Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
Hyland Elementary is located in Surrey in a residential neighbourhood. The school grounds are adjacent to Hyland Park which has forest, green spaces and a creek running through it. The school has two storeys and the entrance is large and welcoming. Inside the front doors is the Learning Commons with two storey ceilings and large windows. Adjacent to the Learning Commons is the Maker Space which houses tools for projects such as coding and woodwork. Hyland Elementary houses one of the district’s Multi-Age Cluster Classrooms (MACC) and a Challenge program. Breakfast program
Hyland Elementary has a diverse and growing student population. Many of our students speak more than one language and are proud of their diverse cultures. Our learners and their families value education and work hard to meet their goals. Some of the students participate in organized after-school activities, and many come back to the school grounds with their parents to play after school is finished.
Students at Hyland Elementary are kind and enjoy being at school. They demonstrate respectful, helpful behaviour and are eager to learn. Their enthusiasm can be curbed by a tendency to feel worried or anxious. When encouraged, the students enjoy taking on a variety of leadership responsibilities both around the school and in the community.
The students at Hyland Elementary are curious and enjoy learning, especially when engaged. Their reading skills are reported as being good in general in the intermediate grades. The teachers also notice a growing gap between students who appear traditionally academically successful and those who do not perform as well academically by the same standards. They often require guidance and support in taking initiative when new learning opportunities arise. Teachers consistently support their students in maintaining focus and in organizational skills. Students often need support when coping with obstacles to their learning and in self-regulating through disappointment.
Technology has been a great asset to the students at Hyland Elementary. They enjoy learning about and with technological devices and programs. Our laptops and iPads are used consistently, and students are generally well equipped with the skills necessary to leverage these tools. In addition, the students are good digital citizens who respect the devices we have and understand how to present a positive image on-line.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Staff at Hyland Elementary have embarked on a new school plan cycle and have been engaged in conversations around what they feel their students need. The observations shared by the educators here have developed a rich sense of who the students at Hyland are and what they need to support their learning. Through these observations, teachers have felt strongly that the students need support in their social-emotional learning, self-regulation and problem-solving. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, conversations were facilitated around what teachers felt the students required going forward. As the focus for these conversations clearly pointed to SEL, a smaller team came together that consisted of non-enrolling teachers, intermediate teachers, primary teachers and administration. The team met about twice a month to refine the information we had and plan a program that supported SEL. Members of the team brainstormed their observations of the students at Hyland Elementary and as they shared their thoughts, themes began to emerge.
Do the rest of the staff’s observations align with the school planning committee’s observations?
Curious about whether the rest of the staff has made similar observations about the students at Hyland, the school planning team facilitated an activity as a part of a professional development day which asked educators in the building what they saw as important areas that we needed to focus on with our students. The educators were asked to brainstorm and record what they felt the students at Hyland required from their school experience to be more successful. They were then asked to organize their thoughts and post them under one of the following themes:
The following organization emerged:
The staff at Hyland Elementary are very much aligned when it comes to the needs of our students. In addition, the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) which surveyed the grade 4 students during the 2017-18 school year supports the observations that the staff had. One additional theme that emerged from the MDI was a sense of belonging. Students feel that they are safe and cared for at Hyland Elementary, however they are looking for ways to feel that they belong to our school community.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
How will explicit teaching of values relative to the needs of our students, and an increase in school-wide events support students in their social-emotional development and sense of belonging?
4. What professional learning do we need?
During the initial planning process, the staff chose to take the professional learning on themselves. The School Planning Team has dedicated time and effort to introducing the plan’s framework and focus to their colleagues with suggestions for implementation in the classroom and school. There are many ideas to support the learning in our school in the form of professional development. As more data emerges, the staff will make decisions around more professional development focuses.
- Calm, Alert and Learning by Stuart Shanker
- Michael Bartoloto http://www.positiverebel.ca/
- Taunya Shaw
- Zones of Regulation
5. What is our plan?
Based upon the evidence collected regarding our students, the School Plan Team chose values that they felt were paramount to creating a positive and sustainable culture at Hyland Elementary. They found that the values were related to the First Peoples values and many of them used the same word. The staff decided on 6 values that would be explicitly taught and reinforced over the span of 2 years. Each value would be a focus for one term, or three months. The values that emerged as beneficial to our students are:
What will we do with our values?
Each value will be a focus for an entire term or three months over the next two years. The staff ranked the values in order of importance or as a priority for the students and the above order emerged. The values will be rolled out over a term in the following framework:
- Kick-off assembly – The focus value will be introduced and defined during an assembly with the entire school.
- Teachers will be supported in their teaching and implementation of the focus value.
- Show what you’re learning assembly – Classes, groups of students and and staff will be invited to share their learning with regards to the focus value.
- Stories, skits, songs, poems, slide shows, etc.
- Celebration assembly – Teachers will choose students in their classes who have shown growth in the focus value and they will be recognized by the school population.
What other ways are we supporting social-emotional growth in our school?
Teachers and students at Hyland Elementary have expressed a desire to feel more connected at school. They have expressed that school-wide events make them feel like they are part of the entire school community. Plans to support school-wide connectedness are:
- Putting students in permanent house color teams and gathering in these teams at times rather than just with classes.
- More spirit days!
- Caught – ya’s! School wide incentive program with draws once a week and public recognition.
- Parent focus nights to communicate and celebrate our school plan.
- School spirit wear is being re-designed and promoted
- Teachers all have their own Hyland Elementary t-shirts and are encouraged to wear them.
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
The first success we have had has been in the planning process. We have begun the 2018-19 school year at Hyland Elementary with a great focus and set of resources to implement our program. September was kicked off with a focus on “self” and we have seen students celebrate their own uniqueness and attributes.
As we move forward, there will be an informal aspect to our reflections where the staff can share their observations about students with regards to:
- Are the students using the values in their conversations?
- Are the students expressing an understanding of the values?
- Are the students able to communicate an understanding and extension of the values in writing, conversation, presentation, etc.?
- Are more students taking part in school – events? (i.e. wearing Hyland Elementary spirit wear, participating in the new recycling initiatives, WE Team, Green Team, playground leadership, etc.)
Formally, the staff is currently working on a draft form of a self-assessment that will allow the students to reflect on their understanding of our values.
MDI – Teachers will be able to review the results of the MDI to see if there are any changes in self-regulation, resiliency and in feelings of belonging among the grades 4 and 7 students.
7. Based on the evidence, does our inquiry require adjustment?
Through informal and formal observations and assessment, the staff at Hyland Elementary is committed to adjusting the school plan as needed. We will have times to reflect with the school staff and make changes to our plan as well as additions to school- wide events.