The first two blog posts in this series have been setting the stage to introduce you to what will be different in the fall. The following is a brief glimpse at some of the new initiatives, physical space changes, as well as schedule implications, to name just a few.
To begin with, this year we introduced Google Chromebooks to the current Grade 7 class. Nextyear we will be providing Chromebooks to all of our students in Grades 6 through 8. The introduction of the digital platform allows students to receive work and submit their assignments immediately, whether at home or school. As we progress further into our Profound Learning program, students will be able to track their progress and report it to their teachers. Accountability and program awareness are key components of this digital platform. The dog is going to have a hard time eating the student’s homework any more!
As well, we will be adding a class set of Chromebooks, in a rolling cabinet for the portable, for other grades to use. These devices will join the two other cabinets filled with iPads to increase our use and understanding of technology through all grades.
Secondly, with the discussion focused around the learning environment and the introduction of the laptop program, we will be moving some classrooms around to accommodate the Grade 6, 7 & 8 classes. As you can well imagine, when you start changing things around, there is a domino effect necessitating subsequent moves. Stick with me and follow the trail.
With the addition of Chromebooks to the school, there is no longer a need for a dedicated room for computers, so that room will now be home to the Grade 1 class. Freeing up a room in the portable allows us to move the Arrowsmith class there, and in turn allows the music and art classes to move back behind the stage into the area that was originally designed for that very purpose.
With the move of the music program, the music house will be refurbished and now becomes one of three rooms set apart for Grades 6/7/8 classes. The other two classrooms will be the Science room and a newly renovated Multi-Purpose room, which was the old library area. The Grade 6 classroom in the portable will now be the new home to the Academic Resource Centre. Now if all that detail was hard to follow and you consider yourself a visual learner, click here to see a school blueprint of the classroom locations.
These moves also allow us the opportunity to think of and design new ideas around our learning environments. In my next blog, “Cave, Café and Campfire (a Strategy of Classroom Change)”, I will talk about the changes happening inside the classrooms.
More changes? Lets keep going.
Lastly, when students arrive in September, we will be introducing a new balanced day schedule. School will begin at the same time 8:30 AM and ends at 3:20 PM.
A balanced schedule shifts our day into three equal blocks of 100 minutes. After each block will be a forty minute break for students which combines outside play and a nutrition break. This repeats itself again later after the second block. More outdoors, more nutrition and after the third block, it’s time to go home. Additional nutrition breaks will be given to students throughout the day at the teacher’s discretion. Want a visual? Click here.
Is this all? Of course not but it is enough for now. Stay tuned over the summer, as we send you more information and pictures of the work going on inside of the school. We will also be providing information on Before & After School Program room changes, and a new traffic flow for student drop-offs and pick-ups will be required due to the new traffic lights and road changes in front of the school. These are just a few of the various changes and projects going on through the summer and into the new school year.
Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication
In part one of this series, I mentioned the importance of these words as it relates to the genesis of 21st Century learning. This prompted a lot of conversation around how these changes will impact two major groups of people at PCS, teachers and students.
In order to transition from being primarily a dispenser of prefabricated facts or “sage on the stage” to coach/mentor or “guide on the side”, teachers must understand the foundational concepts supporting the Profound Learning (PL) Model. This transitional journey will begin with a number of training dates at the end of this school year (June 28-29), and leading into the next (August 31 – September 1).
Then in early October (Thursday, October 5 and Friday, October 6, 2017), the staff will be travelling to Masters Academy in Calgary for a two-day professional development time. These dates will be added to the Thanksgiving weekend as PD days for our school.
This training time will allow the teachers to undergo a transformation in their understanding and approach to delivering the PL program as they grasp their role in this model.
How will “The Profound Learning Model” impact your child at PCS?
What does Ownership look like?
• students track their learning and set goals
• students are given leadership opportunities
• students are managing their own projects
What does Mastery look like?
• learning is customized (environment, passion/interest, ability levels)
• instruction is differentiated (amount/type)
• quality is fixed
What does Innovation and Creativity look like?
• use of creative processes or tools
• use of problem solving/critical thinking skills
• pursuing personal passion and vision
What does “Future Ready” look like?
• Personal development with a growth mind set, skills and habits
• developing character through the 7 Habits
• a Graduate Profile that promotes the Leader, Risk-taker, Explorer, Innovator and Builder
These qualities are the objective of the Profound Learning Model. It is our prayer and commitment that they will become the qualities of our students at PCS.
As the Maple Leafs vie for the Stanley Cup, we fully understand that they and the NHL have recognized that player development has radically changed since the days of Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr. New equipment, training practices and nutritional awareness has changed the face of hockey.
Today, educators face the same need to change. Advanced teaching methods, classroom design, creative skills and computer usage are promoted in order to give students the skills for a future rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, there seems to be much talk but little core value change in many schools.
Many years ago, PCS faced the challenge of updating our reading program. Foundations and Frameworks became the system by which we could deliver a premium, modern approach to understanding the written word. It quickly became part of our DNA and now permeates our reading program.
Real change is necessary when the old methods simply do not meet the requirements for today’s needs.
At PCS, we have been in constant review of our programs as we have observed the educational landscape evaluating itself and producing new key words, such as “21st century learning” or “project- based learning” or “brain- based learning”. We realized that the classroom of today still replicates the classroom of the past 40 years, but the skills needed are much different.
Pause here and watch this short video titled “I Sued the Public School”
At PCS, we truly believe that God has directed our paths into the Profound Learning system (PL). PL was birthed in a Christian school over 20 years ago. Masters Academy of Calgary AB has been on the cutting edge of bringing a methodology to the forefront that will move schools into the needed change for the next generations of students. (View WEBSITE)
We are pleased to announce that starting in the fall of 2017, PCS will become an officially licensed Profound Learning school. Through the summer, the staff will be taking 4 days of intense training, in order to be prepared to incorporate many of the unique ideas focused on updating the way we deliver the curriculum to all students. Initially, this will be a slow roll out as we target certain grades and subjects. The earliest change that parents might notice will be the class environment. The rooms will reflect the learning zones of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.
Watch for part two of this discussion, titled “What is Changing?” in the coming weeks. It will give more specific details on our journey over the coming months.
I think that a scary thought for most parents is finding out that their child has acquired a negative “label”
Academically – slow, unfocused, no effort
Personality – unkind, bossy, or selfish
I recently took a trip to a school in the USA and learned of a new term to describe certain students.
Sounds very cutesy, but the label is a harsh comment on the character trait that is rolling like an avalanche over a new generation of young people. By definition, it refers to the person’s inability to handle hard work, disappointment and stress. Under this heat . . . they melt! In trying to make life comfortable, we have removed all opposition from their lives so that they will feel good about themselves, not experience any pain, and forbid any sense of failure!!
Think about it. My hockey team steps onto the ice. After 20 minutes of play we have taken 34 shots on net and scored 16 times. Wow, what a sense of accomplishment?? Did I forget to mention that the other team never showed up? Is this joy a valid feeling? Not in the least. Without opposition, there is no growth or sense of victory in our efforts. For muscle growth, you need appropriate and controlled opposition in order to see them get bigger and stronger. When it comes to character, is this not why the Apostle James could write:
“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
As Christian parents and educators, we are not called to remove the trials of our children and students. It is our role to provide the tools to meet the challenges head on, work hard through them and count the results as JOY.