Govt launches new curriculum to prep students to succeed in changing world

B.C.-Students attending public school  in British Columbia are about experience a new way of learning, with new curriculum being launched this year.

The B.C. government says the  new curriculum starting this school year is the first phase of a three-year transition  for students in kindergarten to Grade 9.

The world is changing. Technology and innovation are reshaping society. Today’s students need the right skills to succeed in tomorrow’s world, says Minister of Education.

“Parents, teachers, educators all share the same goal – student success. With five years of labour peace, we can focus together on connecting students with the skills they will need tomorrow. The new curriculum will help ensure students have the skills they need to turn their dreams into reality in our constantly changing world,” says Mike Bernier, Minister of Education.

“That is why this fall the B.C. government is kicking off a three-year transition to a new curriculum in B.C. schools that will ensure students learn the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic in a way that connects them to the collaboration, critical thinking and communications skills they need to thrive in college, university and the work force,” say the Minister.

Curriculum is the game plan for teaching – it maps out what teachers teach, and what students are expected to learn. In the first phase of the transition, Kindergarten to Grade 9 teachers will have the chance to use the new curriculum in their classrooms.

Flexible learning is at the heart of the refined approach and it will help teachers tap into the passions and interests of individual students. Students can learn about core subjects while doing projects related to their interests, such as music, hockey, or dinosaurs. There are also more hands-on learning opportunities so students can see how classroom knowledge applies in real life situations.

The curriculum also includes:

  • renewed emphasis on environmental sciences;
  • Aboriginal perspectives integrated throughout all grade levels;
  • the history and ongoing legacy of the residential school system; and
  • new content regarding historical experiences of East and South Asian immigrants.

The plan was developed in collaboration with more than 100 B.C. teachers over the past three years, and for the first time, all subject areas have been developed at one time – by teachers.

Starting this fall, the government begins the three-year process of transitioning to the new curriculum, starting with Kindergarten to Grade 9. Teachers in those grades will have the option to use the new curriculum this school year, before it is fully implemented in all schools in fall 2016. The entire K-12 curriculum will be phased in by the 2017-18 school year and will continue to be presented by subject areas and grade levels, ensuring consistent province-wide learning standards for all B.C. students.

The new curriculum fits in with the key goals of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer education to ensure young people have the skills they need to qualify for in demand careers and is part of the larger transformation efforts outlined in B.C.’s Education Plan.

Quick Facts:

  • More than 500,000 B.C. students head back to school Sept. 8, 2015.
  • The teams of teachers that developed curriculum were formed in collaboration with the BC Teachers Federation, the Federation of Independent School Associations and the First Nations Schools Association.
  • Draft K-9 curriculum was posted online for review in October 2013 and garnered more than eight million views and more than 1,200 pieces of feedback from teachers, experts, parents and the general public.
  • Draft curriculum for Grades 10-12 has been developed and will be finalized this school year.
  • The provincial six-year completion rate has increased by more than 10% since 2001 and was at 84.2% in 2013-14 (public and independent schools).

British Columbia’s education by the numbers

BC- A snapshot of facts about the British Columbia’s education system, shows that BC  has 1,581 public schools and 350 independent schools and there will be estimated 521,038 full-time public school students this September.  Following are the facts as to how the funding, enrollment, achievements, capital, healthy schools and  what the class sizes are in the current school systems.

Funding

  • This coming fiscal year (2015-16), total funding to school districts will reach $5.06 billion – up 31% since 2001.
  • The average per-pupil funding is now an estimated $8,902, an increase of 42% since 2000-01.
  • Last school year, total funding for all students (public and independent) with special needs was approximately $920 million.
  • This year, school districts will receive $51.7 million through CommunityLINK, which help them fund programs to support vulnerable children and youth. Districts use this funding to fund breakfast and lunch programs, inner-city and community school programs, school-based support workers and counselling.
  • Government has increased the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) allocation to school districts by more than 66% since 2013-14 – to $100 million in 2015-16. The LIF was established to address complex classroom needs and ensure learning conditions are appropriate for all students.
  • Under the new agreement with teachers, LIF will be maintained at $100 million in each of the next three years, and will rise to more than $106 million in 2018-19.
  • This past school year (2014-15), districts told the Ministry they intended to use the LIF to:
    • Hire 1,100 new teachers;
    • Hire 352 new support staff; and
    • Increase the hours of nearly 2,600 support staff and teachers from part-time to full-time.

