NORTH VANCOUVER & WEST VANCOUVER, March 7, 2016 — Educators at three schools on the North Shore have been recognized for their collaboration and innovation around the International Baccalaureate (IB) approaches to learning skills. Educators from Carson Graham Secondary School, Rockridge Secondary School and Mulgrave School have been jointly investigating the approaches to learning skills in relation to the new BC curriculum, and providing meaningful, iterative feedback to students on their development of these skills. The partnership is the first of its kind between the North Vancouver School District, West Vancouver Schools and Mulgrave School, an independent school in West Vancouver.
“At the core of any innovation, the opportunity for collaboration and the sharing of ideas must exist. Our recent innovation project provided an invaluable opportunity to partner with Rockridge and Mulgrave staff, offering the opportunity to critically reflect on our IB assessment practices and ultimately, enhancing teaching and learning,” said Karim Hachlaf, Principal, Carson Graham Secondary School.
All three schools have International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programmes. Through this joint project, teachers have been deconstructing and overtly teaching and assessing the curricular skills foundational to each subject area within the new curriculum. Teachers and administrators at all three schools are excited to be able to partner to inquire into this topic, and their partnership efforts are being celebrated by the BC Ministry of Education.
“The world is changing and parents expect us to do everything possible to prepare their kids for future success. Innovation Partnership projects help us do that. It’s encouraging to see what is possible when education partners come together and focus on students. Schools, districts, teachers associations – they are all valuable collaborators. I’m looking forward to seeing these projects in action,” said Mike Bernier, BC Minister of Education.
The provincial government has awarded Carson Graham Secondary School, Rockridge Secondary School and Mulgrave School with an $8000 grant to support their efforts. Earlier this school year, Lou Marchesano, a North American leader in IB Middle Years Programme assessment, provided three days of workshops for teachers at the three schools. During the three days, partner schools held daily keynote presentations for staff about innovative assessment practices. Staff from all three schools participated in subject-specific workshops. Marchesano’s visit was collaboratively arranged to bring colleagues together in departmental teams to work as a learning community. The objective is to enhance teachers’ ability to provide targeted feedback to students during the learning process.
“Marchesano’s theoretical and practical ideas provoked thought among even the most experienced IB teachers at our school. In straightforward and convincing terms he furthered our understanding of inquiry based learning and the development and assessment of thinking skills. Our time with him left me feeling energized and affirmed my commitment to the programs we are building,” said Jennifer Tieche, Teacher-Librarian, Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Carson Graham Secondary School.
Martin Jones, Principal of Mulgrave’s Middle School shared, “Most importantly, our goal is for this collaboration to develop a framework for the intentional teaching and assessment of core skills/competencies. Our ultimate aim is for this work to be scalable and developed so that it can be implemented in any school, IB or not, that is focusing on the skills agenda.”
Over the next three years, staff at the three schools will continue to collaboratively explore IB formative assessment. Although the project has many innovative aspects, those involved describe the largest impact as the invaluable professional learning networks that are being established across the three school district communities.
“A unique feature of our project is that it goes beyond school district boundaries and includes schools from both the public and independent sectors. We all share the commitment to further improve student learning and to meaningfully communicate their learning to students and their families. This partnership grant will further support us as we continue to collaborate and share in this meaningful work,” said Jeannette Laursoo, Principal, Rockridge Secondary School.
For more information, please contact:
North Vancouver School District