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?
- 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:
- 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:
- 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?