Inspiring Education: A School Division Perspective

The landscape of our education system is changing at an unprecedented pace and in ways we might not have imagined just a few years ago.

DAN SVITICH

The landscape of our education system is changing at an unprecedented pace and in ways we might not have imagined just a few years ago. Under the guidance and direction of the Minister of Alberta Education and his staff, the way we help our students learn is being refined to better meet the needs of the students of today and tomorrow. Today’s classrooms and teaching methods are evolving to ensure that our students are prepared for their future, not our past. In many ways, we may be preparing today’s young students for jobs and career paths that may not even exist yet. Welcome to Inspiring Education.

Inspiring Education: A Dialogue With Albertans began when our current Premier Dave Hancock was Minister of Education under Premier Ed Stelmach. In 2009, thousands of Albertans were engaged in conversations, both in person and online to gather their vision for K-12 education in our province for the 21st Century and well into the future. Education Ministry staff gathered a wealth of information, as people openly shared their vision, hopes, and dreams for the education system in our province as we face the ever-changing world around us. Under the guidance of a Ministerial steering committee, that valuable feedback was used to develop a broad policy framework document that describes the overall direction, principles, and long-term goals for education in Alberta. You can learn more about the many initiatives behind Inspiring Education at inspiringeducation.alberta.ca/initiatives.

Inspiring Education recognizes that traditional education tools and content, as well as their methods of delivery, are in a constant state of flux, as technology shapes our world in new ways every day. School division staff, administrators and trustees must be the agents of change in their school communities to ensure we keep pace with our rapidly-changing world. At the end of the day, everything we do should be in the best interests of the students we teach and serve. Inspiring Education also recognizes that every student’s learning journey evolves in its own unique way, with that student’s unique skills, interest and experiences shaping it along the way. The content we deliver, and the ways in which it is delivered, need to be fluid and adaptable to meet the individual needs of each student; Inspiring Education is the template that guides us towards that goal.

Much of this may sound theoretical, so what are the practical applications of Inspiring Education and how is it being put into practice at STAR Catholic Schools? From implementing the change from Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) to Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) to better gauge elementary and junior high student competencies at the beginning of the year, to the High School Flexibility model that allows older students more flexibility in their learning rather than being restricted to the traditional instructional-hour focused model, we’re making changes that will help our students to learn in their own way, at their own pace. For more information on Inspiring Education, visit inspiringeducation.alberta.ca.

Dan Svitich dan.svitich@starcatholic.ab.ca is a Ponoka Trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division Board.  STAR Catholic Schools has more than 3,300 students in 10 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.