Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
Hillcrest Elementary is located in Cloverdale and enrols approximately 600 students from K – G. 7. The community consists largely of young families, many with two incomes. The parents at Hillcrest work tirelessly helping to build a positive school community with special events and fundraising to support the school. Many parents volunteer on a regular basis both in classrooms and on field trips. The staff, students and parents work together to establish a strong collaborative and caring culture.
At Hillcrest we believe in the importance of developing a love of learning and sense of inquiry with staff and students alike. Hillcrest staff members are proud of and continue to dedicate efforts towards building and maintaining a strong collaborative and caring culture. Teams of teachers work together in Inquiry teams to consider, explore, and reflect on issues and approaches related to shared questions and intentions in an effort to improve and develop their practices and in turn nurture and support student learning. The ROLES (Respect for Others, Learning, Environment and Self) are incorporated throughout each school day.
Hillcrest is a very special learning environment where the staff willingly and regularly involve themselves in a multitude of activities to inspire and encourage the love of learning and sense of community. These activities include the Student Leadership program, athletic teams, recycling crews, library and lunch monitors, ongoing professional development, and exploration of innovative teaching practices. At Hillcrest, we are proud of our caring, energetic, informed and thoughtful learning community.
For the past few years staff have focussed on a variety of Formative Assessment strategies with students to further improve learning. Students are able to set goals, self and peer assess, edit and self-reflect according to descriptive feedback, as well as identify learning intentions and criteria. Focussing on such strategies will be an ongoing process in future years.
As we continue working with the new Ministry Curriculum, district initiatives, and the changing needs of our students, we are turning our attention to developing student critical thinking skills, a deeper level of engagement and a growth mindset approach to learning.
Staff members are collaborating to develop strategies that encourage confidence and self-initiative in students. We would like our students to be actively engaged in their learning and prepared as learners in the 21st Century.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Teachers focus upon:
- observations of student work
- student portfolios
- FreshGrade portfolios
- student interviews
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
To what extent will focussing on the critical thinking core competency enhance student learning?
4. What professional learning do we need?
- Professional resources to help with understanding of research and planning
- regular meetings (every 5 weeks)
- support from district staff
- planning days
5. What is our plan?
- gather baseline data/evidence
- regular meetings (every 5 weeks)
- taking part in the Action Research dinner series with Barb Bathgate, etc.
- creating lessons on theme of mindset
- encourage growth mindset by:
- use common language, i.e. “not yet”, “yet” “grit”, “persevere”
- meet regularly
- bring in district staff and BCTF personnel
- determine a variety of evidence & collection of strategies
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
- awareness of student language (growth mindset language, authentic conversations)
- FreshGrade reflections
- survey results
- observations (student body language)
- similar tasks given to students to monitor
- teacher anecdotal observations