Enrolment

  • Estimated 521,038 full-time public school students this September.
  • Since 2000-01, there has been a decrease of nearly 77,000 students.
  • Estimated 58,513 English Language Learning (ELL) students – 640 fewer than last year.
  • Estimated 55,414 Aboriginal students – 252 fewer than last year.
  • Estimated 25,337 students with special needs (eligible for supplemental funding) – 277 fewer than in last year.
  • Estimated 3,415 non-graduated adult students – 103 more than last year.
  • Nearly 78,500 students took at least one online (distributed learning) course in 2014-15. That compares to approximately 33,000 students in 2006-07.

Achievement

  • The provincial six-year completion rate has increased by more than 10% since 2001 and was at 84.2% in 2013-14 (public and independent schools). Over that same period:
  • The six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students has increased by 45.6% and now is at 61.6%;
  • The six-year completion rate for ELL students has increased by 12.5% and now is at 86.6%;
  • The six-year completion rate for students with special needs has increased by 86.2%and now is at 62.2%.

Capital

  • Budget 2015 provides $1.4 billion over three years to replace aging facilities, build more student spaces in growing communities and improve school seismic safety where needed.
  • Since 2001, government has committed more than $4.2 billion in new and improved schools, including $2.2 billion in seismic upgrades.
  • To date, government funding has built 42 new schools, replaced 70 aging schools, added space through 186 schools additions and seismically upgraded 146 schools.
  • New schools that have recently opened include the:
    • $7.4-million NorKam Trades and Technology Centre in Kamloops;
    • $23.8-million École Qayqayt Elementary in New Westminster;
    • $26-million Yorkson Creek Middle school in Langley;
    • $51.6-million Oak Bay High in Victoria;
    • $56-million Chilliwack Secondary.

Healthy Schools

  • The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program provides snacks of fruits and vegetables right in the classroom to children, allowing them to sample B.C. produce such as plums, blueberries, apples, tomatoes and carrots. The Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority have provided combined funding of $21.5 million to the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation since 2010-11 to support the program.
  • In May 2015, government announced $3.5 million in new funding for the program to ensure it continues to bring fruits, vegetables and milk to more than 489,000 children in 1,463 public and First Nations schools.
  • The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools are to be used in every school district to maximize students’ access to healthier options and fully eliminate the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in B.C. schools.
  • Through the Daily Physical Activity requirements, students in all school districts are required to achieve daily activity targets:
    • Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 will engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity at school;
    • Students in Grades 8 and 9 will engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity or 150 minutes of physical activity per week;
    • Students in Grades 10 to 12 will engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week as part of their Graduation Transition program.

Class Size

  • Class sizes in B.C. remain low and stable. The average number of students per class was near historical lows last school year (2014-15) and well below the maximum size allowed in provincial legislation.
  • Of the 66,596 K-12 classes in B.C. public schools last year:
    • 41% had fewer than 24 students;
    • 57% have between 24 and 30 students;
    • Only 1.6% of classes had more than 30 students and the majority of these are classes such as band, drama and gym where it is appropriate and beneficial to have a larger number of students.
  • Average class sizes:
    • 19.5 students for Kindergarten;
    • 21.5 students for grades 1-3;
    • 25.6 students for grades 4-7;
    • 23.2 students for grades 8-12.
  • There were nearly 9,400 full-time educational assistants working in schools in 2014-15, an increase of 42% compared to 2000-01. Approximately one-in-three classes in B.C. have an assigned educational assistant.

Independent schools

  • Independent schools enrol nearly 81,000 students, which is approximately 13% of B.C.’s K-12 population.

Diabetics face thousands of amputations each year

ERIN ELLIS, VANCOUVER SUN

All kinds of Canadians neglect their feet, but that can be a life-altering decision for people with diabetes.

The chances of having a toe or foot amputated due to an infected wound are about 20 times higher for a diabetic. And a lower limb amputation often starts a spiral of decline: up to two-thirds of patients die within a year.

“There’s a high risk of death following amputation. In fact, the mortality rate is greater than some cancers,” explains Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

That organization is on a mission to remind the growing number of people with diabetes to baby their feet like never before. Thousands of Canadians are expected to lose their toes or feet each year despite advances in care that have brought the rate of amputations down among diabetics. That’s because the sheer number of people diagnosed is forecast to rise to 4.2 million by 2020.

There were 4,400 diabetes-related amputations across the country in 2008, the last year for which reliable data are available. That marked a small increase from 4,020 10 years earlier, according to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System.

The road to the operating room starts with foot numbness called diabetic neuropathy.

“Pain is an important defence mechanism. If you or I had a pebble in our shoe, we wouldn’t walk three steps without taking it out. The person with diabetes will walk on it all day,” says Hux.

That creates a sore that remains unnoticed because nerves to their feet have been damaged due to high blood sugar and a lack of oxygen from poor blood flow. That same lack of circulation — again coupled with high blood sugar — creates the perfect environment for infections to grow.

