The Ministry of Education recently announced to school boards across B.C. that it is in the midst of rolling out a new curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 that will be implemented over the next two school years.
A new curriculum with enhanced, innovative methods of teaching was rolled out for K to Grade 9 students within School District 71 (SD71) in 2015, in response to B.C.’s new curriculum.
Since then, SD71 has adopted a strategy of student-centred learning that is flexible and maintains a focus on literacy and numeracy, while supporting deeper learning. The new curriculum is to ensure students are fully prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future with an aim to connect senior students with the skills necessary to succeed beyond graduation.
Dean Patterson, principal at Highland Secondary, anticipates that secondary students in the Valley can expect many curriculum areas to remain somewhat the same, recognizing that implementing the new curriculum will have an impact on some of the assessments that have historically occurred, how teachers report to parents and what they report on.
“The sweeping changes are not about what is taught. It’s about how it’s taught,” Patterson said. “The intention of the new curriculum is to put students in greater control of their learning, and that is going to involve our teachers. It’s more about the philosophy of how teaching should happen than it is about what chapters we cover in the textbooks.”
The Ministry of Education is adding an additional year of transition time to bring in the Grade 11–12 curriculum, starting in September 2019, while the Grade 10 curriculum will be implemented as planned for September 2018.
In his letter to the district, Minister of Education Rob Fleming explains that the added year to implement secondary school curriculum changes is to ensure teachers have what they need to support students in developing the necessary skills to transition to post-secondary institutions and into the workforce.
“I am confident teachers, administrators, post-secondary institutions and education leaders all across the province will use this extra time to make sure everyone is ready, including students and parents,” said Fleming.
“School District 71’s mission is to work with our educational partners to develop responsible, compassionate citizens and successful, lifelong learners,” SD71 superintendent Dean Lindquist said in response to the message from the minister.
“It is our job at the district to prepare our students for success in whatever life path they choose after graduation, and that includes supporting and encouraging those who contribute to a child’s education, our teachers, and the parents and guardians.”