Our Professional Development Journey
by Darryl deBoer, Director of Learning
“Starting at kindergarten, we would like our students to be invited, nurtured and empowered to play their role within the bigger story of building God’s Kingdom.”
On October 12th, 24 Surrey Christian staff members climbed onto a bus for a 10 hour road trip to Eastern Washington State (Kettle Falls, WA to be exact) to join 39 other Christian educators from BC, Alberta and Washington for 2 days of immersion learning at Kettle Falls Expeditionary Learning (EL) school. What could go wrong? Well, if you discount 4 hours stranded in an overheated bus along Hwy 3 in a mobile phone dead zone……not a lot. Spirits remained high as the sun and temperature began to dip, and we eventually arrived at our destination shortly after 1:00 AM content with potato chips and juice boxes to sustain us.
In many ways, this experience is a wonderful metaphor for our staff’s learning as we continue our venture into BC’s new curriculum – we have a plan and a route, but, we are aware that great planning will not account for all the adventures we will encounter with the new curriculum.
So, what brings your teachers to the small town of Kettle Falls, WA? Well, the new curriculum is a shift away from an approach that requires your teachers to cover topics, and to a way of teaching that provides opportunities for the students to acquire competencies and skills. In other words, it is a shift from content to skill acquisition.
In Kettle Falls there is a school that belongs to a series of EL Education schools (www.eleducation.org). While the goal is not for Surrey Christian School to become an EL Education school, we do recognize that EL schools have a wealth of practices that focus on student engagement and student empowerment to become ‘leaders of their own learning.’ It is our hope and plan to incorporate many of the assessment and learning practices from EL Education into how our students will learn the new curriculum at Surrey Christian School. It is our hope to combine the new curriculum (the “what”) with the teaching practices of EL Education (the “how”) with the mission and vision of SCS (the “why”). Starting at Kindergarten, we would like our students to be invited, nurtured and empowered to play their role within the bigger story of building God’s Kingdom. And we recognize that, as a staff, we need to be very intentional in designing learning experiences that will provide opportunities for our students to practice this way of being; we need to create learning that empowers our students to do real work that meets a real need for real people. And in doing so, our student will acquire the skills and competencies of the new curriculum.
And it is this deep desire that motivated 24 members of your SCS staff to climb aboard a bus for a 10 hour road trip. While we aren’t there…..yet, we are excited about the new curriculum and we are embracing a wide variety of learning experiences and professional growth opportunities that will change the learning experiences for the students in our school. I am also happy to share that our bus ride home was uneventful and did not require four more hours of staff bonding along the side of Hwy 3 in Manning Provincial Park.