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School district faces review from education ministry

A team from the B.C. Ministry of Education is coming to assess the Central Okanagan School District.

“All districts undergo external reviews on a regular basis,” said Mike Roberts, the superintendent of schools.

“It’s something that every three or four years a team from the ministry of education comes to visit a school district to look at what’s working well, and to offer opinions or alternatives for some of the things that may need attention.”

The external review will happen during the third week in November. The team of approximately six members will consist of education professionals from outside the district, said Roberts, including other superintendents and ministry staff.

They will meet with district staff and teachers and visit a variety of schools throughout the area.

Roberts said he is looking forward to the review.

“Certainly we feel we’re a good school district. At the same time, that outside eye, somebody coming in who can offer a different opinion, is always valuable.”

The last review of the Central Okanagan School District was done four years ago, Roberts said. The recommendations focused on program alignment, which means ensuring all programs complement one another and the goals set by the district.

“You want to make sure that professional development in the district supports the needs of teachers to reach the goals we have in place,” said Roberts. “Right now we have literacy as a goal, we want our professional development for teachers to complement that.”

As for assessment, “I think most people think of assessment as the test at the end the unit in order to evaluate how a student has done,” said Roberts. “There’s also an aspect of assessment which means using assessment for learning, to understand what students already know and what they don’t know, so teachers can focus on that.”

Roberts said student assessments have been a major focus of professional development for teachers in the district over the last three years.

To address program alignment, the district created The Learning Centre at its Hollywood Road Educational Services facility. Programs like literacy, Aboriginal education and technology are coordinated through the centre as is all training for staff and teachers.

Once the external review is complete, its findings will be made public. The findings of the last external can be found at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/review/023_2004.pdf.

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