Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
We currently have 462 students, 219 Primary (K-3) students and 441 Intermediate (Grades 4-7) students. We currently 47 Kindergarten students. We have 220 ELL students ; the dominant ELL language groups are Chinese and Korean.
Many of our students are here for their entire elementary school experience! They then go on to experience their entire secondary experience at Fraser Heights Secondary- right in their own neighbourhood. Most of our students live in single family residences. Many are actively involved in outside school activities such as swimming, piano lessons, Dance, Gymnastics, Martial Arts and various sporting activities. The local Recreation Centre is well used by our students and families. Many of our older students make good use of the Centre for Sports.
We aim to provide a well-rounded education for our students. Every year we have many Grade 7s who successfully write the Math 8 Honours exam at Fraser Heights. We host a school Science Fair every second year and send students to the District Fair. This year our Grade 7s embedded an Aboriginal traditional knowledge Inquiry focus into their projects and were all invited to attend the District Fair at Guildford.
Every second year at Erma is a Speechfest. The Intermediate classes work on public speaking, while the Primary students enjoy a Poetry Fest. Several classes are currently taking part in 3 sessions each of the Young Actors Project, and the Grade 4-7 classes enjoyed Jess Dance. The whole school participated in our annual high energy week of Zumba!
We are pleased to offer sports year round- this year included Soccer, Cross Country, Basketball, Volleyball, Floor hockey, Badminton, Swimming, Ski and Snowboarding, Ultimate and Track.
Our teachers provide many activities, presentations and field trips. Our students have enjoyed experiences such as learning about BC Guide Dogs, Juvenile Arthritis (all about inclusion), and Metro Transit. The Vancouver Aquarium Aquabus and a cow and a calf from the Dairy Foundation have come recently. 6 classes will soon experience Starlab. Our Grade 5s went to Brittania Mines to complement their unit on Mining. Our learners enjoy the activities including the pre-teaching from the teachers and their own reflection.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Our incoming Kindergarten parents are welcomed every Spring by a school team- our early learning teachers (K and Grade 1), LST team, Counsellor, Multicultural Worker, School Psychologist and Principal. We want to give the message that we wrap around our early learners to help them get off to the best possible start in school.
Many of our students come to us from preschool or Daycare and have already learned some basic numbers, letters and colours at home. Our Kindergarten team administers ELPATS in January, and reviews the results. Some learners then receive more intensive instruction; the classroom and LST teacher may introduce strategies. Our May ELPATS results again help us review our learners’ needs.
Our Grade 4 and 7 teachers use the annual FSAs as an opportunity to work through numeracy and language (reading and writing) content for their grade levels. we had very few exemptions; the students are encouraged to attempt all questions and do their best. FSA results and booklets are sent home for parents to review, discuss with their child and question. The results give teachers an opportunity to see how their students did; which content areas appeared strong and which areas were problematic.
Several of our teachers use Island Net as a numeracy assessment, the LST team also uses the District LST assessment, as well as the KTEA. Results of all assessments are used to inform instruction. In this year of exploring inquiry, all students are actively involved in self assessment and reflection. Many students are capturing their learning on video and in photos.
Our LST team and class teachers use Fountas and Pinnellas a key assessment instrument to determine reading levels. The District Welcome Centre provides us with key information about our newest ELL learners. Primary teachers use Words Their Way as well as Daily 5 strategies (many of our Intermediate classes use Daily 5 as well). Reading Benchmarks, Houghton- Mifflin and letter-name-sound assessments are all used regularly at our school; the results inform LST and classroom teachers as to how to best adjust instruction.
Our staff is reporting using both CSL and Freshgrade. The parents whose children are using Freshgrade are really enjoying being able to see what their child is doing and how their child feels about their learning. Parents are commenting frequently on the posts made by both teachers and students. Our learners are involved, inquisitive and encouraged to pursue further inquiry.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
Our teachers are involved in a variety of things this year- the new curriculum alone is keeping teachers busy reading, planning and collaborating. Incorporating the First Peoples Principles of Learning and working with Core Competencies, Big Ideas and Priority Practices adds more layers to reflecting on pedagogy and practice. On top of that, at Erma teachers were given the choice of assessing and reporting using the CSL template or Freshgrade. There is steady conversation and collaboration about assessing and reporting practices, and some teachers are switching from the format they started the year with. Teachers at Erma have always been encouraged to take risks- try something new; observe a peer, attend new ProD, play with technology. We have many teachers involved in inquiry; several are involved in more than one inquiry. There are 3 teachers and 1 EA doing their Masters; also involving Inquiry. Some of the inquiries our teachers are involved in this year include:
- shared knowledge Science curriculum
- Priority Practices Grant
- CSL Grant
- S’Cool Life Fund Grant to access money to start a Guitar Club
- reviewing the current method of LST delivery
- Learning by Design Dinner Series
- Destination Imagination
- Applied Design, Skills and Technology
- 3D printer and applications in the classroom
- Teacher Leadership Series
- Fostering a cooperative classroom community that incorporates learner-centred instruction and social emotional skills.
