Get Engaged

Help shape BC's Education Plan by sharing your thoughts and ideas on the questions below. Please note that all of the older questions have been re-opened for comments as well.

The Power of Partnerships

On February - 12 - 20141 COMMENT

The other day I walked over to the Ministry of Advanced Education building to try out my newly configured security pass. It worked. I was able to take the elevator up to a third floor meeting without having to sign-in and be issued a “visitor’s pass.” This might not sound like a big thing, but to me it is very symbolic of the partnerships that are emerging where once there were obstacles.

Last fall, Grade 6 and 7 students at Randerson Ridge Elementary in Nanaimo took part in a very interesting inquiry learning project. We were invited up there recently to check it out.

One of the key themes of our education transformation work is to create the conditions where students can pursue learning experiences that truly appeal to their interests and passions. Sometimes these experiences take place in the traditional classroom; other times they take place in a community setting like a recreation centre or a job site; and other times they take place in the great outdoors, such as under the canopy of towering Douglas Fir trees or on a river bank.

Imagine yourself as a prospective teacher. Wouldn’t it be amazing to ‘borrow’ an experienced educator or a student – like you would a book from a library – and learn from that person?

Turning off Some Bells

On December - 2 - 20134 COMMENTS

A few weeks ago I visited a metalwork shop at a high school in northwestern BC. And it got me thinking.

Starting Earlier?

On November - 20 - 20133 COMMENTS

Over the past few months I’ve been visiting school districts around the province to talk about their career education programs. I’ve asked them to tell me their success stories and to talk about the barriers and frustrations they’re encountering.

How might the new BC Services card improve and streamline your interactions with government – and also, more specifically, with the education system? Here’s a golden opportunity to share your ideas.

Every country in the world is #1 at something. And in this lighthearted take, Canada is tops in maple syrup production and asteroid impacts. Who knew?

This Friday 50 students from Claremont Secondary’s Institute for Global Solutions will embark on the educational experience of a lifetime. Together with their teachers, they will travel by train from Vancouver to our nation’s capital for a first hand look at the world of Canadian politics. Lana Popham, the MLA for Saanich South, and Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, will be travelling with them as well.

Rob Wood has been appointed Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, effective next Monday, October 7, 2013.

The Jar of Life

On August - 19 - 201311 COMMENTS

Stones in a jar
A teacher stands in front of a class of students with an empty Mason jar. He fills the jar with large stones.

As we approach the midpoint of summer, we’re wondering: What is it you’re most proud of about the last school year, and what are you looking forward to the most about the next one?

We have lots of inspirational posters and quotes on our walls at the Ministry of Education. These remind us of why we do the work we do and what education is really about. Here are a few examples:

Meet Larry Espe

On July - 11 - 20137 COMMENTS

We had some very special guests at the ministry last week. Several recent graduates from the Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE) and two of their teachers joined us to chat about their unique experiences at school.

Last summer we announced that our ministry would be renewing its focus on reading in the early years. Your comments confirm this is the right approach and that some amazing things are already happening in our schools.

Earlier this week the federal government launched a new version of its open data portal. Among other things, this new version includes:

Welcome Back!

On June - 14 - 201310 COMMENTS

Over the past several months we’ve asked you some pretty specific questions on this site. For example:

In late January, Parliamentary Secretary Jane Thornthwaite hosted a Twitter Town Hall to learn how we can better communicate with parents about their children’s learning. On Wednesday March 13 she hosted a second Twitter chat to continue the conversation.

Sidney’s Parkland Secondary is a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. It is also home to the Parkland Marine Institute, where students can take courses towards graduation and a potential career in fields like marine vessel restoration, sailing, dive instruction, and marine biology.

Over the past several months, government, industry, and others have been working closely to promote the trades as a great career choice for youth. A new phase of the campaign, called the Discover Trades Conferences, was launched last week to help support this goal. These conferences will provide parents and K-12 educators with a chance to learn more about the trades and showcase them as a worthy and rewarding career choice.

Government released its Framework for a 10-year Agreement with Public School Teachers. What do you think?

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Parliamentary Secretary’s Twitter Town Hall. Click here to download a full archive of the conversation.

As parents, we all do our best to support our children’s education. Many of us wish we could do more than our hectic lives will allow. And when we do want to participate more, sometimes it can be tough just to know where to start. That’s not really anybody’s fault. In many ways it’s just the reality of the complexity of an education system.

