Educators are being trained to challenge and engage students for success in a rapidly changing world. The teaching of facts alone is no longer sufficient for future success. Now educators are being asked to develop learning activities that attempt to excite students about learning. If a student becomes passionate about learning there is no limit to what can be accomplished.
Our district is committed to educating students to the highest standard possible while understanding that there is a limited amount of money available for this vital work. One of our districts challenges is to manage this change. We realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to successfully changing how education is delivered to students.
As an example, each year in each school a growth plan is developed. Parents and educators spend time considering what challenges students face in their specific school. A plan is developed, implemented, evaluated and changed over time. In the first few years of growth plan development, schools largely focused on numeracy and literacy. Schools continue to focus on these vital skills but are now moving on to other student needs. As you read through the growth plans below you will see a wide variety of attempts to meet the needs of learners, keeping in mind that numeracy and literacy skills are still a high priority in every school.
The goal of the School Success Plan is to improve student awareness, understanding and achievement/performance in the area of Personal Writing so that 85 per cent of their students will be meeting grade level expectations in June of each year. Fruitvale Elementary is focused on improving and strengthening students’ writing to ensure that it is interesting and clear for the reader as well as providing remediation strategies to assist all students in the writing process.
Using an inquiry based approach for school improvement the staff at Glenmerry Elementary discussed what would make the greatest positive difference for student success in their school. Through this collaboration process they identified four areas of concern that impact a student’s “readiness” to learn: emotional and behavioural regulation, perseverance, motivation, and responding and recovering to stress. Glenmerry’s School Success Plan will focus on direct instruction for all grades in self-regulation skills and strategies with the expected outcome of improved academic success.
Webster Elementary is focused on developing a school wide self-regulation program with the goal of transferring a self-regulation skillset and positive social behaviour into academic performance and well-being. A child’s ability to self-regulate will improve their ability to be ready and open to learn thus improving their academic performance. To this end, Webster will be implementing “The Zones of Regulation” program which will enable students to learn self-regulation and emotional self-control techniques to improve their ability to identify and self-regulate their behaviour and increase their academic performance.
Kinnaird Elementary will be focusing on the Communication competency outlined in the BC Education Plan in their School Success Plan. The Communication competency encompasses the set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas to explore, understand and engage with the world around them. This competency provides a bridge between student’s learning, their personal and social identity and relationships, and the world in which they interact.
Robson Community School
A goal within Robson Community School’s School Success Plan is to use the “Mind Up Curriculum” resource to explicitly teach all students the brain focused strategies for learning and fostering mindfulness. Through learning cognitive control, or mindfulness, students will improve and enhance their learning. Robson is committed to providing students with the skills necessary to allow them to stay focused and engaged and also take ownership of their own emotions and learning.
Twin Rivers Elementary/Castlegar Primary
Twin Rivers/Castlegar Primary’s focus within their School Success Plan is to improve student’s writing. Their goal is to ensure that 85 per cent of students will be meeting grade level expectations in June of each year. Student success is strongly related to their ability to communicate ideas in writing. Twin Rivers/Castlegar Primary will be focusing on the essential writing skills of presenting information, outlining procedures, and persuading others.
Rossland Summit School
Rossland Summit School’s School Success Plan has a goal which focuses on questioning as a critical thinking skill in all curricular areas to improve comprehension. Rossland has adapted the concept of questioning to each grade level within the school with the objective that 90 per cent of students will be able to ask questions that further their individual learning across the curriculum. Strong questioning strategies assist students in becoming lifelong learners and also provides a basis for improving critical thinking capabilities.
JL Crowe is focused on teaching students how to develop and incorporate strong and effective work habits into their school experience. The goal of the School Success Plan is to realize a trend toward school-wide improvement in student academic achievement over four terms as work habits improve. Strong and effective work habits will result in both academic and social-citizenship success for all students, is transferable to activities outside of school and will also assist in preparing students for post-secondary studies and the work force.
Stanley Humphries’s School Success Plan is focused on the ongoing success of Grade 8 students. The stretch goal of the plan is for 100 per cent of current Grade 8 students to graduate. To realize this goal, the strategies to be implemented include both academic objectives as well as a focus on improving the transition to high school for new students and incorporating voice and choice within each grade 8 class. Promoting connections to the school and implementing a positive learning environment are also key goals within the plan which will assist in the realization of a strong completion rate for current and future Grade 8 students.
Darrel Ganzert and Rosann Brunton are trustees with School District 20
Community Comment is an opportunity for elected officials from our local municipalities to update citizens in the region on the events, plans and progress in their respective communities. Every Friday, the Trail Times will present, on a rotating basis, a submission from councils, school trustees or regional district directors.