Blackville School a model school in new learning

It is exciting times in the world of education and this applies to life at Blackville School as well. As a model school, Blackville is embracing the wave of the future and embracing 21st Century learning. The NB321C initiative is a three-year plan designed to guide New Brunswick education on its path to 21st Century learning. This plan focuses on literacy, numeracy and science, 21st Century competencies, technology and various aspects of curriculum, assessment and leadership.

According to vice-principal Aaron Johnston, BHS was chosen as a model school due to the smaller school population, as well as its location in a rural area and the school’s involvement in the larger community. Nearly all of the park benches you’ll find in the community have been built by Blackville High School’s new class, Framing and Sheathing. They have also built all of the classroom bookshelves.

Blackville also introduced a new Metals and Fabrication class (welding), but in order to make room for that, room had to be made for equipment storage.

That is where the framing and sheathing class came into play; Johnston explained the class built a storage shed outside to provide space for the tools that had to be moved out of the shop to make room for the welding class.

Another new initiative BHS is engaged in is Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL encourages students to find solutions to problems and the projects can be cross-curricular.

The first big project involved the Metal Fabrication class, the Power Recreation and Technology class, and the Media Studies class. The classes designed a skidder trailer made out of a recycled soccer net to haul four-foot pulp or tree lengths out of the woods using an ATV.

The Grade 12 Media Studies class then made a video called “Happy Trails” explaining the process. The video can be viewed on the school website or you can search Happy Trails and Blackville School on YouTube to see the video.

Another project the school was involved in concerned the recent New Brunswick provincial election and the Senteo system used at the school. The Senteo system is an interactive response system. The system includes a radio frequency remote for each student and software that tallies student responses, posts test results, and provides feedback.

On Sept. 26, the day prior to the provincial election, high school teacher Lori Brophy and several of her Grade 12 math students went to the Blackville grocery store Valu Foods where they took a random sample of 100 voting age people who lived within the local riding.

Each person was given a Senteo with the election candidates from their riding presented on the screen and was able to make an anonymous vote. They then compared the results to the real life results from the election the next day.

The results complied by the students had 75 per cent for Jake Stewart, 19 per cent for Rick Brewer and two per cent for all the other candidates. The actual results were 58.6 per cent for Jake Stewart, 30.17 per cent for Rick Brewer, 4.99 per cent for Wes Gullison, 3.15 per cent for Jimmy D. Lawlor, and 3.09 per cent for Jason Robar.

Brophy explained that the project allowed the students to analyze data and deal with statistics within a real life situation. She said there was “lots learned” and it is a project worth doing again.

“If we don’t advance with technology, the world will pass us by,” said Johnston. The new learning initiatives at Blackville School are a way the school is attempting to stay aligned with 21st Century learning.

Laura Richard and Jessica McIntyre are students in the Journalism 120 class at Blackville School. They will be sharing news from their school in articles and photos throughout the school year.

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