4C Challenge Program

The Greater Victoria School District Challenge Program at Esquimalt High School:

The Greater Victoria School District Challenge Program at Esquimalt High serves the unique needs of gifted, creative, and talented learners. Students who see the world in unique ways and have a true love of deep and creative learning are grouped together in cohort style classes. The aim is to deliver enriched curriculum with teaching strategies that are suited to their intellectual, social, and emotional needs and abilities.

4C Challenge classes maximize the opportunities to enrich students’ learning, support students’ self-directed studies, autonomous learning, and social and emotional well-being. The 4C Challenge Program develops students’ cognitive abilities through differentiated curriculum, acceleration, and enrichment enabling students to achieve their full learning potential.

The program is centered on what we refer to as the four “Cs”:

  • commitment to tasks;
  • creative problem solving;
  • challenging curriculum and assignments and;
  • community involvement


*please note an earlier version stated the deadline of January 24th for the applications. The deadline is JANUARY 20th, 2020. 

Challenge Application Form 2020

Challenge Dates 2020

4C Common Questions

Course Outline for Challenge Students

4C Application Appeals Process

Jamie Burren
4C Challenge Program Coordinator
Esquimalt High School
847 Colville Road, Victoria, BC, V9A 4N9
Phone: (250) 382-9226 Fax: (250) 361-1263 Email: jburren@sd61.bc.ca

Teacher Profiles


Jamie Burren

Jamie has been a teacher in the Victoria School District since 2013. He found his way to Esquimalt in the fall of 2017 and knew that he had has found his home. Jamie has recently completed his Master’s Thesis in Curriculum and Instruction examining the potential of using video games to English Language Arts. Jamie’s pedagogy involves finding authentic ways for students to explore their interests in passions in direct conjunction with their learning. Jamie has taught in the Flexible Studies program at Reynolds Secondary, and at The University of Victoria, and is drawn to working with students in alternative educational spaces. He is excited to take on the role of Challenge Coordinator at Esquimalt High.

Dana Bjornson

Mrs Bjornson’s ClassroomMrs. Bjornson was a grade 8 4C Challenge student at Esquimalt High School in 1985.  Studies at the University of British Columbia, Royal Roads Military College, and the University of Victoria led her to a degree in Physics and Mathematics.  In 1997, during her teaching practicum at Esquimalt High School, she taught in both the Regular and 4C Challenge Program.  After a year teaching outside of BC, she returned to Esquimalt High School to teach Mathematics and Physics.Mrs. Bjornson, formerly Ms. Allingham, became a teacher for many reasons, but two particularly stand out.  Firstly, over the course of her education, she was inspired by some really amazing teachers and professors.  From Esquimalt alone, the likes of Mrs. Bohaker, Mrs. Parker, Mr. Dodds, Ms. Fortier, Mr. Wickstrom and Mr. Alexander, have all become part of her teaching persona.  High school was a difficult time for her (it wasn’t easy being one of the only punk rockers at ESQ in 1987!), yet these teachers helped her navigate through the most challenging of times. To be that kind of role model for someone else, to help them through a tough time, is what brings Mrs. Bjornson the most happiness as a teacher.  The second reason that Mrs. B chose teaching as her path is the fact that very nearly 100% of the time, she can be herself when she teaches and because of this, she has a really great time in the process!  When not laughing at herself, she is creating some sort of life analogy, to make the learning easier for her students. Greatly influenced in her formative years by Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall, the original Stars Wars trilogy and So I Married An Axe Murderer make for some slightly off the wall teaching approaches.  Making classes fun, engaging, educational, memorable and interactive is Mrs. Bjornson’s main goal as a teacher.When asked about her strengths as a teacher, she simply responded, “teaching”. Hard work, determination and perseverance is what led to almost straight A’s in her last three years of Math and Physics at UVIC. These marks did not come easy, to say the least!  She had to learn how to learn, and because of this, her teaching style is clear, concise and easy to follow for most students.Activities that Mrs. B has done in the past include the Spaghetti Bridge Competition, Physics 11 outreach with a local elementary school and a variety of guest speakers and career opportunity activities. Field trips also include visiting Camosun , UVIC, TRIUMF and Amusement Park Physics at Playland. (Check out this YouTube video from one of Mrs. Bjornson’s televised Physics demonstrations)Mrs. Bjornson, has also been participating for the last three years in UVIC’s VICTA high school outreach program. The VICTA (Vancouver Island Cosmic-ray Time-coincidence Array) project provides cosmic ray detectors and electronics to high school partners (Esquimalt, Belmont, Claremont and Parklands) for use in their educational programs.  The equipment provided allows high school students to detect cosmic ray showers, measure the lifetime and speed of muons, to perform a test of special relativity, and in general to develop an understanding of a radiation detector and how subatomic particles are detected.As a teacher in the 4C Challenge program for Math, Mrs. Bjornson differentiates the curriculum in a variety of ways. Why should anyone take 4C Challenge Math over Regular?  In Mrs. B’s class you will gain a deeper understanding of concepts, take part in a cooperative learning environment, experience content compacting (i.e. less busy work!) which allows for “fun math” exploration, and have better math contest preparation. There is also a lot less “micro-management” as students for the most part, are extremely self-motivated.Mrs. Bjornson continues to professionally develop not only in Math and Physics, but in the world of Social Media, Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram using @physicsfuntime.  Having two young children at home has somewhat clipped her wings extra-curricularly, however Mrs. B continues to give many hours of tutoring support at lunch and after-school, participates with the annual Grad Ski Trip and is an active member of the school’s Technology Committee.