We’re reviewing our grad program to see how we can better prepare students for the future. Want to be part of this? Please read our background information then answer the questions below.

One of the things we’ve been working on lately is a set of digital literacy standards for students. These standards identify the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in our increasingly digital world.

It’s been estimated there will be over 1,000,000 job openings in BC between now and 2020. 43% of these will be in trades and technical training occupations – but unless we act now there may not be enough skilled workers to fill them.

Our StrongStart BC programs provide school-based early learning services for parents and their children aged 0-5. More than 33,000 children and their families utilize these free drop-in services every year.

For the past two years, the Ministry of Education has been consulting with stakeholders on revising BC’s K-12 curriculum. Much of what is being suggested aligns with what you’ve said on this engagement site as well – things like:

What You’ve Said

On August - 17 - 201246 COMMENTS

Since the launch of BC’s Education Plan, people from all parts of the province and all walks of life have weighed in on how we might make our already great education system even better.

Teaching students to be successful readers begins early. We recognize this, and in response will be placing additional emphasis on reading intervention in the primary grades. We also know that many great programs already exist across the province.

As we wind down another school year, I look forward to taking a well deserved break. In the past I would by now have planned vacations, organized my children’s summer camps and known that by the time the lazy days of August set in, we would all be keying up for another school year. So, last Sunday while working in my home office, my ears perked up to Cross Country Checkup. A gentleman on the program was describing the idea of shortening the summer holiday and spreading it out across the school year. There are benefits to this, he said, especially for the struggling learner. It turned out the guest was none other than our former Minister of Education, George Abbott.

Over the past few months we’ve received many suggestions from people on how we can improve our website. Here are a few examples:

BC has a scholarship and awards program that rewards students for high academic achievement. However, we’ve heard that the program needs to be changed to reflect a more personalized approach to student learning.

BC is potentially facing a skilled labour shortage. We believe schools can play a larger role in helping address this problem.

The Graduation Program is the education program students must complete to earn a Graduation (Dogwood) Diploma. We recognize that elements of this program likely need to be changed to ensure success for each learner. Some of the ideas we’ve heard so far are that students:

Questions of funding, class size and other issues determined through bargaining and defined by teachers’ employment contracts are important. But setting those aside for the moment, what is one thing teachers could be empowered to change today that would improve the school experience for them and their students?

BC’s Education Plan includes a commitment to ensure university teacher preparation programs provide new teachers with the skills to support new approaches to student learning. What should the first priority be to achieve this goal?

Think about your favourite teacher. What set(s) him or her apart and how could we help other teachers achieve a similar level of performance?

One of the things you’ve told us is there are resources and expertise in the community that schools can tap into to support learning. Some school districts, such as Peace River North, are doing this already.

We’ve heard from you that students’ passions and interests can play a part in helping them learn. For example, Nancy told us:

Research suggests adjustments to current school scheduling may have positive effects on student learning. Many of you, like Terri, have also said the typical BC school schedule needs to change to better accommodate different out of school activities and work requirements.

Across the world education experts are asking: “What do teachers need to keep current in today’s context?” Research also shows that systemic, ongoing teacher professional development is more effective than traditional one-time workshops.

Teachers today have to meet a diverse set of student needs. Teaching Assistants are being used in some, but not all classrooms to help teachers support student learning.

In the past few weeks you’ve made over 1300 comments on flexibility and choice in the K-12 education system. Here’s a synthesis of what you’ve said so far. Click on the links below each theme to read supporting examples.

How do you think our schools and school districts need to change to support more flexibility and choice?

Flexibility and choice are evident in many B.C. schools and communities. Do you have some good examples to share?

What do you think are the benefits and challenges to offering students more flexible learning opportunities?

Over the past several weeks many people have commented on a broad range of questions about personalized learning. We’ve gone through all of your comments (more than 1000!) and have updated this wrap-up to share back with you what we’ve heard since the engagement forum began. What was originally a Questions 1-3 Wrap-Up now includes a summary for Questions 4-6 as well. We now have a much clearer picture of what issues are important to you and what suggestions you have for us as we move forward with education transformation in BC.

What does it mean for students to play an active role in their education?

How can teachers personalize learning for reading, writing, math and science?

How can our education system support the unique needs of students?

What do you think is important for our education system in the future?

What type of information do parents need on their child’s learning?

What new competencies will students need to prepare them for graduation and the future?