SECTION 1 Long Term VisionApril 21, 2021
SECTION 1: Long Term Vision
SECTION 2: Student Learning
SECTION 3: Teaching
SECTION 4: Accountability for Student Learning
SECTION 5: Governance
SECTION 6: Funding
Winnipeg School Division’s Recommendations
The purpose of Manitoba’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system is to prepare students for meaningful participation in society. Furthermore, Winnipeg School Division’s (WSD) purpose is to provide a learning environment that fosters the growth of each student to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary for meaningful participation in a global and diverse society.
Meaningful participation helps cultivate students’ autonomy, decision–making and leadership skills, personal talents and strengths. In fact, teachers in high–performing schools report that influence over decisions is shared among all groups, including students.3 Learning opportunities are meaningful when they are connected to students’ personal interests and are applicable to their lives. Other pedagogical practices that encourage meaningful participation include project–based learning, hands–on activities, field–based learning (i.e., museums, college campuses, etc.), and intra–curricular projects.4 Meaningful participation occurs within a physically and emotionally safe context characterized by warm, healthy relationships.5
Winnipeg School Division fully supports the Manitoba Education and Training mission: To ensure that all Manitoba’s children and youth have access to an array of educational opportunities such that every learner experiences success through relevant, engaging and high quality education that prepares them for lifelong learning and citizenship in a democratic, socially just and sustainable society.
We believe this also aligns with the WSD Strategic Plan (2016-2020) to be reviewed in 2020.
ACHIEVING THE PURPOSE
What are the determinants of success for students?
In order for students to succeed they need literacy and communication skills, the ability to collaborate, create and be critical thinkers. Additionally, students need to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competencies, problem-solving skills as well as social and emotional competencies and cultural awareness. Each student must be given the opportunity to develop the values, attitudes and principles that enable them to become responsible community members who relate to others in an ethical manner.
Students should be equipped through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to better understand themselves, relationships and life at a micro and macro level. ESD is an evolving concept that requires students to learn key themes such as sustainability, poverty alleviation, human rights, health and environmental protection and climate change. Students learn how to apply these themes to a social, cultural, environmental and economic perspective while exploring how these factors allow for inter-related and inter-dependent growth to achieve human development within the education system.
Students must be able to explain concepts, solve problems, ask informed questions, analyze conflicting perspectives, understand differences in communication, and create and evaluate actions and consequences. They need to be fluent in reading, writing and numeracy, technologically equipped and capable of advocating for themselves.
Basic nutritional, physical, mental and housing needs of students are critical in supporting the development of the ‘abilities’ listed above.
Furthermore, the necessary ‘abilities’ and supports needed have changed over time and will continue to do so in our rapidly changing world. Evolving technology, for instance, has led to new technological skills being taught in schools, and the growth in socioeconomic issues has led to the need for greater support for the physical and mental health issues experienced by youth in the K to 12 education system.
WSD has developed and continues to develop initiatives that support student success. An alternative school day and school calendar are examples of the initiatives currently being assessed by WSD. Pilots for both the balanced school day and balanced school calendar are being coordinated in the division.
Students require numerous inputs in order to be successful – from the development of necessary knowledge, skills and values to their basic physical, mental and housing needs. Accordingly, clarity on who is responsible for the provision of the various inputs is required.
Despite health and socioeconomic issues not necessarily falling under the scope of the K to 12 education system, these conditions can severely impact the ability for the system to function effectively. Moreover, schools are uniquely placed to provide some services that are not explicitly educational. In fact, schools and school divisions are often found providing these services because educators refuse to idly sit by while their students and community suffer the consequences.
WSD has developed several programs and initiatives designed to address external factors to education. However, resources for the K to 12 education system are finite and should not be used on areas that are the responsibility of other government departments and organizations. Providing clarity on who is responsible for all inputs required for student success would benefit students, families and educators while leading to better accountability for all stakeholders involved.
Indigenous Perspectives and Philosophies in Education
Winnipeg School Division has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to Indigenous Education. This commitment is articulated through policy and implemented through programming.
Indigenous Education is defined as the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives and philosophies, in all curricular areas, to inform all students of the past and contemporary lifestyles and histories of Indigenous peoples of Canada. Indigenous Education encompasses the rich traditions and values of its people and applies those concepts to relevant issues facing Indigenous children and youth today, through curriculum and cultural activities, in positive student-centered learning experiences.
Over the last forty years, Indigenous Education has evolved in Winnipeg School Division from the hiring of a “Native Education Consulting Teacher” in 1979, who supported “Native Awareness” programs in classrooms, and provided training for teachers in “Native Culture” to present day – where staff, students and the community are supported by a team of professionals dedicated to providing an education program integrated with Indigenous knowledge and practices across the curricula.
Please consider the “Indigenous Education Blueprint” as part of this submission, illustrating the position and programming of Winnipeg School Division. (See Appendix B)
Recommendation 1: That Winnipeg School Division, with the support of the Province of Manitoba, provide leadership in expanding Indigenous Education programming and initiatives province-wide.
NEWCOMER EDUCATION E-CREDITS
Winnipeg School Division has worked over the past two years with Newcomer Education Coalition and Manitoba Education and Training to conduct a comprehensive review of EAL programming, with a focus on E-credits. As a result of this review, WSD supports changes to the use of E-credits. The intent of E-credits is to provide foundational learning skills that will lead to EAL students’ success in regular programming and the 4OS credit system, which is recognized by employers and post-secondary institutions. When EAL students are included in regular programming, teachers and administrators have a duty to fully understand the students’ learning needs and to provide appropriate supports for their success.
Recommendation 2: That Manitoba Education and Training provide training for teachers and administrators on appropriate use of E-credits to ensure EAL students are moved into regular programming as soon as possible.