- Daily 5
- Shared use of the Learning Commons
- Investigating STEM resources for Centres
- Outdoor Classroom in conjunction with Aboriginal Learning
- K/1 Literacy
- Coding Quest
We are actively working on a common vision, but with so much learning and individual inquiry and re-evaluation of instruction and learning, it isn’t easy to focus on a single question. Currently we are suggesting talking about 4 questions:
- Will we see a correlation between the First people Principles of Learning and SEL (Social emotional Learning)?
- Will having
- A 3D printer
- Inquiry-based Science Fair
- attendance at the Fraser Heights Secondary School Inquiry Festival
- students take more part in their own assessment, reflection, capturing the learning and goal setting, create an excitement about Math and Science?
- We have teachers at Erma using the CSL template and Freshgrade for reporting. Parents appear to be satisfied with both. Does the reporting format (traditional hard copy 3x/year or continuous digital reporting and assessment)affect output and learning?
- What role does the Teacher-Librarian and Learning Commons play in supporting an Inquiry culture in the school? What tools /materials/ toys support this culture?
4. What professional learning do we need?
- First and foremost, our teachers are acquainting themselves with the new Curriculum. Teachers need the time to re-adjust the lens that they may have been looking through for years, or since teacher training. Some teachers have been teaching the same units for years and have come to have units and lessons that they and the students especially enjoy. Teachers are now looking at Big Ideas and the Core Competencies. They are looking at ‘letting go’ of some of the concepts and units that have been teaching. They are developing and employing strategies that have them introducing concepts to the students, and have the students doing more research, reflection, assessing of their own learning. Teachers are working with their Grade group colleagues, as well as with their colleagues teaching the grades prior and next and discussing the new Curriculum and how best to introduce and work with it. District Inservices, District workshops, webinars, online articles and Collaboration time are some of the ways teachers have been exploring and working with the new Curriculum.
- Last year, teachers began using Freshgrade and the Communicating Student Learning templates for reporting. 5 teachers used Filemaker Pro, knowing that they would be using another template this school year. Our teachers had a choice of the 2 templates, and it worked out to an even split. There has been a steep learning curve for all teachers as they navigate new ways of reporting. Lunchtime discussions, District inservices, school ProDs, ongoing online Freshgrade and CSL tips have really helped teachers be supported in their learning journey regarding reporting methods. A recent successful grant application has given our school generous TTOC funding to allow teachers Collaboration opportunities.
- Our teachers have excitedly embraced the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Several teachers were successful in obtaining funding (beyond the amount applied for!) to further their professional learning and enhance their practice and implementation of Aboriginal teachings and studies. Our Grade 7 teachers and classes are working closely with our First Nations Liason on Integrated Science lessons. Our teachers have attended District workshops, spend time with our Liason and have presented /updated to Staff. All staff were given their choice of one or both of the recommended books on First Nations studies. A follow up Book Chat, bringing in Aboriginal facilitators and attending Inservices will all be of good use to all our staff.
- Technology plays a huge part in education on a variety of fronts. Our LST uses iPads for a variety of activities with individuals and small groups. Our senior students working closely with the Aboriginal Liason use iPads to chart their integrated studies. All teachers use iPads to capture evidence of learning for their assessments and reports. We received a large Technology grant as well as a 3D printer; our staff will need inservice and release time for collaboration to learn about and play with the technology they need for their classrooms. Coding is being learned at all grade levels. We need time for teachers and their classes to exploer our Makerspace and coding resources.
- Our school has enjoyed working with ADST resources. A senior class, along with senior students from another Fraser Heights elementary school attended a Skills Day at KPU. Our local high school has offered their shops to our senior students who would like to have some hands-on experience with tools. An intermediate class has done some woodworking using our new ADST tools. We have had the District ADST Helping teacher come twice for workshops, and we have had teachers attend after school ADST workshops. We need to be sharing our resources and learning with colleagues at all levels. In Fraser Heights, we have an amazing opportunity to work closely with the 3 other elementary schools and out local and only high school on ADST skill development and knowledge.
5. What is our plan?
- Supreme Court ruling: more support, reduced class sizes, attentiuon to class composition (Special Needs and designations)
- creating times for collaboration
- continuing to integrate the First Nations Principles of Learning into all subject areas
- continuing to build our team of educators through interviewing and hiring with purpose
- making full use of funding available
- working with parents to bring out the best in all children as the individuals they are
- supporting risk-taking, piloting
- continuing the conversation re: our purpose, our vision: What is it that we are as a school? What do we believe in?
- understanding inclusion and celebrating it
- continuing to strengthen communication between EAs and teachers
- continuing to have students take the most active part in their learning
- working more with our Fraser Heights Family of Schools
- inviting PAC and parents to let us know what they are curious or concerned about
- looking at a bigger picture than a term or a school year at a time- where are we? where are we going? What is each students’ learning trajectory?
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
This process will be on-going. Data will be qualitative in nature and will be collected through conversations with staff, students, and parents.
We will have conversations regarding Curriculum transformation and be looking for evidence of inquiry based learning, and student engagement. Staff are also looking for students to become a more reflective learner. The staff have been engaging in many collaborative opportunities, but we will be looking to see how we can strengthen these experiences to make an even more collaboratively rich environment. Parents can provide input regarding their experiences around how the school communicates student learning, and staff can further develop their formative assessment practices.
7. Based on the evidence, does our inquiry require adjustment?
Although we have lots to celebrate, there is always room to improve.