WILLIAMS LAKE – The world of education is changing and students at Skyline Offsite Alternate School in Williams Lake will benefit from innovative concepts being put into practice by teachers and administrators.

The program will guide students through culturally relevant project-based learning, encourage First Nations elder and community involvement, and make cultural activities a significant and integrated part of work and curriculum in high school with a goal of creating culturally empowered graduates ready for post-secondary or community leadership experiences.

“We want our students to be equipped with the skills they need to be successful in life,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “Bringing cultural values into the classroom will benefit students.”

“Incorporating First Nations culture into Skyline Alternate School will improve our education system and further strengthen student success,” Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said.

The project at Skyline Offsite Alternate School is one of the first 17 projects that will receive support under K-12 Innovation Partnership projects.

“We are aiming to keep more students connected to school,” School District 27 superintendent and CEO Mark Thiessen said. “Skyline Alternate School is doing this by developing a program that will holistically weave First Nations culture and traditions into existing provincially recognized courses to nurture a sense of belonging in at-risk students. The program will guide students through culturally relevant project-based learning, encourage First Nations elder and community involvement, and make cultural activities a significant and an integrated part of the daily curriculum.”

The K-12 Innovation Partnership gives public and independent schools the opportunity – and support – to explore new programs and practices to help students and teachers succeed. The selected projects complement the new K-12 curriculum being phased in over the next three years and focus on:

  • enhanced hands-on, project-based learning
  • supports for vulnerable and/or at-risk students
  • Aboriginal learning
  • science and technology
  • reporting and assessment practices.

The 17 projects from throughout the province were selected by the Innovation Partnership Working Group (IPWG), a collaboration of education partners including the BC Teachers’ Federation, BC Schools Superintendents Association, BC Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, the Federation of Independent School Associations of BC and the Ministry of Education.

Each project will receive $8,000 in financial support for teacher release time, research, and project expenses, plus there will be opportunities for project teams to collaborate with colleagues and explore how these innovative concepts could be adopted by other school districts.

A second intake for the Innovation Partnership will be announced later this fall, and schools are encouraged to continue to submit proposals for consideration.

Quick Facts:

  • The working group received 77 project proposals for the first intake of the Innovation Partnership.
  • Proposals were received from 33 school districts and 19 independent schools.
  • The IPWG will be bringing teams from each project together twice during the year to discuss their innovations.
  • The Innovation Partnership is a key component of the K-12 Innovation Strategy announced at the ‘BC’s Focus on Learning’ forum in January 2015.

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