We strive to connect our units with the Sustainable Development Goals in meaningful ways across the secondary. Since 2017, we have run multi-age level, multi-disciplinary SDG Projects. We have replaced final exams for Middle School and Grade 9 (and this year Grade 10) students with these non-assessed projects. Students engage with issues of local and global significance and demonstrate social, research, thinking, and communication skills.
SDG’s have been imbedded across some subject units and inter-disciplinary units over the past four years. SDG’s are focus points of our Week Without Walls trips. Each trip has two-three SDG’s that are a central focus. We have started our MYP5 Personal Projects and MYP 1-4 META (PBL) Projects with the Goals and Targets and will work to embed these further at the start of the coming year.
Since 2018, we have dedicated 1-2 hours of homeroom time per week to META Projects for all MYP 1-4 students, where students lead the learning, create and document a project of their choice over the course of the year. In 2019, some of the classes used the SDGs and Targets as a starting point. They started by reflecting and considering their own interests and passions and abilities (macro) then looked at SDG and targets (micro) and came up with a plan. These are un-graded projects and students devote a good deal of time to them over the course of the year.
We have run annual trips over the last three years with a focus on service, action, and creativity. We have developed trips to Yangshuo, China, and Bali, Indonesia for Middle School and Siem Reap, Cambodia, and Xichong, China for High School. We embed the SDG’s into the trips. Students are involved in leading and planning over several weeks leading up to the trip and leading reflection and presentations after the trip. The trips have run in November over the last years but are planned to run in June next year because of the global pandemic.
Our Service as Action Coordinator has also introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award and we will begin to implement this program over the coming year. Students will pursue the award through personal challenges and develop their skills and ability.
In October and January, we run three-way conferences with student (at the centre), and parents and teacher. We do not hold Parent-Teacher Conferences for Teacher and Parents to talk about students, we always involve the students fully in the dialogue. We talk with and not about students. This philosophy of talking to students about their learning also is evident in our semester report cards and ATL Progress Reports. All communication is written directly to the student instead of about them. It is their learning journey.
Since 2016/17, we have been running Student-Led-Conferences for all MYP and DP students. These conferences are not focused on content and “what” students learned but rather, the focus is on conceptual understanding and transfer between subjects and the outside world. Our students spend 30 minutes, sitting alongside their parents and talk about their learning.