By ALISON SIDOW
Superintendent, School District 73
WE ARE ROLLING OU the final phase of the new B.C. Curriculum, and powerful examples of quality teaching and learning were evident across the Kamloops-Thompson School District in January as Grade 12 students presented their Capstone projects.
Capstones are an important step for students as they complete their secondary education. The students of 2020 will be the first to graduate under the rules of the new B.C. curriculum.
A Capstone, also known as a culminating project or experience, allows students to demonstrate their learning using an area of interest – something they are passionate about. It helps them plan, and map out the next steps in their life’s journey.
During these projects, students design, assemble and present their learning to teachers and family members to show their personal achievements both inside and out of school, and their reflections on their plans after graduation.
One student, Olivia Busenius, a student at NorKam Senior Secondary, is planning to become a nurse. Olivia told us her Capstone helped her to better understand her strengths and weaknesses. It also gave her perspective on the importance of budgeting. For Zoey Martin, also a student at NorKam Senior Secondary, the impact of the project was profound as she mapped her career pathway to become a teacher.
Doing this project was a lot harder than a lot of people would say it was. I went from saying I was going to fail, I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to pass the class, I’m not going to graduate – to talking to my teachers, them helping me, talking me through it, and encouraging me. I am actually really happy with my project.
According to the B.C. Ministry of Education, research shows Capstones help students in their motivation and engagement, career aspirations, and confidence. This was certainly the case in SD73.
For instance, students showcased their talents and affinities for a career in areas such as forest management, biology, heavy duty mechanics, food preparation, construction, hotel management, and event management.
We heard stories of students realizing they have what it takes to succeed, exploring opportunities they might not otherwise have reached for, building on what they already know, and learning things about themselves that surprised them.
We also heard from teachers who know that by Grades 11 and 12, learning needs to look different for every student. Students must figure out for themselves their career goals, how they learn best, and what makes them happy. And, our principals, teachers and support staff are supporting our graduates through every challenging decision!
We are focused on preparing our students for a world where communication is instant and information is immediately accessible. The way we interact with each other personally, socially and at work has changed forever. Knowledge is growing at unprecedented rates, and how we access and use that information is critical to our future success.
This is the world our students are entering. The success of projects like the Capstone is one way we can reach our goal to help every student cross the stage with dignity, purpose, and options.
Alison Sidow is the superintendent of schools for School District 73.