School District 73 is ready for B.C.’s new curriculum now in place across all grade levels.
Having been implemented from kindergarten to the Grade 10 level last year, the new curriculum comes into effect at the Grade 11 and 12 level for 2019-2020 after years of trial.
“It’s our first go-through,” said SD73 director of instruction Lisa Carson. “We’ve certainly had a few schools running pilots, trying out the new curriculum in 11, 12 last year, but it’s official as of this year.”
While foundational skills such as reading, writing and math are still at its centre, B.C.’s new curriculum is focused on communication, critical thinking and personal-social skills. There will also be more of a focus on incorporating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in class.
When it comes to implementation of the new curriculum, Carson said SD73 has workshops and a number of staff who are working one-on-one with teachers.
“They [teachers] have the autonomy to make the curriculum fit the needs of the learners,” said assistant superintendent Rob Schoen.
“Schools have had two years to get ready for this, we had an extra curriculum and development day last year and the year prior for our schools to get their heads wrapped around the new curriculum and the implementation plan,” he said.
A number of changes come into effect for the 2019-2020 school year.
Career education classes will be in full swing as the new career life connections 12 course is now in place.
In order to graduate, students in grades 10 to 12 are required to complete a capstone project and two career education courses — one of which involves 30 hours of work or volunteer experience.
Carson described the new classes as one of the biggest changes in the new curriculum.
“I think the public might think it’s a new planning 10 and it’s certainly not. The new curriculum is very different from that,” she said.
“We have all kinds of community members coming in to classes and we have those career experience moments being developed.”
Career life education 10 was implemented last fall as part of the new curriculum’s graduation program rollout, replacing planning 10.
The new classes can be combined with the former planning 10 and graduation transitions courses to meet the requirement.
Three new final exams are now part of the curriculum — Grade 10 and Grade 12 literacy assessment tests and a Grade 10 numeracy assessment.
While the Grade 10 numeracy test has been in place since 2018 and the Grade 10 literacy test is available this November, the Grade 12 literacy test is still in development and won’t be in place until 2020-2021.
“Students in Grade 12 this year will not write a graduation literacy assessment, but next year they will, so this is kind of an anomaly this year,” Carson said.
The results of these exams will be reported as standalone items on student transcripts and replace course-based provincial exams, evaluating essential numeracy and literacy abilities developed across many areas of learning and grades, rather than content knowledge from one particular course.
Students in grades 10 to 12 will continue to receive report cards with letter grades and percentages for all courses, and still be required to complete at least 80 credits for graduation, but the requirement for daily physical activity for grades 11 and 12 is now discontinued.