Cowichan School District in the international spotlight

Superintendent Allen attends a gathering of education experts and scholars in Paris

Learning excellence and innovation in the Cowichan Valley School District was once again in the international spotlight during a gathering of education experts and scholars from around the globe in Paris, France in late October.

Superintendent Rod Allen was invited to attend, as an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expert, meetings to create the OECD’s Learning 2030 framework – a global learning vision that will identify what education systems need to look like now, so kids can be successful in the future. Thirty-seven countries are involved in this work, including Canada and, in particular, B.C.

Allen, who was there representing B.C.’s K-12 education system and SD 79, is leading a team of experts on developing a knowledge framework to support Learning 2030 – this means developing a clear, global picture of what knowledge, skills and abilities our children need to learn now in order to be successful in the future.

“We are very fortunate to have an internationally recognized educator leading the learning and operations of our school district,” said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education for SD 79. “Rod has been a leader in education innovation for many years, and we are in a wonderful position as a board, staff and students to benefit from his involvement in international learning groups.”

Some of the benefits the school district receives from Allen’s involvement in this work include: profiling our learning examples and our teachers amongst global education leaders; attracting international visitors who are interested in learning from our educators, including the State of Louisiana, a group of principals from Australia, and a researcher from Harvard University who is including our district as a case study for education transformation;opportunities to show how strong governance, leadership and collaboration among education partners leads to learning transformation success; and access to the latest research and information related to learning.

“There is significant interest globally in what B.C. is doing with the new curriculum – many people are watching and looking for opportunities to learn about the cutting-edge work we are doing in our schools,” said Allen. “There are such strong examples of education innovation right here in the Cowichan Valley, and it’s a pleasure to share some of our work on a global stage. Our district deserves to be highlighted as leaders in this work.”

The work with the OECD will continue into 2018, and is currently done at no cost to the school district due to Allen’s role as an expert advisor to the project. The group meets in person twice a year – most recently in Paris at the OECD headquarters – and works collaboratively on a regular basis through online technology.

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