|Re-Designing and Re-Thinking Education
The Past: In 2009, Catholic Central had the opportunity to be a pilot school for the Alberta Education High School Flexibility Project. The project examined the question, “What would happen, if the requirement for 25 hours of face to face instruction per high school credit (the Carnegie Unit) was waived?” In other words, instead of focusing on how long it took to master course content, what would happen if the focus shifted to how best to master learning outcomes? What changes in instruction, time-tabling and student learning would result?
The Present: Involvement in the High School Flexibility Project led Catholic Central teachers and students to experience some new ideas about learning and teaching. Specifically, the following came into being as a result of the project:
- Flex time – to allow for more 1:1 time with teachers and to encourage students to take responsibility for adjusting their learning time to their own needs.
- On-line learning opportunities – including Distance Learning through ADLC, and on-line learning in the Campus West E-Learning centre and the Trinity Learning Centre.
- Expanded school day – which allows students to take courses after the official “end” time. Flex 5 is an example of this idea.
- Blended and cross-curricular outcomes – such as students working on both English and CTS outcomes during their scheduled English class.
- Credit recovery opportunities – using our Trinity Learning Centre, we are able to allow students to finish only those portions of a course that they might need to improve, rather than repeating an entire course.
The Future: The High School Flexibility Project has now become Moving Forward with High School Re-Design. Alberta Education has stated that the anticipated outcome of this project is increased student engagement in learning, improved achievement for all students and enhanced teacher practice. Nine foundational principles form the framework for discussion and decisions about how best to structure learning for students:
- Mastery Learning
- Rigourous and Relevant Curriculum
- Flexible Learning Environments
- Educator Roles and Professional Development
- Meaningful Relationships
- Home and Community Involvement
- Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe
What does this mean for Catholic Central?
The conversations about how best to achieve equal opportunities for success for all students have never stopped. With these principles in mind, we are already examining some new ideas that include (but are likely not limited to) the following:
- New ways to structure courses including a Science and Inquiry focus, a Fine-Arts Academy and a focus on Leadership Development.
- Expanding the concept of "school day" even further – including more opportunities for students to learn outside the walls of the school and to earn course credit for activities they undertake after school hours.
- Finding ways to increase teacher collaboration to allow for more cross-curricular, project-based learning and assessment.
- Bringing back some form of Teacher Advisory to ensure that all students feel connected to the school and supported as they pursue their future plans.
- Improving and refining our credit/course recovery model so that students can focus on mastery of out-comes.
What we do at CCH is good!
What we do at CCH is important!
What we do at CCH is always an adventure