Here are just SOME of the things we are doing that are pretty exciting:
Overall Educational Performance
BC public education continues to be ranked extremely high in a number of international educational measures including the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). The evidence of our overall success points to two main factors: high teacher quality and the relative lack of severe inequalities in Canadian society. And while we do still have plenty of work to do in certain areas pertaining to student success in our system, we are doing very well compared to many other jurisdictions around the world.
Focus on Literacy
This is one of the key metrics we use to determine student success — making sure we focus on both numeracy and reading. The newly revised BC Curriculum and our teachers continue to place an emphasis on these important academic competencies. We do very well internationally in these areas and are continuing to find ways of building on the good news we have right now.
We have come a long ways in our understanding and practices that reflect the current research on the best conditions for student learning. Our incorporation of concepts like student self-regulation, school readiness and trauma informed practices are providing us with new windows into how we can craft better learning environments for our students.
Teaching Understanding and Acceptance
I used to hear a lot about needing to increase our ‘tolerance’ towards others. It never sat very well with me. In our schools today we build UNDERSTANDING and ACCEPTANCE.
Schools use a multitude of ways to build a collective appreciation of others — even finding ways to celebrate each other’s differences. Every day I see things like school international lunches, diversity clubs like GSAs, cultural awareness presentations, and classroom lessons that build compassion. In our increasingly diverse society schools are society’s bridge to embrace and celebrate that reality.
Post-Secondary and Careers Exploration
When I first starting teaching, the options available to students as they transitioned to post-secondary or their career options were very limited. Today in Saanich, and in many other BC school districts, we have a multitude of transitioning programs: dual-credit programs paired with local colleges and universities, trades awareness courses, career preparation fairs & camps, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, and an extensive French Immersion Program leading to dual graduation — just to name a few.
I could go on talking for a lot longer. I could brag about our district’s focus on the arts and athletics, community service, work experience, an outstanding Distributed Learning program, partnerships with other services like mental health, MCFD, police, fire, early learning providers or other community support organizations. The bridges we have in place are taking students to places only dreamed about several years ago.
The schools of today are incredible places — immeasurably more diverse in their offerings as well as being interconnected to other services in our communities. We are much better able to support students and their families than we were even 20 or 30 years ago.
It’s pretty easy to get up in the morning and come to work when you know that you’re working for one of the best public education systems in the world.