Education Update: Extra non-instructional days this year as teachers learn new curriculum

As B.C. moves to a new provincial school curriculum over the next three years, parents will have their kids home for a few extra days

  • Oct. 22, 2015 7:00 p.m.

Parents of school children will be asked to take up the slack for what will be an additional two non-instructional days added to school calendars this year as educators are given time to learn a new provincial curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 12.

Over the next three years, B.C.’s new school curriculum will be introduced to school children and to get ready for the change teachers in the Central Okanagan School District will have 10 hours of school time given to them to prepare this year and more in the next two years before full implementation.

“These are exciting times as we prepare to implement the new curriculum over the next three years,” said outgoing school superintendent Hugh Gloster in a letter home to parents in the Central Okanagan School District. “There is significant work to be done by the educators in B.C. to help prepare for this implementation.”

Among the work to be done is learning the new curriculum and how it will be taught in local schools.

According to Gloster, the revisions to the curriculum place an emphasis on students acquiring ” core competencies” in the areas of communication, critical and creative thinking, personal awareness and social responsibility, designed to help them better prepare for their future.

Gloster added principals and vice-principals will be communicating with parents about adjustments to previously published local school calendars.

Central Okanagan School Board chair Moyra Baxter said it will likely turn out to be two extra non-instructional days for teachers to begin to learn the new curriculum this year. She says she is concerned with the added pressures on parents but said it’s necessary for local educators to get up to speed on the changes.

“I do have concerns that this will come unexpectedly but on the other hand this is an opportunity to make sure teachers can work together and learn about the new curriculum and I think it will benefit the students in the end.”

•••

The Central Okanagan School Board has sent a letter to the provincial government expressing concerns with a new system for recording information about students.

A new program called MyEducation BC was implemented over the summer months to keep student records and reports. But staff in the Central Okanagan School District have been finding problems with the system and they aren’t alone.

School board chair Moyra Baxter said the Ministry of Education has acknowledged the new system has not been working well and the government is meeting with the developers to try and work out the kinks.

But Baxter is concerned with extra costs in staff time to work through the problems.

“All this extra time we have to put in for clerical staff trying to put in information is a concern anytime you end up with extra costs in things like overtime,” said Baxter. “We are paying for this service and it’s not serving us well at the moment and that’s unacceptable.”

•••

The new superintendent of the Central Okanagan School District is now officially on the payroll and working as the top administrator in School District 23.

Kevin Kaardal was hired in the summer as a replacement for Hugh Gloster, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Kaardal has been in the district getting up to speed and his official first day on the job will be this Monday.

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