Monday, June 22, 2009

Specialist high-skills

Peterborough ran this story Saturday about the expansion of high-skills majors at the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board's schools. This follows recent CBC Radio coverage of other high-skills major programs last week, which is memory serves focused on a high school in Napanee.
For the uninitiated, specialist high-skills majors (SHSM) are about four years old and were developed as one of six student-success programs aimed at those students looking for more practical experiences as part of their high school careers.
Rob Andrews, superintendent of education for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, said the specialist high skills major programs (SHSM) are allowing students to focus on their passions and prepare for their career while in high school.
“These programs are preparing kids for college, an apprenticeship, university or work right after high school,” he said. “They are really amazing.”
It's a program that recognizes that not every student learns best through traditional (or even more modern) classroom-based teaching methods. It feeds those people who are kinesthetic and experience-based learners, not the ones like yours truly who are far more visual and auditory learners and are well-suited in classroom settings.
The SHSMs' expansion feeds well into an earlier conversation on this blog about credit integrity, and continuing commentary about the value of high school credits in an environment where some feel students aren't allowed to ever fail a high school credit. Some times, that conversation is premised on an assumption that a classroom is the best and only place for people to learn and earn credits.
It's not-- and the SHSMs and other 'experiential' programs are hopefully proving it.