Ken Young, currently the principal of Fort St. James Secondary school, will be taking over for Lynn Maksymchak as the principal of NVSS. Lynn Maksymchak is leaving to take on the position of District Principal, Human Resources/Leadership.
Young is a Vanderhoof native with a variety of leadership experiences, he is “excited for the opportunity to work with the school community as NVSS makes the transition to being a grade 7-12 school.”
Young is happy to be able to come back as principal of the school that he graduated from then later worked in as a teacher and vice-principal.
“It’s a pretty exiting time right now, big changes going on, a lot of people are interested in where we’re going to be going,” he said.
“We’re going to be planning for the next year in terms of our grade seven reconfiguration but I know for me, coming back, I’ve learned a lot even in the last two years I’ve been away. To come back and put some of the energy and ideas I’ve got around things like project based learning and just being very inclusive for all our students. That’s what I want to focus on.”
Several Vanderhoof teachers went to the Calgary Science School to learn about their inquiry or project based learning programs. Inquiry or passion based learning means that students are given no homework but must choose to work on projects all school year which can incorporate such subjects as reading, writing, art and math.
When one of the visiting teachers asked a student what they thought of the program the student responded that she loved it, she was happy that she never got any homework because that meant that she would have more time to work on her school project.
So the visiting teachers wanted to learn how to get their own students so interested in learning.
“For the grade sevens, eights and nines I think that’s a good way to engage them before they decide that school isn’t what they want,” said Young “If we hook them at that age and keep them engaged then senior courses like physics 12 makes more sense. They understand why they need to take them.”
Some teachers in Vanderhoof have started a program at Evelyn Dickson elementary called Genius Innovation Time. This is where every they get together and work on their projects. Students are so excited to work that they can’t wait to get everything done in the morning and get to their projects.
Amy Oldham and Becki Larsen, teachers at Evelyn Dickson, have given students an opportunity to select topics of interest and then staff will help find community members who can help students with their learning project.
Some examples of the work that students are doing: training horses, hairdressing, building catapults and hovercrafts, computer programming and realistic drawing. They even have an electrician coming in to teach one kid and show him how to take apart a tube television.