Preparing for an Unknown Future

The Future is Here

It has been a lively month in Senior School settling into routines, building community…and working diligently on university applications. With our largest graduating class in QMS history preparing for their next steps, our university counselling office is full every moment of the day helping students answer the questions…who do I want to be, how can I make an impact and where should I go to realize my dreams? The challenges have never been greater for students and their families. Jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago are being created daily while many traditional jobs are fast becoming obsolete: World Economic Forum. Many parents ask, if we don’t know what the future holds, how can we prepare our students for a world of work that we can’t even imagine?

Happily, there are some very clear trends coming from business and academic organizations around the world that point to key areas of learning students will need to master to become competitive in future job markets. In September our student leaders were able to work with one such organization, The Academy of Tomorrow, made up of industry experts who provide links between job market trends and educational programming. The Academy’s instructors worked with our students through story creation and personal reflection to develop their team building skills, one of the critical skills being identified as necessary for future success.

The redesigned BC curriculum to be implemented in Grades 10-12 next year will also serve to prepare our students for the future. The curriculum and the ways in which teachers deliver it reflects what Cathy Davidson, Director of City University New York’s Future Initiative program describes as essential: “They (students) need new ways of integrating knowledge, including by reflection on what they’re learning — not more “teaching to the test.” They need student-centered, active learning and to be encouraged to make public or professional contributions beyond the classroom”. While content remains very important, how students take that content, critically evaluate it, and apply it will be given much more prominence in the redesigned curriculum. Our new Entrepreneurship course in which students are engaging with students from around the region to select a public space within the Cowichan Valley to redesign, is an example of how the future of learning will look. As students plan their design they need to consider youth interest, accessibility, climate change, community safety, social cohesion, transportation, recreation, housing and the economy. The team will present their design to a panel of judges and the winning selection will be built. Students are engaged in rigorous work in diverse teams and they are motivated by the common goal of community enhancement.

While our school, guided by the redesigned curriculum is actively preparing our students for the future, what can parents do to help? The school will be hosting a job fair for students in March, 2018. If you know of someone, yourself perhaps, who is engaged in an exciting and possibly non-traditional career and would be willing to share their experience please connect with me at dcook@qms.bc.ca. Showing our students possibilities they may not have thought of is one way we can help them to consider options. Also providing service in the local community is another way for students to explore possible pathways and to use all the skills they will need to be able to work with others, develop resilience, and feel their work has meaning. Please contact Ms. Jane Richmond our Service Coordinator at jrichmond@qms.bc.ca if your daughter is interested in volunteering. The world is changing very rapidly but some things remain constant. Working in partnership with you is still the best indicator we have of future student success. Here’s to a happy and productive year.

~ Deborah Cook, Senior School Principal

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