Thought Provoking Questions

As a team, we asked ourselves four big questions to gauge how we can move forward together.  Answers to these questions were gathered during the Symposium.

Question 1:  Is this a provincial question, or do we need to be focusing on particular schools?

  • This work is both a provincial and local school issue
  • There needs to be provincial guidance to set a common language and expectation but also to facilitate sharing.
  • Consideration should be given to providing a greater intervention to schools of greatest need with some parameters.
  • Proposed solutions should be flexible enough to allow the work to be tailored to individual school contexts.
  • Issues driving graduation rates reside outside the classroom as well which requires a provincial mobilization of supports for children outside the Ministry of Education.
  • There needs to be an engagement of both the Provincial and Federal system in order to meet the established targets.
  • The establishment of a common data system or data standards would assist greatly with this work.

Question 2:  What are we doing that leads to 75% of our students graduating?  Can we just do more of this?

  • No!
  • Unlearning and Relearning needs to happen
  • Supports at the classroom level need to fundamentally change to have all children being more successful.
  • Building stronger relationships with students and greater levels of engagement are critical
  • To move forward we need “transformational” shift in requirements such as:
  • Hours
  • Subjects / Curricula
  • Criteria for success
  • Time must become flexible to allow learning to become personalized therefore adding validity to measuring “on time” and “extended” graduation with the same level of emphasis.

Question 3:  Are Grad Rates even the issue?  Should the plan focus on engagement or student ownership with the belief that Grad Rates are a symptom of a different problem?

  • Grad Rates are a lagging indicator, there needs to be a stronger focus on:
  • Engagement
  • Attendance
  • There needs to be engagement by other sectors such as Health, Justice and Social Services to help address the barriers that many students face
  • Students need to be able to own their own learning, a more personalized approach…one size or approach can’t fit all.
  • Teacher support and capacity building will need to be a major part of the solution.
  • Too much pressure on students to graduate within a 3 year window.

Question 4:  Are there other questions we should be asking?

  • Can school divisions/schools be given training to understand how to effectively utilize data that is present at the Ministry?
  • What are the connections between the Grade 10 wall and practices in the Middle Years?  Do both groups need to be a part of the solution to graduating more students?
  • Why are we tied to 24 credits and the traditional pathways?  Can we engage in the creation of multiple pathways to graduation?
  • Are teachers currently graduating from pre-service training equipped to effectively “engage” students and promote innovation in teaching and learning?
  • Do we need to have an avenue for student voice as part of the creation of the solution to graduating more students?
  • Are there policies that need to be reviewed such as:
  • Adult 12 and the requirement to have been away for a year
  • Ability to only challenge 2 credits
  • How do we share decision making/responsibility with community and First Nations Metis leaders?  Do we have the breadth of knowledge and skills to do this work?