The HB Beal SS integrated learning class welcomes the North Middlesex DHS integrated learning class to share their learning experiences. Photo Credit: TVInnovates
SCH(school)OOL Opportunity for TVDSB Secondary Schools
The TVDSB SCH(school)OOL (school-within-a-school) opportunity is designed as a challenge to our educators to actualize a new generation of widespread collaboration, innovation and creativity in our secondary school teaching and learning practices. The program is a vehicle to put ideas into action while removing some of the restrictions or borders often associated with traditional school experiences.
Currently, mainstream secondary school experience is quite fragmented with everything organized into distinct disciplines and departments. A student’s regular day is highly segmented and cut into regular blocks of time - math class, followed by science class, followed by English class, and so on and so on. This long standing approach in mainstream secondary education has been identified by researchers, educators and students as falling behind the times. Thames Valley, like many school boards across the country and the globe, are exploring approaches to better meet the needs and desires of students, staff and the broader community.
In September 2016, educators in eight schools across TVDSB launched various iterations of the SCH(school)OOL “learning without borders”. This flexible and integrated approach consists of no subjects, no periods - just learning. The program encourages risk-taking but remains inside the box of curriculum standards set by the Ontario Ministry of Education and respects and upholds existing collective agreements with all staff.
Currently, approximately 27 TVDSB teachers are working with over 400 students across the system on a variety of new approaches to learning. Projects have various combinations of teachers, subjects and students ranging from one teacher in a school teaching two courses, to one set of 28 students to four teachers working with 82 students on 4 credits over a full semester and everything in between.
Schools participating in the first year of the program include, Central Elgin CI, Glencoe DHS, HB Beal SS, Lord Dorchester SS, North Middlesex DHS, Oakridge SS, Strathroy DCI, and West Elgin SS. Ten additional secondary schools are planning their own Sch(school)ool projects for 2017-18.
It is hoped that by 2018 that an iteration of the program will be rolled out system wide and that there will be entry level participation in the “learning without borders” SCH(school)OOL opportunity available in each TVDSB secondary school and extended level participation established in 20% (5 or 6) of TVDSB secondary schools.