Discussion on changing province graduation requirements held in Grand Forks

School District 51 (SD51) had an open forum to discuss transforming the province’s graduation requirements on Sept. 26.

Andy Leathwood leads the discussion over questions about what graduates should know before leaving secondary school on Sept. 26 at Perley Elementary.

Andy Leathwood leads the discussion over questions about what graduates should know before leaving secondary school on Sept. 26 at Perley Elementary.

School District 51 (SD51) had an open forum to discuss transforming the province’s graduation requirements on Sept. 26 at Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary School.

Andy Leathwood, director of instruction for School District 8, Kootenay Lakes, is one of six directors in the province leading the discussion.

“We’re going to talk about some changes that are being contemplated in the education system in British Columbia,” he said. “From my perspective and experience, those things are both large. We’re hoping the input will be far-reaching and long lasting.”

Ideas that were discussed during the meeting included students being able to communicate face-to-face and being able to manage themselves, such as financial management and cooking skills, by the time students graduate.

At the moment, students are required to complete 80 credits to graduate, with 48 required credits, 28 electives and four grad transition credits that are also required. There are also five provincial exams. The question raised during discussions was whether or not the provincial exams should be kept or discarded.

“The idea is to determine what are we going to do with the kids that we have, not only those students who are graduating this year, but the kids who are entering the school system right now,” Leathwood said. “What is it that we expect from them when they graduate and how can we change education and the things we focus on differently. The purpose of the meeting was to gather input and feedback that would shape the new graduation requirements for future students.”

The discussion was fostered by parents, teachers, SD51 trustees and school staff, and everyone provided input on what they felt could better the education system.  Everyone was asked to write down comments on the questionnaire provided.

There are five questions that the Ministry of Environment is asking the public:

  1. What do you think are the core or essential things all students should know, understand and be able to do by the time they leave secondary school?
  2. Beyond the core, how could pathways for choice or exploration be provided?
  3. Research is underway with a focus on the following cross-curricular competencies: communication, critical thinking, creative thinking and innovation, personal responsibility and well-being, and social responsibility. How do you think students could demonstrate this?
  4. How could students learning be communicated to students, parents or guardians, or post-secondary institutions or employers?
  5. How would you design an awards program to recognize student success in a personalized learning environment?

The process of the Graduation Dialogue Committee began in June 2012, with the province split into six different regions. In August, partners co-ordinated with regional discussions on graduation. In September to October, there will be working sessions where the public will be invited to provide their comments, and in November a draft will be created.

The final outline is set to be complete by January of next year.

For more information, visit bced.gove.bc.ca/graduation or to submit your own answers, email Leathwood at aleathwood@sd8.gc.ca.