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4 schools share week of learning!

Posted on Oct 22, 2016

Grade 7 students from 4 schools meet future peers during CTF Week, a unique learning opportunity made possible by small school creativity and collaboration!

Grade 7 students from Grasmere School, Onoway Elementary School, Rich Valley School and Darwell School came together in Alberta Beach last week to participate in Career & Technology (CTF) Week at Grasmere School. The idea came to principals after hearing about similar programs via the Alberta Rural Education Symposium last Spring and noting how different programs operated.

"We wanted to offer students a quality program with a variety of options which is challenging to do on our own given the need for multiple teachers to teach different courses, explains Darwell Principal Lorna Vardy. "We attended a PD session where we heard about a similar program that had great results with students and we began to talk as a group of principals about how we might be able to pool our resources in order to provide students with these opportunities."

Career & Technology Foundations, or CTF, helps students build their understanding of the world around them as they identify and apply career and life skills. 

Students develop communication, collaboration, critical thinking, time management and problem-solving skills through hands-on learning experiences. CTF supports the development of literacy, numeracy and competencies which can be developed through student-focused learning opportunities.

CTF also provides a foundation for students to transition into Career and Technology Studies (CTS) in Grades 10 through 12.

But the benefits were twofold. Students from the four schools will transition into Grade 8 at Onoway Jr/Sr High School together next year, and as a result of this opportunity, they won't be strangers. 

"Giving students the chance to meet their future OJSH peers, and make new friends with shared interests, is the additional goal of this learning opportunity. The students will come together for another week in January and again in May. There are plans for a dance at the end of the 3rd term," shared Principal Vardy.

Teachers presented options for the courses based on their own interests and talents and in alignment with CTF curriculum outcomes. Students then selected their options based on preference:

  • It is Rocket Science - the science and construction of working rockets
  • Robotics - designing, building and programming robots
  • The Artist in Me - artistic expression and technique through a variety of mediums
  • Healthy Living - exploring health and wellness, fitness and nutrition 
  • World of Wonders - exploring the natural wonders of the world and travel
  • Cupcake Wars - baking and experimenting

Teachers and principals from all four schools worked together to make the program possible with teachers planning courses they've never taught before, creating their curriculum, ensuring its connection to learning competencies and teaching students they've never met before at a school they are not familiar with. Each principal committed to spending time at Grasmere School over the week to help manage the influx of students and share in the showcase. A collaboration Principal Vardy says was well worth it given the engagement of students.

The showcase marked the end of the week for students with parents, family and friends filling the gym to take in their students' work! Another piece of the learning outcomes with students explaining their work and sharing their experience! Looking forward to Term 2 GORD (Grasmere School, Onoway Elementary School, Rich Valley School, Darwell School)!

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