Breaking Ground: Connecting Learning Experiences from K-12 to Post-Secondary

On October 19, 2018 nearly 90 educators from eight K-12 school districts, North Island College and Vancouver Island University (VIU) came together to engage in collaborative dialogue about the student learning journey. Hosted at VIU, the professional development day included discussions, learning and planning next steps about making the student learning journey more seamless from K-12 to post-secondary education. Full Summary Report: PDF Version

Feedback Quotes

We are all wanting to bridge these transitions. I found no group stridently defending “their way”. The goal for all was to create a more seamless education K- PSE.

There needs to be this ongoing discussion/work around collaboration and action between PSE and HS. It is refreshing to know that PSE instructors are invested in “minding the gap” and want to participate.

Transitions to post-secondary is a shared responsibility. Time needs to be set aside in the school year to assist with positive steps towards transitions. Both from elementary – secondary – post-secondary.

I came here looking to learn what others are doing to support the core competencies with their students and I’m leaving with a greater sense that we’re all looking for those touchstones from each other. Collaboration is KEY. Communication is needed and vital going forward.

We opened with an exercise examining “what does successful student learning look like?” Participant responses were about Engagement (attendance, connected, feeling valued, belonging), Learning (deep learning, transferable, student-led, progress, transparency) and Personal Awareness, Growth and Direction (joy, being fearless, independence, self-awareness, self-reflection, well-being, resilience after failure, student ownership).

Participants then attended two of the five breakout group topics. In each group, educators discussed the topic and its implications for successful student learning. The groups also discussed next steps. More details in full report document as listed above.

Aligning, Designing and Assigning: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting – How Can We Make It More Seamless for Student Learning?

  • Facilitator: Paula Waatainen, University Professor, Faculty of Education, VIU
  • Summary Themes: Learning Journey, Competencies, Assessment Best Practices
  • Action Items: Create conversations between secondary and post-secondary within subject areas | Discuss assessing collaboration and collaborative projects

Mind the Gap! Ensuring Smoother Transitions for Students Moving from High School to Post-Secondary: Admissions to Graduation and Everything in Between

  • Facilitators: Marilyn Funk and Tine Reimers, Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Specialists, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, VIU
  • Summary Themes: Share, Communicate and Collaborate More Between K-12/PSE, Gaps in Transition to PSE, Assessment, Admissions, Dual Credit
  • Action Items: Connect High School and Post-Secondary (Educators, Students, Parents, Admin) | Foster Resiliency in Students | Dual Credit

Adaptations? Modifications? Accommodations? What do all these mean for Students with Diverse Learning Needs Transitioning from High School to Post-Secondary

  • Facilitator: Denise Hook, Education Advisor/Access Specialist/Coordinator, Disability Access Services, Student Affairs, VIU
  • Summary Themes: Self-Reliance, Student – Nurturing Student Agency, Communication and Continuity, Practice and Expectations, Tools and Strategies,  Next Level Ready, Transition from K-12 to Post-Secondary
  • Action Items: Enhanced Communication and Action Plan | Tours for High School Students |  Decrease Stigma of Needing Support for Learning | Teach Student Advocacy from Young Age in K-12  | Personal Profile

Keeping them Engaged and Motivated: Best Practices in Designing Successful Student Learning Experiences for both K-12 and PSE?

  • Facilitator: Brook Pearce, Experiential Learning Faculty – Work Integrated Learning, Centre for Experiential Learning, VIU
  • Summary Themes: What Motivates?, Where are the Challenges?
  • Action Items:  Create Environment For Learning | Focus on…various items

Math and Science: Are We Preparing Students for Success in Post-Secondary Studies? Where are the Challenges and the Wins?

  • Facilitator: Wendy Simms, University Professor, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Science and Technology, VIU
  • Summary Themes: Successful Programs / Initiatives / Practices, Preparing Students, Sharing and Collaborating between Sectors, Competency Learning
  • Action Items:  Enhanced Communication and Collaboration | Course Design |  Support for Students

Next Steps?

The day ended with a consolidation of action items and planning next steps for action.

  1. Continued Dialogue between K-12 and PSE (and Ministries)
    More opportunities to do this type of thing again (continuously? online?) Between administrators | Between K-12 schools | Between K-12 and VIU/NIC | Between Disciplines | Between university and case managers about case management for disabilities | Continue bridging the gap – collaboration between Ministry of Education and Ministry of Advanced Education
  2. Shadowing and Sharing Activities
    Have grade 12 shadow university students, have gr 7 shadow gr 8’s, etc. | Have university students (1st and 2nd year) go back to high school and share what learned/strategies for successK-12 educators shadow post-secondary instructors – can we create an ongoing relationship and share broadly | Discipline-related educators collaborating/sharing more frequently (e.g., math teachers and PSE math educators)  | Disciplinary open houses – also cross-discipline | University 101 Boot Camp – course, workshop offered by PSE to help onboard students to PSE learning | Expanding dual credit – how can we do this to get more students engaged in PSE earlier?
  3. Competencies and Graduate Attributes
    Align graduate attributes from VIU in K-12; resume / create trail of learning
  4. Students Sharing Learning
    Students who have gone up a level go back down and talk about experiences – peer mentoring
  5. Universities/Colleges Visiting High Schools
    What do we do at PSE, what do we offer and what is ‘university/college’ really like?
    More preparation/communication activities