Superintendents play with blocks. Learn of credit soft capWednesday, February 13, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Algoma District School Board (ADSB) officials received a math lesson at their meeting Tuesday evening.
ADSB educators Kris Oliverio and Daniel Belsito gave the Board a briefing on the new, hands-on, problem-solving way math is taught in today’s elementary school classrooms.
Board members were split into groups and given a problem to solve using blocks, to illustrate how the use of objects, teamwork and discussion of outcomes in the modern classroom is helping students prepare for life in today’s workplace with its’ heavy emphasis on math and science.
In other matters involving numbers, Superintendent Joe Maurice informed the Board of the province’s new 34-credit threshold for secondary school students.
The threshold, which takes effect in September 2013, states students should be able to earn the 30 credits they need to graduate from high school in four years.
The government says that even after trimming secondary school education from five years down to four a decade ago, over 20,000 students in Ontario were staying in school in 2010-2011 to take extra credits in a fifth year, to upgrade their marks as they strive to get into college or university.
Beginning in September, students who wish to go beyond a 34-credit threshold may do so, but the government says that while students would not have to pay for any additional credits, funding for school boards would decrease as a result.
Superintendent Joe Maurice told SooToday.com: “Normally students graduate with 30 credits in four years, but the government has noticed that a lot of students are coming back for a fifth year, so partially as a cost-cutting measure, and partially just to encourage students to move on, they’ve brought in this regulation that says after 34 credits, as a board we’ll be funded less.”
“As this evolves, they’ve put in some new procedures and resources to help students figure out which career pathway they want to take, so by the time they get to high school they can take the right courses, so they can get out and be finished by the time they have 34 credits.”
Maurice told the Board there are currently only six students past the 34-credit threshold out of a total of 1,906 students in ADSB secondary schools.
“At this point,” he told us, “our numbers are low so it doesn’t have a huge funding impact, but if the numbers get high, it would.”
“We would have to look at other ways to offer courses, such as a co-op program, which is a cheaper way in terms of staffing costs and it matches the funding we would get for students taking their 35th or 36th credit, or summer school or night school. Night school would be the easier way to do it.”
The Board was also informed that a Field School Program, in which 12 students combine studies with hands-on duties at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, is a success.
Launched in November 2012, the Field School Program at the CBHC gives students the chance to learn life skills.
Students help with custodial duties, preservation of displays, work in the gift shop and are now operating an on-site, student-run café.
The ADSB has other Field Schools at Station Mall and the F.J. Davey Home.
Tuesday’s meeting was also an entertaining one.
The Board was treated to singing performances by Korah Collegiate students who will showcase their talents in Beauty and the Beast at the Korah Auditorium February 27 through March 2.
Showtime begins 7:30 p.m. each night.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and are available at the Station Mall Box Office or at Korah Collegiate.
There will be a dinner and show fundraiser March 1, where a pre-show pasta dinner will be served.
Tickets for that event are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors.