We are fortunate to live in a community that has one of the highest performing education systems in the country. On all internal and external measures, West Vancouver Schools continues to perform at the top. We know, though, it is important to always stay current, and our system needs to evolve for us to ensure that we are providing the best educational experience possible for each of our students.
With the introduction of a refreshed curriculum, schools across British Columbia are currently engaged in thoughtful implementation efforts. One of the biggest challenges with implementing the revised curriculum is communicating its value to those who are accustomed to the traditional, longstanding model of education. We’ve all been to school, so in a sense, we tend to reflect on our own experiences when we think about education and how it is delivered in the classroom. In West Vancouver we are committed to maintaining high standards of excellence and retaining well researched practices that we know make a difference for students.
In West Vancouver Schools we’ve been doing education differently for many years now, and classrooms today look very different from those that we remember. While perhaps oversimplified, in the traditional model, many viewed students as passive learners, first absorbing facts, and then demonstrating their knowledge on test day. Education has evolved, and we have been seeing these shifts taking place in our classrooms over many years.
As we all know, real learning goes beyond rote memorization, and students tend to thrive in an environment where they are actively engaged in their learning. Along the way, students build the critical thinking, research and leadership skills required for lifelong learning. The goal is for students flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.
In West Vancouver Schools we’ve been teaching skills that will allow our students to flourish in a changing world, where they will need to collaborate and use critical thinking skills in the workforce. At the same time, we have continued and will continue, to emphasize the importance of strong foundational skills in reading, writing and numeracy. Educational practice has been changing for some time, and now we have a curriculum to complement our practices.
One of our key responsibilities is to help students, parents and the larger community understands what is shifting and why these changes are so important. In order to harness all the benefits of the curriculum, it is critical for teachers, parents and students to understand what has changed, as well as what has stayed the same. For that reason, your PAC and DPAC representatives will be ‘going to school’ on January 27. At the session, they will get a broad overview of the curriculum refresh that’s taking place across the province. They will learn not only about what’s changing, but why it’s changing and – you’ll be relieved to know – what is staying the same.
This is an important discussion in our schools, but it’s also important for those using the education system to understand what learning looks like as we embrace the changes. We are all stewards of one of the best education systems in the world and we look forward to working together to ensure our system remains relevant, engaging and top performing.