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PODCAST: Navigating education challenges in Parksville Qualicum Beach

PQBEAT: Insights from Qualicum School District superintendent Peter Jory

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Host Peter McCully welcomes Peter Jory, the superintendent of schools for the Qualicum School District.

Jory discusses various aspects of education, the challenges faced by students, the impact of COVID-19 on the school system, and the evolving role of artificial intelligence.

The superintendent says the district has finished their strategic planning process, which began in the spring of 2022.

‘We’ve taken all that data through the spring working in a large diverse group of 40 volunteers and put together what we think is a plan that’s going to address the needs of our kids and help us all to work towards improving educational outcomes in the next five years,” he said.

Jory also talks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the school system, emphasizing the importance of returning to the positive and enjoyable aspects of school life that were temporarily put on hold during the pandemic.

McCully asks about the topic of letter grades. Jory explains they have been phased out in the district through Grade 9. However, letter grades remain a necessity at higher levels due to the practicalities of university admissions and scholarship eligibility.

“The letter grades end up being a de facto sorting system,” he said. “As far as teaching and learning goes, they are an inferior product. It is just not as good set of information as what we provide through feedback, through conversation, through the proficiency scales themselves.”

With artificial intelligence being used more and more in everyday life, Jory was asked about AI use in schools.

“I think in everyone’s best interest that we do our best to understand it and figure out how it’s going to improve student learning, how we can help our kids to make good choices, to use AI to support whatever work they’re doing,” he said. “The sooner that we embrace it, manage it, understand it and have our students do the same, I think the better off we’re going to be.”

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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