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Broad Street High School FAQ

Q. How do I make my high school selection?
A. A paper form will be sent home with students by March 6. Parents/guardians should fill out the form and submit it back to the school by March 10.

Q. Why are we implementing a self-directed learning model?
A. The self-directed approach is used successfully in a network of schools across Canada. HRCE has spent time learning about, and learning from, these schools, and is ready to offer a similar approach at the new high school on Broad Street. Self-directed learning gives students the freedom to work in a way that best suits their learning needs, with more independence and flexibility.

Self-directed learning helps students to become more interested and invested in their learning processes, become responsible and accountable for their decisions and actions with respect to their learning and develop critical problem-solving and decision making skills to support lifelong learning. 

Overall, the model anticipates the future needs of students and the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for post-secondary pursuits as well as for future employment.

Q. How will self-directed learning work?
A. Students in Grades 10 to 12 will experience a mix of set class time and flexible open blocks of time in their schedules. Students will follow their courses with the use of Learning Guides (see explanation below). Most importantly, they will have the ongoing support of a Teacher Advisor (TA). Provincial curriculum and the course selection process will be the same as schools that follow the traditional model. Each year, students’ flexible time will increase. Students in Grade 9 will have a traditional schedule with time dedicated to preparing students for self-directed learning in Grade 10. 

Q. What is flexible time?
A. Flexible time, or flex time = unscheduled time in a student's schedule. This time may also be referred to as open blocks. This is the time when they get to choose what course/task they want to work on and where they wish to work. If a student needs to spend more time on math, they can go to the math hall (an area designated to working on math). They can also choose who they want to work with and which teachers they want to access for support.

Q. What are Learning Guides?
A. Materials for each course will be compiled into Learning Guides. These guides will provide students the work they must complete and prepare them for upcoming assessments. Learning Guides will outline: course outcomes being assessed, reading materials, links to videos, guiding questions and assignments, self evaluations, rubrics, checklists, timelines, experiments and various other educational activities specific to the course outcomes. 

Q. What is a Teacher Advisor? 
A. In a self-directed learning model, the Teacher Advisor (TA) serves as a coach, mentor, and facilitator while guiding students through collaborative experiences and towards high academic expectations. This teacher works with a group of multi-grade students in Grades 10 to 12, acting as an advocate and main contact for students and their families. Daily scheduled time with a TA will create opportunities for them to stay informed on each of their student's progress in all courses. 

Q. What is the teacher’s role in a self-directed learning model?
A. In a self-directed learning model, teachers still manage the classroom, provide direct instruction, identify learning resources and organize learning activities, assess and provide feedback. However, rather than be directors of learning, teachers become facilitators of learning. The teacher guides, supports, challenges and offers feedback. Essentially, they teach students how to learn.

Q. How will the self-directed learning model be different from the traditional model?
A. When the curriculum is delivered through a self-directed learning model, emphasis is placed on creating an environment which supports students in developing independence. This helps students make choices that positively influence their lives and the world around them. As a student, this includes playing an active role in figuring out how they learn best. In the self-directed learning model, school staff play a key role in designing a learning environment that values student voice and provides opportunities for choice in how students meet their learning goals. 

Q:  My child may require additional resources in school to support their well-being and achievement. How will they be supported in the new self-directed learning model?
A.  All schools in the Halifax Regional Centre for Education, including the new schools on Broad Street, have specialized support staff who are available within individual schools and regional teams. All publicly funded schools are guided by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Inclusive Education Policy and Special Education Policy, as well as HRCE’s Special Education Policy.

Q. How will students stay on track? 
A. Students stay on track like they would in any other school setting, with the addition of a Teacher Advisor (TA) to support them along the way. TA groups meet twice a day, in the morning and again after lunch. Students stay with the same teacher for TA throughout high school. This allows for strong relationships between teachers and students, and ensures families have a key contact at the school. The TA is in frequent communication with other teachers to stay informed of the students’ progress.

Students will set learning goals for the day. They use the morning TA group time to determine what they are going to work on, where they will be working, and what their goals will be. The TA approves the plan after discussing it with their students.

