Kootenay Lake School District is winning awards and sharing resources
June always marks the end of the school year, a time for celebration and also reflection over the year’s past events. The 2018-2019 school year also marks the final year before the full implementation of the BC’s new curriculum K-12 begins in September 2019.
As part of the transition to the new curriculum, the Ministry of Education has provided additional funding to districts to ensure teachers have access to resources to learn, prepare and organize their classroom supports around implementation.
For this academic year, schools throughout Kootenay Lake School District were encouraged to apply for curriculum project grants that aligned directly with one or more of the district’s four strategic goals. 19 unique school teams were granted between $1000- $3000 each towards curriculum projects for 2018-2019.
Teachers and administrators representing many of the schools in the district came together last week to share their successes and evidence of student learning with one another at the Board office.
Many of the schools put their grant money towards providing release time for teachers to work together to derive new lesson plans and introduce cross-curricular projects. Teachers at J.V. Humphries and Blewett Elementary both acknowledged how important this collaborative time is for teachers. Grace Broadfoot, Secondary Sciences and Outdoor Education teacher in Kaslo shared, “Often as a teacher I feel alone in my classroom. Having that collaboration time to work with other teachers and share ideas is so important.”
“I’m so grateful.” exclaimed Blewett’s learning support teacher Jeff Hammerich, “I myself learned something totally new alongside the kids, and was then able to model that self-directed learning and self-critical thinking to some of our most vulnerable students who in turn for the first time became leaders in their classroom on a new subject.” Hammerich worked together with Gr. 3-4 teacher James Wheeler to learn ADST tools Co-Spaces and Tinkercad.
Other schools applied for grant funding to review and further develop assessment and reporting policies. Having benefited from professional development workshops with Carol Fullarton last year, teachers at Canyon Lister Elementary looked closely at ways to implement Fullarton’s strategies to identify gaps in numeracy skills amongst their students. And at Hume Elementary, Principal Janene Bate Stein and her staff have committed to using a consistent learner profile and reporting template that will involve and engage parents in the hopes to provide more meaningful report cards for them to read.
Two of the district high schools presented on projects that created extraordinary opportunities for students to go beyond the classroom setting and learn something about themselves in unique ways.
Vice-Principal Misty Terpstra, from Salmo Secondary presented on her work with English 10-12 students around the theme of marginalization. Through field trips, and studying the visual texts of multiple indigenous authors, Terpstra observed shifting attitudes in the spirit of reconciliation and was able to build connections to place for many of her students.
At L.V.Rogers Secondary, English teacher Carla Wilson spearheaded an intergenerational initiative called Growing Together, Rising Strong, that brought students and seniors together to discuss deep topics and authentic life experiences. The project was transformational for many of the participants, both young and old, building resiliency and providing space to share histories and develop compassion. The project also involved local author Lee Reid, who they collaborated with to produce the book, Growing Together: Conversations between Seniors and Youth. The BCRTA (BC Retired Teachers’ Association) Excellence in Education Committee has awarded LVRogers the 2019 Legion/Golden Star Award for this program. Wilson and her students have been invited to accept the award at a presentation ceremony on June 20th. The Legion award money will be used, in part, for the second phase of the Growing Together program, to produce a documentary film.
The curriculum presentations filled an entire day with dialogue, shared experiences and visuals, and offered a valued opportunity for administrators and teachers from around the district to ask questions and promote strategies that worked for them with their colleagues and peers.
“Every school in the district was able to take part in at least one project this year through opportunities provided at the District, Regional and Provincial levels.” commented Naomi Ross, Acting Director of Innovative Education. In addition to the curriculum grants, the Innovative Education department was also able to host 105 professional learning opportunities for staff through the Focus . Learn . Excel initiative.
For more information:
Contact Naomi Ross, Acting Director of Innovative Education