Sharpening the skills set of future grads

Province wants to know what high school graduates need; Cranbrook consultation open to public.

Cranbrook residents have been invited to take part in the discussion about high school graduation requirements.

The Ministry of Education is taking a fresh look at what it takes to graduate from Grade 12 so that it can better meet the needs of all learners.

As part of the review, consultation sessions are being held throughout the province this autumn, seeking input from parents, teachers, students, educational administrators, community members, business, trades, post-secondary and more.

For the East Kootenay, the consultation session will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.  at the School District #5 board office, with video conferencing to facilities in Sparwood, Elkford, Fernie and Jaffray.

“The key question we will be asking will be: what are the most important things students need to know, understand and be able to do when they leave high school?” explained Andy Leathwood, who is heading the advisory group for the Kootenays from his position as Director of Innovative Learning Services for School District #8 (Kootenay Lake).

Discussion will centre around how assessment is handled, how student learning can be demonstrated, and how a fair, meaningful yet personalized awards program can be developed.

Already, Leathwood said several points are becoming clear from consultation.

“So far, people are suggesting that skills such as communication, critical thinking and creativity are really important and that we should base at least part of our graduation requirements on some demonstration of those skills,” he said.

All members of the public are encouraged to take part in the consultation.

“These conversations are going on in every educational jurisdiction in the world, as we struggle with how to best prepare students for a world that is becoming increasingly complex and rapidly changing.  The Ministry of Education is really interested in the feedback of all members of the public on this,” said Leathwood.

After each of six advisory groups has gathered feedback from the public and stakeholders, the regional coordinators will get together to turn that input into a report.

“We will get together in January to put all of the information together into a report to the Ministry with recommendations for potential changes to our current grad requirements,” said Leathwood.

The review of graduation requirements is part of the B.C. Education Plan, announced last October by the province to modernize the education system toward personalized learning.