As students complete their Learning Guides, they track their progress and communicate with their TA and family. Teachers from each course will pace the course and communicate with students about which Learning Guide they should be working on. 

PowerSchool will still be used for parents to review student progress on a regular basis.

Q. What does a school day look like?
A. Students will start the day with scheduled TA group time. Here they’ll plan their day and learn the skills to become a successful self-directed learner. The TA will help make sure students are meeting their goals. Once students have a plan, they’ll proceed with their morning, attending any scheduled classes. During flex time, they’ll work in open areas where teachers will be available to provide guidance as they complete assignments. Students will meet with their TA group again after lunch. They’ll review what they accomplished during the morning and make any necessary changes to their plan to make sure they’re on track to meet the day’s goals.

Q. Can students in different grades work together? 
A. Yes. If students in different grade levels have scheduled flex time together, they can work in spaces available to them. 

Q. How does curriculum delivery change with a self-directed learning model?
A. Teachers from each course will pace the course and communicate with students about the Learning Guides they are working on. The structure and learning experiences are designed to create opportunities for self direction. For example, flexible time in each course means students will have opportunities to decide what to work on and when, and Learning Guides will provide options for how to show their learning.

Q. Can my child complete all the required work ahead of time?
A. No, courses are not self-paced. There will be a set time to complete all assignments and activities within each Learning Guide for each course. 

Q. How will students be assessed in the self-directed learning model?
A. As in all schools, students will be assessed in a variety of ways and in alignment with the Provincial Student Assessment Policy.

Q. What does the bell schedule look like? 
A. Bell times for the new schools have not been finalized. We know families need to plan, and we'll be sure to advise families of bell times once they've been confirmed.

Q. How much time is spent in classes? 
A. Students spend two thirds of their time in set class time in Grade 10 and 11 for the 2023-24 school year. The rest of the school instructional day consists of flex time for students to self-direct their learning. Flex time is intended to increase as students move through Grades 10 to 12. Students in Grade 9 are fully scheduled in classes.

Q. Will there still be parent-teacher conferences?
A. Yes. 

Q. I’m not sure my child is independent enough to handle self-directed learning. What if they fall behind? 
A. Knowing that students can have different strengths and challenges, structures and resources will be developed to support all students as they work in the self-directed environment. If students fall behind, interventions will be put in place. The TA program will be used to teach the necessary skills for self direction and academic achievement in this learning environment. 

Q. Will all students be issued a computer?
A. No, so bringing your own device is encouraged. If that is not possible, we will have a large selection of Chromebooks for students to check out and computer labs with desktop computers to use when available. Each child will have access to technology within the building. 

Q. What are the course offerings? 
A. More information about course selection will be sent out to students prior to March break.

Q. Will Broad Street offer the same courses as CPA?
A. Our course selection will be comparable to high schools across the province. Courses offered are based on what courses students select.

Q. Will Broad street school be offering the International Baccalaureate program (IB)?
A. No. However, we will be offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the 2024-25 school year.

Q. Will there be French Immersion?
A. Yes, we will offer French Immersion. 

Q. Will Skilled Trades be offered at Broad Street?
A. Yes, our new high school will have a state-of-the-art Skilled Trades Centre.

Q. Will Broad Street offer co-op or O2?
A. Yes, we will offer both co-op and O2.

Q. Will Broad Street offer band?
A. Yes, we will offer band.

Q. How will Grade 9 students be prepared for self-directed learning?
A. Students in Grade 9 have integrated learning time built into their schedule. Teachers will use this time to explore project-based learning and the skills necessary to prepare them to become more self-directed learners.

Q. Will I get a tour of the school?
A. There will be an opportunity for families to tour Broad Street in the fall. In the meantime, you can expect to receive photos and videos in advance.

Q. Will there be extracurricular opportunities at Broad Street high school? 
A. Students will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of sports and other extracurricular activities. To establish athletic and extracurricular programming, we will require student interest, plus many community and staff volunteers. As we grow, sport and extracurricular opportunities will increase.

Q. Who can I talk to about this?
A. You can reach out in the following ways:
Phone: 902-464-2000