“They’re more likely to get an injury and they’re less likely to be able to heal it,” says Hux. That’s why diabetes accounts for up to 70 per cent of all non-traumatic limb amputations.

Wayne Sidsworth, a 56-year-old management consultant from Hamilton, Ont., watched the process claim his foot in a matter of days. He had been diagnosed at 37 with type 1 diabetes and thought he had it under control. It turned out that a blockage in the main artery of his leg — likely formed before he knew he had diabetes — couldn’t be repaired through several surgeries.

He knew then his lower leg would have to come off, but was unprepared to watch a tiny cut on the sole of his foot transform from a dime-sized sore to a gangrenous limb over the course of a weekend. A surgeon removed it in an emergency operation on the Monday morning.

“I woke up at 9 o’clock without my leg,” Sidsworth recounts. “I got through that part OK. The hard part was rehabilitation, learning how to walk again.”

His advice to others? Get diagnosed. Sidsworth believes he could have avoided some of the damage by getting his blood sugar down from its sky-high levels earlier.

Hux agrees, but goes further. The CDA says 57 per cent of diabetics don’t follow doctors’ orders because they can’t afford the medical supplies to monitor their blood sugar levels or the medications that can help. As a result, only half of Canadians with type 2 diabetes have their blood glucose levels under control and therefore run the risk of slow-healing wounds along with heart diseasekidney damage and blindness. That’s why the CDA endorses proposals for a national Pharmacare program to make sure low- and middle-income patients receive proper care.

“If people can manage their blood sugars well and have the resources they need to do that, then the damage to the nerves won’t happen. This cascade can be avoided where a barefoot walk in the park leads to a below-the-knee amputation,” says Hux.

Sole searching

Foot care advice from the Canadian Diabetes Association:

  • Wear shoes that fit with clean socks.
  • Avoid going barefoot — even in the house — or wearing flip-flops or footwear that presses in one spot.
  • Check your feet daily for cuts, sores and cracks, using a hand mirror to see the bottoms if needed.
  • Don’t use over-the-counter corn and wart removers.
  • Seek help if you notice a wound. Foot specialists can offer advice for protecting a sore.
  • The CDA’s Clothesline program is collecting gently used shoes to distribute to homeless shelters across Canada. For more information call 1-800-505-5525 or download the Clothesline app to find the nearest drop box.

Diabetes in brief

Blood sugar. The key factor in all diabetes is the body’s inability to process sugar. It can be caused by a lack of insulin — the hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate it — or insulin resistance, which is a key indicator of pre-diabetes. Regular finger-prick blood tests throughout the day show diabetics their blood sugar levels so they make changes in food intake, exercise or medication to keep them stable. Uncontrolled high blood sugar causes damage throughout the body. Prolonged high or low blood sugar can cause a diabetic coma.

Type 1 diabetes. Also known as juvenile diabetes, the disease is often diagnosed in children and teens and typically require insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar. It accounts for about 10 per cent of cases and is a serious chronic illness that requires a lifetime of attention.

Type 2 diabetes. This condition is a fast-growing plague in North America that now makes up 90 per cent of all diabetes. It can be brought on by carrying extra weight, a lack of exercise and poor diet. It can sometimes be controlled by lifestyle changes. Damage to the body accumulates the longer it goes uncontrolled.

The epidemic. In 2000, 1.3 million Canadians had diabetes. Ten years later that number more than doubled to 2.7 million. It affects every sphere of society, but has hit First Nations particularly hard, with prevalence about 40-per-cent higher than the rest of Canada.

Sources: Canadian Diabetes Association, National Diabetes Surveillance System

Indian-American man donates $1.5 mn for Sikh studies

New York: An Indian-American cardiologist has donated $1.5 million to the University of California-Irvine to create a Chair for Sikh studies within the school, media reported on Tuesday.
Harvinder Sahota donated the money to the university that will now teach Sikh studies as a regular course. The department will be named after Sahota’s mother, Bibi Dhan Kaur Sahota, India West reported.

“My mother taught me never to degrade anyone and respect everyone,” Sahota was quoted as saying. “I still abide by the lessons she taught me as a child. I wanted to honour my mother for the woman she was and the man she helped me turn out to be,” he said.
Classes in the department are expected to begin in September, 2016

KPU design student wins Staples scholarship for corporate workplace design

Metro Vancouver:Re-imaging the workspace of today, one that’s flexible to the needs of tomorrow, is no simple task.

Space design needs to account for increased digitalization, accommodate for telecommuting, offer open areas for collaboration, and do all of this while emphasizing the use of sustainable materials. Continue reading KPU design student wins Staples scholarship for corporate workplace design