Rethinking High School Pathways and Graduation
The number and quality of NWT high school graduates needs to be improved. Changes are needed so the school experience is more connected to student's lives and helps them achieve their goals in today’s world. In order for students to stay in school and be successful in the path they choose, programs, courses and school structures have to support their different contexts, abilities, and aspirations.
The work of Education Renewal in this area focuses on rethinking the high school experience. Extensive research has been done on ways various high school systems across Canada and the world are organized to best support student success. This includes different possible exit points out of high school, graduation requirements, instructional hours, trades programming, career transition supports, and more. Various options are being considered, outside of the current single route to graduation. These include a more 'direct to workplace' pathway, and some trades/work-experience alternatives.
The Working Group in this area has participated in Alberta-based "High School Redesign" professional development sessions. In these sessions, options for modified timetabling, school year, instructional hours are being explored. In Alberta, over 200 high schools are now involved in this high school redesign 'pilot' project.
The possible directions for a new NWT high school model will be shared with NWT residents in late 2016/early 2017 to get their feedback and help make decisions. Once a new model is developed, communication with communities, families, students and school staff will be needed to get everyone ready for the changes. Training will also be needed for school staff. Currently, the work in this area is focused on developing programming options, high school pathways and graduation requirements and more fulsome career counseling supports for high school students.