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New school programs bursting

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Two new Burnaby school district programs for advanced learners are full and plans are afoot to expand them in later years.

The Multi-Age Cluster Class (MACC) program will start at Capitol Hill elementary in September with two classes—grades 4/5 and 6/7. It will teach the curriculum in a challenging way to high-ability students from across Burnaby and allow them to learn amongst their peers.

The district prefers such an approach over allowing students to skip grades since it still allows children to develop and mature with their own age group, said school board chair Baljinder Narang in a January interview.

The MACC program will expand to another site in South Burnaby in September 2015, said director of instruction Wanda Mitchell, in the minutes for the district's education committee meeting last week.

A district committee of parents, teachers, administrators and staff will design a mini-school model to allow the MACC students to continue on at Alpha secondary starting in September 2015. More spaces for students who meet the program's criteria will be available at the mini-school.

Then starting in September 2016, the mini-school and Twice-Exceptional programs at Alpha will be extended to include Grade 9 students. Another mini-school will also be added in 2016 in South Burnaby.

Meanwhile, the Advanced Placement Capstone Program will start in September at both Burnaby North and Burnaby South secondaries.

The program is developed by the same College Board that created AP and offers development of critical thinking skills and personalized learning, as well as an academic challenge and preparation for university.

Both the Capstone and MACC programs are at capacity.

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