View From SD73: Change that benefits our students

By Cara McKelvey , SD 73 Trustee

Kamloops This Week

While the start of the next school year seems a long way off, the time is now for students in grades 9, 10, or 11 to take ownership of their learning and personal growth.

The new graduation program, as well as an innovative revised curriculum, will benefit students entering their final years of school as secondary schools throughout the district will be offering new courses.

The principle at the centre of the revised curriculum is on our youth becoming educated citizens, balancing intellectual, human and social development with career development.

This means the program’s focus will continue to be on students developing foundation skills like reading, writing and math, while helping them build a range of other competencies that employers and post-secondary institutions are looking for, such as creative, analytical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

But what really changes?

There is a new career life program featuring two courses, or eight credits, of career education, including 30 hours of career experience and a capstone project that replaces planning 10 and graduation transitions 12.

These new career education courses will give students more opportunities to explore career pathways and develop the skills needed to manage career and life transitions — all the better to prepare students in their final years of secondary school for the future.

The graduation program aligns with the revised curriculum, designed to be more learner-focused and flexible, with an emphasis on big ideas, core competencies and learning standards.

Changes in curriculum are introduced every 10 to 15 years or so, but this is the first time the K-12 curriculum ensures Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are woven throughout all grades and areas of learning. New Indigenous-focused courses will be offered starting in September, including contemporary Indigenous studies 12 and B.C. First Peoples 12.

Other changes include expanded course options in each subject area and more flexibility in how those courses can be accessed.

For example, social studies could include Asian studies, genocide studies or human geography that could be in a local classroom or online.

In addition to providing more options, the courses will be designed to allow different teaching methods and to be accessible to all students.

For now, students in grades 10 to 12 will continue to receive report cards with letter grades and percentages for all courses, and still be required to complete at least 80 credits for graduation.

Students will take three new mandatory provincial graduation assessments; numeracy 10, literacy 10 and literacy 12. Numeracy 10 was implemented this year, literacy 10 takes place this September, with literacy 12 set for September 2020.

The results will be reported as standalone items on transcripts and will replace previous provincial examinations. These are not English or math exams; they will instead evaluate essential numeracy and literacy abilities developed across many areas of learning and grades, rather than content knowledge from one particular course.

Students will be able to write the assessments more than once and will be rated on the new provincial assessment proficiency scale: emerging, developing, proficient and extending.

Like school districts throughout the province, SD73 will have completed B.C.’s K-12 curriculum redesign implementation this September.

Students in grades 11 and 12 will join K-10 students who are already reaping the benefits of the changes. The revised K-9 curriculum was implemented in September 2016, followed by Grade 10 in September 2018.

Cara McKelvey (Savona-Logan Lake) is a SD73 trustee. She can be reached at cmckelvey@sd73.bc.ca.

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