Catholic board aims to cre­ate ‘grad­u­ate of the fu­ture’

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - ELLWOOD SHREVE [email protected]­

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board is un­der­tak­ing a strate­gic plan to help cre­ate the “grad­u­ate of the fu­ture” that will in­volve a lot of com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

The board is us­ing the online tool Though­tex­change to en­able stu­dents, staff, par­ents and the braoder com­mu­nity to give their thoughts and feed­back. The in­for­ma­tion gath­ered will be used by trustees and ad­min­is­tra­tion to help de­velop a new strate­gic plan that will guide stu­dent learn­ing for the next five years.

Di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion Deb Craw­ford said stu­dents will be go­ing into a fu­ture work world that will be im­pacted by tech­nol­ogy such as artificial in­tel­li­gence.

“There’s so many things they’re fac­ing that are go­ing to be new that we don’t even know, we can’t even imag­ine,” she said.

Though­tex­change, which can be ac­cessed online at net/though­tex­change, al­lows par­tic­i­pants to share their thoughts in­de­pen­dently and con­fi­den­tially. Par­tic­i­pants can also rate thoughts shared by oth­ers.

The tech­nol­ogy also or­ga­nizes the data to show what ideas and val­ues par­tic­i­pants have in com­mon.

The Catholic board has had con­sul­ta­tions for its pre­vi­ous strate­gic plans, but “not cer­tainly to this de­gree,” Craw­ford said.

“This is re­ally a large-scale, broad con­sul­ta­tion,” she said.

The board is look­ing for par­tic­i­pa­tion from stu­dents in Grade 5 to Grade 12, along with all staff and par­ents, and the com­mu­nity.

“This tech­nol­ogy is re­ally help­ing us to en­gage broadly, widely and also deeply be­cause it’s go­ing to give peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to re­ally think, and think about what other peo­ple are think­ing about, and rate those thoughts and set pri­or­i­ties,” Craw­ford said.

“This is an ex­cit­ing time for St. Clair Catholic, as we be­gin the work of build­ing a new strate­gic plan,” said trustee chair John Van Heck in a writ­ten re­lease. “We want all our stake­hold­ers to have a voice in this im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion.”

Ryan Ba­gley, 16, a Grade 11 stu­dent at St. Pa­trick’s Catholic High School in Sar­nia, likes the fact so many stu­dents will have the op­por­tu­nity to give their in­put.

He said pre­vi­ous strate­gic plans have been “this neb­u­lous thing (and the board) just told us, ‘This is what we’re do­ing and now we’re do­ing this.’”

When asked if he feels his opin­ion will mat­ter, Ba­gley said, “I feel that I’m be­ing heard. Def­i­nitely, be­ing able to give my in­put feels very val­i­dat­ing.”

Ba­gley, who is part of a work­ing group of high school stu­dents, staff and ad­min­is­tra­tors who have de­vel­oped the process for cre­at­ing the new strate­gic plan, be­lieves us­ing the Though­tex­change tool will ap­peal to stu­dents.

“It’s quick, you don’t have to fill out a giant sur­vey where it’s lists af­ter lists, ques­tion af­ter ques­tion,” he said. “You can just go in, put in a few thoughts, rate a cou­ple of (other thoughts) and then you’re done.”


A group of stu­dents, staff and ad­min­is­tra­tion that are work­ing on the process for gath­er­ing broad com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion to help cre­ate a new strate­gic plan for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, did an exercise on Wednesday Jan­uary 9, 2019 to cre­ate the ideal Catholic school grad­u­ate. This in­cluded se­lect­ing the val­ues and traits that would be most valu­able for grad­u­ates and as­sign­ing fun rep­re­sen­ta­tion on pa­per cutouts. Pic­tured here from left are Zach McG­lynn, stu­dent trustee from Ur­su­line Col­lege Chatham, Rob Wolicki, me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tions teacher at St. Pa­trick’s High School, Ryan Ba­gley, St. Pat’s stu­dent, and Deb Craw­ford, di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion.

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