July 4, 2013 Leave a comment
Well, here it is. Our school has been selected to enter phase two of the Alberta Education High School Flexibility Enhancement project – Moving Forward with High School Redesign.
What does that mean? It means that the 25 hour face-to-face requirement per credit has been lifted for our students. It means that kids can earn credits based on what they have learned and not because they sat in a classroom for a predetermined amount of time. Also, it means that we no longer have to show hours of instruction to be funded for the credits that our students earn. Before this project, high schools in our province were funded based on the credits that students earned. High Schools that are not part of the project will continue with CEU funding. The funding criteria demanded that a student have access to instruction for 25 hours per credit. With this funding structure, it became the mandate of high school administrators to ensure that the funding criteria were met. As a phase 2 school, we will be funded based on the average amount of credits that our students have earned over the past three years.
A move away from CEU funding is exciting! It means that we can stop talking about money and begin talking about students and their learning. Some students can finish courses quickly while other students may require more time. For example, if we have a student who shows proficiency in Science 14, that student can earn credits for the course and move on to Science 24 within the same semester. We don’t have to keep the student in a Science 14 class for 125 hours (as it is a 5 credit course). Also, if a student does not complete a course in one semester, that student could continue to work on that course into the next semester.
Also, being part of this project allows us to be creative and innovative in the way we offer courses to our students. Since 25 hours per credit is no longer required, we have the opportunity to re-structure our school day by offering “flex time”. For starters, flex time will be scheduled as an extended lunch hour in which students will be offered activities to enhance engagement and learning. What will these activities look like? At this time, I don’t know. That piece of the puzzle will be decided by our staff and students.
There are many other things to consider as we “rethink high school“.
Collaboration is the key to more successful learning for our high school students. We need to provide opportunities for students to collaborate but, more importantly, staff will need to collaborate and share ideas.
We have started to do some work with our staff but there is definitely more to come.
I look forward to reading any thoughts that you may have.