Updated: Sep 14, 2020
The number one responsibility of schools is to ensure they’re doing everything in their power to
keep students and staff safe. A close second is making sure this new setup will ensure a school experience that allows kids to excel while feeling confident and fulfilled. I feel that the current organization of the cohorts may leave some kids behind.
My understanding is that school cohorts are being organized by grade. In doing so, you run the risk of categorizing students into who is smart and who is not. This can lead certain cohorts to feel ostracized or lesser than, putting targets these kids’ backs. As a result, the students who need extra help may opt to stay home altogether.
A potential solution would be to give students the opportunity to choose an extracurricular activity they’re passionate about and sort them into cohorts based on those activities (ie: sport, music, art, or a specialized academic). In doing so, you’ll be empowering students to create their own path–giving them a sense of agency over their education and motivating them to come to school and excel.
Let’s look at this through the lens of school sports...
If students are to be sorted by grade-level, the intermingling of extracurricular groups will minimize the amount of learning and development that can be achieved in practice. Creating sport-specific cohorts allows teams to practice at the highest phase of the BCSS Return to Sport Guidelines, ensuring student-athletes are getting the most out of their training.
When you’re sorted into groups whose members share the same attitudes, interests and passions, you’re more likely to work hard to succeed alongside them; these are the basic principles of teamwork.
Unfortunately, we already have an educational system that's created a hierarchy of learning, prioritizing subjects like math and science over the arts. Experts will argue that this kills kids' creativity.
Of course, we’re trying to stay afloat in these unprecedented times, but I believe now is the time to be creative and challenge norms to see if we can build a model that sets our kids up for greater success.
What do you think? Comment your thoughts below!