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Curriculum transition extended for Grades 11 and 12

SD48 continues to grow, with potential expansion on the horizon

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While teachers and school districts have been working to implement a new curriculum in British Columbia schools since 2015, they'll now have an extra year to apply the curriculum to Grades 11 and 12.

The province announced Oct.24 that it is extending the implementation period after hearing from the K-12 education sector and post-secondary partners.

"Success in the graduation years is very important for a student's smooth transition to post secondary opportunities," Education Minister Rob Fleming said in a release.

"That's why we are giving our partners in the sector this extra year to ensure the new curriculum will serve our students, providing them with the best possible chance for future success."

The transition to the new curriculum for Grades K to 9 in the Sea to Sky School District (SD48) has been "excellent," said superintendent Lisa McCullough, and while SD48 teachers are already well versed in the new curriculum, they will use the extra year wisely.

"The intention behind the new curriculum was not to just tweak some learning outcomes and do a few things differently, it was really intended to make learning student-centred, and provide some agency to our students," McCullough said.

"We will use the time wisely, and our teachers will use it to practice more and get together more to dialogue about what it's going to look like, for example, in relation to a high-school timetable."

A non-instructional day planned for Friday, Nov. 3 will be used to get every teacher in the district in the same place discussing the curriculum, added director of instruction Paul Lorette.

"We're anticipating somewhere around 350, 360 teachers (at Don Ross Middle School in Squamish)," Lorette said, adding that there's typically one day a year in which all the teachers get together.

"It's a lot of tables and chairs, and we take them through a series of activities designed to help them work with their colleagues and more deeply to plan and understand the new curriculum."

The extra year will also provide more time for co-planning among teachers, McCullough said.

"It's intended to be interdisciplinary — it's not intended to be taught in isolated subjects — so how do we build structures where we can teach together through an interdisciplinary perspective?" she said.

"That's really the big tricky (part) ahead of us, and that's going to take time."

There are about 4,718 students enrolled in the district this year (up 132 over last year).

While SD48 continues on a trajectory of growth, the district is handling it well — for now.

All teacher job postings in the district are currently filled, McCullough said, and renovations done last year to add space at Myrtle Philip have already been put to use.

"Sure enough, we needed the classroom, and we are very full... we will be looking to come out to our communities to talk about our growth, and potential capital implications, and get some input in terms of how do we want to move kids around, how do we want this to look to fit everybody in," McCullough said.

The result will mean expansion of schools, if not the construction of an entirely new school.

"That's the type of thing that we'll have to talk to the public about and then make a plan," McCullough said.

"We're projected for growth, so we need to get out there."

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