Each year the Ministry of Education sends a delegation of Achievement Officers to visit the various boards for an annual review of progress towards achievement of the goals set out in the Board Learning and Improvement Plan (BLIP). Yesterday, Ms. Lima and I were presenters for the TCDSB review meeting. We were asked to speak to the first goal of the BLIP regarding increasing student engagement in our schools. This was not only a tremendous opportunity for me and Ms. Lima to share the great work of her students but most importantly it speaks to the progress being made here at St. John. The amazing work that her class is doing was well-received by all in attendance. St. John is one of four schools from across the board that was chosen to participate in a collaborative inquiry project. Throughout this school year, we have visited three schools with an inquiry focus, attended regular group discussions and gathered numerous valuable resources to help develop an inquiry stance at St. John.
Next up, we have the St. John Food Fair run by our Grade 8 team on May 29th from 1:00 - 3:00pm in the gym. After watching the documentary FOOD INC. our Grade 8 students started to ask and explore some pretty deep topics regarding the food industry. A visit to Fresh City Farms @freshcityfarms followed fairly soon after and now the Food Fair will bring this important issue to the attention of our St. John community. This event is the perfect example of the intellectual engagement that comes from a curriculum approach based the "real world" and based on student voice.
This project is the quintessential example of what 21C learning embodies: student engagement, real world connections, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, community connections and purposeful use of technology. I want to congratulate Ms. Bain, Mme. Battista and Ms. Horbay for being open enough to student inquiry that the kids could put this big event together. The Toronto Catholic District School Board is very excited about this event and will be represented by Angela Gauthier (associate director of the board), John Shanahan (our Area Superintendent), Lori Di Marco (Superintendent of 21st Century Learning), Mike Wetzel (TCDSB elearning coordinator), Jan Murphy (TCDSB School Effectiveness Lead), the entire TCDSB Academic Information and Communication Technology Team with a possible appearance by the Director of the TCDSB Bruce Rodrigues and our local MP Matthew Kellway. We look forward to welcoming our guests. Parents are also most welcome to attend.
We are so proud of the efforts of our teachers to embrace an inquiry approach to learning. St. John is truly moving in positive and innovative direction thanks to a wonderful staff, an energized student body and a highly supportive parent community.