Students make a difference in their life, school, community and the world.

John Murphy, Principal, Nose Creek Elementary - There has been a steady evolution in educational philosophy focused on schools being more student-centric. “Student-centered learning puts students' interests first, acknowledging student voice as central to the learning experience.” There is definitely a shift in the educational mindset of students and staff as it relates to being involved in the world. For many, the perceived traditional educational model amounted to students being issued freshly minted books on the first day of school that were assumed to contain all of the world’s important information that had been collected and bound to be memorized and regurgitated. One student interpretation of that belief was life was static and established; a young student was expected to make little to no impact on the status quo.

Fast forward to present day students in Rocky View Schools who are being actively encouraged, nurtured and mentored by school personnel to make a difference in their life, the life of the school and the world. Of course, schools historically have had individuals or small groups that were socially active, but today we see a seismic ubiquitous philosophical shift across schools regarding student involvement. In fact, being an innovator and an agent of change is not a haphazard, random educational approach. The concept of student involvement is a purposeful methodology and a firmly entrenched belief shared by Rocky View staff across the school division.

Rocky View Schools has been on this enlightened educational transformation for some time. As a result, the following statement has been voiced and embraced by our educational community: “Students make a difference in their life, school, community and the world.” Our students are supported by staff to become social engineers who are free to critique their school, community, country and world. Vetted student ideas are put into action. As a result of students believing that they and their ideas matter, children as young as eight have presented to conferences and their ideas are traveling around the world. Elementary students are annually planting acres of potatoes and harvesting them for the food bank in Airdrie. These same pre-teens raise local and global environmental concerns, host political forums and seek answers by thinking outside the proverbial box. When students enter high school, they become even more advanced in their ability to help construct their education.

Presently a student is more than a passive receiver of preconstructed ideas who follows a predetermined and predefined path to the future. The value of being a partner in your own education promotes intellectual curiosity, helps sustain academic motivation and allows students to see and explore topics through the prism of their own culture and community reality. The real change in education has been and is the expectation that students have input into their education to help prepare for a rapidly and everchanging world.