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Blog: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Are You Ready?
I hope you all had an eventful summer. It certainly has been busy, between the BC Summer Games (hosted here in Abbotsford), Summer School, the Olympics, and perhaps a little holiday getaway. I hope the last two months have been enjoyable, and that you are ready for another school year. The 2016/17 school year promises to be a banner year for schools in our province, and here in Abbotsford. As long as I have been an educator (1987 - seems like eons ago), there have been calls from the public, the business community, and teachers themselves to revamp our curriculum to make schools more engaging, and more connected to the lives that students will lead as adults. Not that the system has been broken in any way. Far from it. We have here in BC one of the best education systems in the world. Yet when you know better, you yearn for the opportunity to do better. So… here we are.
Starting this year, students in grades K-9 will be taught from our revised curriculum. You need only take a glance at it to see the differences compared to the previous one. There are fewer learning standards, which will allow teachers to take the time to deepen student understanding of critical concepts (something which teachers have asked for). There is a stringer focus on careers, health and social development. There is a strong focus on transferable skills and competencies of critical/creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration (something we have all asked for). While some may not see the difference immediately, over time, particularly as parents see how we report on student progress, we will begin to appreciate that we have arrived at a special place in our education system.
As with any journey, the smooth sailing will occasionally be interrupted by some bumpy rides. Some of the language of learning will change in our schools, and it will take some time for teachers students and parents to understand and communicate it well. Rest assured however that the destination will be worthwhile. Students being more engaged, given greater opportunity to do relevant work, use technology to enhance their learning, and prepare for an uncertain, but exciting future is what we aspire for our education system. Our society will be better for it.
I wish all our staff and students a great school year.