as opposed to the memory and recall of facts that previously shaped education. These critical skills are the foundation of B.C.’s education system, and are a key component of the Ballenas philosophy in developing educated citizens for a changing world.
Ballenas Secondary School Timetable
There are 3 blocks per day, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Wednesdays are unique as students have a Flex block in the morning along with Homeroom, and two shorter afternoon classes. Our long mornings allow classes the opportunity to go deep or engage in projects or other hands-on activities such as labs.

Course Selection

Grade 8 and 9 students enroll in either the English or French Immersion Program. Both programs are linear and require students to take English/ Social Studies, Math/ Science, Physical Education and Health & Careers. Additionally, the English cohort is required to take French 8.

Exploration Courses

Grade 8 students take exploration courses each year. These are a combination of Applied Skills (Electronics, Woodworking, Metal Work), Fine Arts (Visual Arts, Drama), Band and Applied Design, introducing them to a wide range of subject offerings. Grade 9 students are offered electives in similar Applied Skills, Fine Arts, Band, Leadership, French and Spanish.

Specialty Programs

Grade 8 and 9 students may register in a variety of programs including Hockey and Golf. The prerequisite for the Dance Program requires approval from the student’s dance school. Grade 9 students may also enroll in Outdoor Pursuits or Swimming. Please note, some programs have additional fees.

Flex Learning

Ballenas offers a Flex Learning block to all students on Wednesday morning. This unique offering provides Grade 8 and 9 students with the opportunity to seek additional teacher support, learn in open flexible learning spaces, or pursue their shared passions through the guidance of a teacher


Students are more likely to succeed when they feel connected to their school. To build supportive relationships, we have created a school-wide Homeroom (seniors call it Career-Life Connections), intended to connect one group of students with a dedicated teacher –advisor. This weekly block include peer- to peer mentoring and teacher guidance in both academic and lifeskills.

Circle of Courage

Ballenas has adopted the “Circle of Courage” as our underlying school philosophy. The Circle of Courage is grounded in four universal growth needs of all children:
  • belonging
  • mastery
  • independence
  • generosity
Grade 8 and 9 students are encouraged to feel a sense of Belonging and Independence through our linear programming and cohort groupings.