Anita Roberts

Ms. Roberts hails from England and is a grateful settler on Lekwammen Territory.  She has been a university student since 1989 and holds a number of qualifications from various institutions. She looks forward to turning 65 when her tuition will be free! Ms. Roberts’ areas of scholarship include English literature and humanities, political science, creative writing and publishing, history in art, literacy instruction, and music. Her current academic focus is indigenous governance.Ms. Roberts began teaching at Vancouver’s Point Grey Mini School Gifted Education Program in 1997.  In 2000 she began teaching at Esquimalt High School’s 4C Challenge Program and was the Program Coordinator from 2003 until 2009.
At Esquimalt High, Ms. Roberts teaches “all the fun courses” including: Women’s Studies, Social Justice, Philosophy, Creative Writing, English Literature, Advanced Placement English, and English (with a twist).Ms. Roberts operates the Center for Latin Studies at Esquimalt High School and supports students pursuing a variety of Directed Studies courses which have, over the past few years, included courses in String Theory, Russian literature, postmodernism, film making, architecture, and contemporary choreography.  Ms. Roberts is also thrilled to be the teacher sponsor of the Esquimalt SLAM Poetry Collective.Ms. Roberts enjoys exposing students to the expansive education afforded by international travel and has chaperoned trips to Russia, Spain, Greece, Peru, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.Ms. Roberts welcomes all students to drop in to her classroom at any time and join the conversation!

Tim Bullard

Mr. Bullard grew up in Victoria, attended the Challenge Program at Cedar Hill Junior Secondary and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and M.Sc. in paleontology from the University of Alberta.  Rather than pursue a career as a professional paleontologist Mr. Bullard returned home to enroll in the University of Victoria’s Diploma in Secondary Teacher Education.  He has been a teacher in Victoria ever since.Mr. Bullard’s interest in the extraordinary complexity and beauty of organisms, both living and extinct, is his motivation for teaching, and he tries to pass on some of this fascination to his students.

Shannon Dunn

Clark Schwab

Clark Schwab grew up in Montreal where he attended a private boys school. Early experiences as a sailing instructor and camp counselor may have lead him to take up teaching later in life.  Along the way Mr. Schwab completed a Life Sciences diploma at John Abbott College and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biology at Queen’s University, spent two years at the Montreal General Hospital performing Multiple Sclerosis research and another two years as a trace organic analyst for a diagnostic chemicals lab.Mr. Schwab earned his teaching diploma at the University of Victoria and began teaching in 1993 in Special Education.  He later worked as a Resource Support teacher for special needs and behavioral students in Oak Bay High School’s Resource Room and received a Special Needs teaching qualification from School District 61 in 1999.  Mr. Schwab holds a Master of Education in Administration and Leadership from Gonzaga University.Mr. Schwab teaches Mathematics 9, Science 9 & 10 and Biology 11 as well as teaching in our Challenge program.  He says, “I am grateful for the positive energy and enthusiasm of the students I teach, and the wonderfully supportive staff at Esquimalt that have allowed me to explore my passion for teaching over these many years.”