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High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot

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Moving Forward with High School Redesign

As the High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project draws to a close, Alberta Education is working with approximately 90 schools across the province on a Phase 2 initiative - Moving Forward with High School RedesignMoving Forward with High School Redesign will focus explicitly on creating flexible, student-centred approaches to 21st century learning, including increasing student engagement, improving student achievement, and enhancing teacher practice. This collaborative work will build on the learnings of the High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project, and other High School Completion work to bring to life the vision and policy shifts articulated in Inspiring Education.

High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project

The purpose of the High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project is to release a group of high schools from the 25-hour per credit requirement in order to determine if the 25-hour requirement should be removed or maintained for all schools in the province and to study the change process among this group of schools over a four-year period.

At the surface, the project seems to deal with scheduling and school organization practices among Alberta High Schools. However, as the pilot has evolved, participants have engaged in an in-depth critical analysis of current practice and a collective re-thinking of the various integrated elements of schooling in Alberta high schools. The end result has been a glimpse into the process of transformation as sixteen high schools across the province engage in significant redesign.

2013 High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project: A Summary Report

2011-2012 update

Key learnings

  • Participation in the High School Flexibility Enhancement Project has shifted the perception of the work of schools from being school- and teacher-centered to being student- and outcome-centered.
  • The work of teachers in participating schools has become more collaborative and focused on finding ways to ensure that each student meets with success in high school.

Next steps

The 2012-2013 school year will mark the end of the pilot phase of this project. The major task over this next year is to assemble to findings and recommendations coming out of this project.

For more information, read the 2010-2011 Year-end Report.

Project focus

Participating schools have incorporated many strategies that meet the local needs of their communities. However, there are key areas of focus that have been guiding the work of many of the participating schools.  Among these areas of focus are:

  1. Flex block - a block of time in the school day or school week when students have the opportunity to make decisions to guide their learning in areas of need or interest.
  2. Credit recovery - an opportunity for students to continue their progress in a particular course beyond the scheduled semester, rather than awarding them a failing grade and having them retake the course.
  3. Teacher advisory - each teacher in the school takes on a role outside any subject content responsibility. The teacher-advisor role is one of guide, counselor and facilitator to a small group of students' entire school program.
  4. Interdisciplinary and project-based coursework - many participating schools are redesigning curricula to enhance student engagement by combining outcomes from several programs and assessing progress through project-based activities.

Due to the above redesign efforts, many pilot schools are implementing changes in practice brought about by a re-thinking of their work including:

  • the establishment of student-led conferences with parents, teacher advisors and students.
  • a school-wide focus on assessment practices that align with student-centered and learning-centered approaches to grading and reporting.
  • the development of team-teaching approaches within and across subject areas.
  • the use of focus groups and student advisory councils to ensure student voice is heard and valued.

At the conclusion of the project in June 2013, a recommendation will be made to the Alberta Education Executive Team regarding the removal or maintenance of the 25-hour per credit requirement for Alberta High Schools.  A suite of measures is being used to track progress in each of the sixteen participating schools to assist in the final recommendation. Included in the recommendation will be alternative funding and accountability measures that will need to be considered if the 25-hour per credit requirement was to be removed.

For more information, contact Pam Halverson, Project Lead, High School Completion at pam.halverson@gov.ab.ca

Supporting Documents