School survey seeks parent input

New reporting methods underway while Province decides how to track core competencies at school

Local parents have a unique opportunity to provide input on how their children’s school success is tracked.

With a new provincial curriculum has come a new set of challenges on how to report what a student learns. The provincial government rolled out the redesigned curriculum as a draft option last year and officially changed to the new schedule for students in K-9 classrooms this school year.

Traditional curriculum competencies include subjects like math, science and language arts. The redesigned curriculum incorporates a focus on communicating, thinking, personal and social skills dubbed core competencies.

“How do you communicate core competencies with a letter grade,” examines Cheryl Lenardon, assistant superintendent for School District 6.

The core competencies “are at the centre of the curriculum redesign,” according to the BC government’s education website. These are sets of intellectual, personal and social and emotional proficiencies that all students need to develop in order to engage in deeper learning.

The provincial government has yet to establish a method of reporting on these core competencies. Reporting is currently open to interpretation by individual school boards, allowing some experimentation to take place regarding how to reflect a student’s understanding and abilities.

“There’s room for growth and change, and the government hasn’t said what that is yet,” explains Lenardon. “With the new curriculum, there’s recognition for potential to upgrade the reporting order to better reflect how teaching looks like in the new curriculum.”

Local teachers have taken different approaches to the opportunity. Some have focused efforts on online portfolio work so parents can examine their child’s work; others have expanded comment areas in the traditional report cards, while some teachers are choosing not to report using letter grades. Instead, teachers are writing more in general terms about levels of growth.

The Rocky Mountain would now like to hear from parents on how these practices are being received and about the experience in general with reporting in the school district. Parents are encouraged to fill out an online survey to provide feedback on new methods teachers are using to capture a student’s growth.

The survey is open until May 26. Links for the survey have been emailed to each family in the school district.

“We’ll start from the survey results, and then we will sit down and look at where to go next,” Lenardon says, adding there will likely be more opportunities to discuss the topic with other interested parties, including students.

Doug Murray, local president of the Windermere Teachers’ Association, says he has heard from teachers that establishing a new reporting order has been “difficult,” as the provincial government has yet to dictate what the new reporting order will be. He says from what he has heard from teachers, many are waiting until the Province establishes new guidelines before making many changes to how core competencies are tracked.