MSS participates in career studies pilot projects

ONTARIO—Ontario is partnering with educators on 29 pilot projects across the province, including one at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS), to review the current career studies course and help students develop the skills they need to compete in the rapidly changing and highly competitive global economy. MSS is participating in a pilot project in digital literacy to review the career studies course.

Education Minister Mitzie Hunter was at St. Mary Catholic Academy in Toronto on March 23, to announced the new pilot projects.

“In the face of changing times, our students need a wider range of skills and knowledge to succeed, now and in the future,” said Ms. Hunter. “These pilots are a great opportunity for our government to work closely with educators as researchers and innovators. The feedback from educators will be essential in informing the on-going review of our career studies course.”

The career studies pilot projects will include the development of innovative learning opportunities related to financial literacy, entrepreneurship skills, digital literacy and career/life planning. Teachers will examine ways to equip students with the skills and knowledge they will need in the new global economy; help students explore all career paths and opportunities; and support the teaching and learning of the course through a variety of new methods.

“I think any time technology is made available in the class and tools are in place for students to examine who they are and the direction they will be going, that is time well spent in the classroom,” said  Jamie Mohamed, MSS principal.

Mr. Mohamed explained that “Shan Keatley, who teacher’s careers and civics in Grade 10, came to me with this proposal with a focus on digital literacy. In her careers class she has received funding for computer technology-Chrome books, and plans to use those with students to engage them in learning and understanding who they are, learning styles, and personality profiles.”

“The software is available for staff for students to use, the individual pathways plan, and is one that the school board uses, myblueprint.ca, ” continued Mr. Mohamed. “Actually, the students have been using this since Grade 7 and by this time in (the school year) in Grade 8 they use this to select courses they are going to take in Grade 9 and throughout their time in high school.”

“The software is used for self-discovery, to find potential career matches and use computers to engage resumes, cover letters and the final project of their course is an e-portfolio through my Blueprint as well,” said Mr. Mohamed.

Ensuring Ontario’s curriculum focuses on multiple career paths and opportunities for work placements is a key recommendation of the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel report. Teachers’ feedback from these pilots will be instrumental in helping the ministry to determine what the career studies course could become.

The career studies pilot projects will run until June, 2017. The pilot locations represent the geographic diversity of the province, including participation of all four publicly-funded school systems. Each of the 29 educators was selected through an application process to participate with their students in their respective pilot project.