Jemma Van Grol, Sara Walmsley and Tiffany Jang of the Alex Hope Elementary Humanitarian Club took part in the 2018 IDEA Summit. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley’s high school entrepreneur course isn’t just for business types

IDEA 12 is for students in Grades 10 to 12 and the deadline to sign up is fast approaching

The Langley School District is looking for students in Grades 10 to 12 to sign up for its entrepreneurship course at the Langley Education Centre but staff can’t say what the program will look like. That’s because a lot of it is up to the students.

The course name IDEA 12 sums up what it’s about – innovation, design, entrepreneurship and altruism. The course will be offered Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Langley Education Centre starting Sept. 11. Beyond that, the structure is about supporting the students.

Tomlinson said the district has planned the course to allow students to pursue projects or ideas, and includes mentorship, by connecting students with experts out in community. But the program isn’t just for those students eyeing a business degree or interested starting their own companies.

“The whole notion of entrepreneurship is so much bigger than business,” she noted.

Unlike a traditional academic course with a schedule set out, IDEA 12 is there to support the students as they develop their idea, campaign or project.

“We had a think tank” about four years ago on how to develop better real world skills for students, including entrepreneurialism, explained Dawne Tomlinson, district director of instruction.

The district started on this new direction before the province’s new curriculum came down and included a new focus on outside the box thinking, design, marketing, finances, calculating risk, and problem solving. People working in various sectors need entrepreneurial skills including artists, manufacturers, trades, and more. The students will also have to compete in a Dragon’s Den style competition judged by local professionals.

“When we look at our kids, we’re graduating them into such a different world,” she explained.

So the district decided it needed to create a programming that allowed students to gain the skills they would need in society, including entrepreneurship.

“As teachers, we’re not necessarily entrepreneurial,” Tomlinson said.

So the course is about how teachers can help students learn the new skills needed in the future. In recent years the district sought outside help, bringing in the PowerPlay program. It also started the Idea Summit for the middle grades.

“The piece that we were missing was the secondary,” she said.

Last year the school hosted the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program, but IDEA 12 was created by the district. The course is open to any Langley student in Grades 10 to 12. There is a fall course and a second in the new year. People can sign up by contacting the LEC at or 604-534-7155.

“I would say it’s pretty unique,” Tomlinson said of IDEA 12.

The district has IDEA 12 and the Aviation Exploration 12 courses that no other district has and others are paying attention. She has fielded calls from other school districts asking for help creating entrepreneurial programs and courses.

Post secondary schools have contacted the district about student projects from the Idea Summit and a YELL student team created a prototype dental implant that calculates the calories people consume.

“I’d love this course to be offered in every school but we’re not there yet,” Tomlinson said. “We’re building a prototype of the course [at the LEC].”

And if students create something that catches the public imagination or succeeds in the marketplace, it’s those students who benefit. The district lays no claim to the products or campaigns created.

“That’s the ultimate goal – for us to propel their ideas forward, for us to support them,” Tomlinson said.


The Langley Education Centre (LEC) is home to a variety of programs and initiatives to help local students (of all ages) improve their learning.

In addition to offering the Aviation Explorations 12 and IDEA 12 programs, the LEC has self-paced programs.

CHOICES is for students in Grades 10 to 12 who could use some extra help with their courses at the LEC. The centre offers a variety of core academic and options courses. That can range from English and math to metal work and youth entrepreneurship.

Teens and adults can go to the LEC for various programs to help them get their high school diplomas, either through the Regular Dogwood program or the Adult Dogwood program for older people.

The LEC also has online and self-paced programming for students in Grades 10 to 12. They attend their regular schools but receive support through the LEC. The program for students in kindergarten through to Grade 9 is handled through the U-Connect program.

LEC operates on a trimester model, with structured classes in three sessions. Students can also take “Self-Paced” and Online classes throughout the year, with registration ending mid April.

Courses at LEC are tuition-free for those under 19 years of age and non-graduated adults. Graduated adults are tuition-free except for elective courses which are $375 per course.

The centre is located at 21405A 56th Ave.

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