Students attending the Fraser Valley Student Forum 2013 came up with three key words they want implemented in their education: passion, purpose, and personalization.
Jan Unwin, superintendent of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district, was impressed by the students' vision vis-avis their own education, and she took this message back to local principals and viceprincipals.
Her message to them at the annual superintendent's meeting was: "we need to model passion, purpose, and personalizing to get our system to excellence."
Unwin holds a superintendent's meeting every August with school principals and vice-principals to go through goals and focus areas for the upcoming school year.
As superintendent, Unwin said her personal goal is to motivate and inspire those working in the school district "to move to excellence on behalf of our kids" and to "support innovation and to keep people focused on students and learning."
"Ultimately, I want the district and everything we measure in this district to be improved over last year," Unwin said. "I believe in continuous improvement both personally and professionally."
Like the students from the school district who came up with "passion" as a key theme they'd like to see in education, it is a topic that Unwin will also expound when talking about education.
"If you look at kids who are passionate about what they are learning, you will see total engagement in their learning," Unwin said. "That is what we are after in education."
The saying "find what you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life," sums up her point, Unwin added.
"I would like to see kids be able to choose courses and pathways in a graduation program that would allow them to really choose courses that are relevant to what they love and have purpose in their lives," Unwin said.
Over the last four years, the focus at the administrative level has been in building school culture, developing leadership skills, leadership in a changing and new world, and resilient leadership in a turbulent times.
This year, the focus will shift to assessment and how administrators can lead "good assessment practice" in their schools.
Over the last two years, teachers in the school district have been developing a new way of reporting on how students are learning as opposed to using report cards.
This year, about 80 per cent of elementary schools are expected to move away from traditional report cards and towards a "reporting conference," according to director David Vandergugten.
@ Copyright 2013