Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
James Ardiel is a school rich with history and tradition with a diverse community of learners, staff and stakeholders. James Ardiel is located in North surrey squeezed between the historic communities of Boulevard Heights and Whalley. James Ardiel overlooks the mighty Fraser River with a direct view of the North Shore Mountains.
Currently our enrollment is at 416 students in grade K through seven. We also host a StrongStart program to assist our families in supporting their transition to school. Our learners are from a diverse background both socio-economically and culturally. We have multi-generational families that are both home owners and renters that have had their families call James Ardiel home over many years. There is also a large transient population that come in and out of the school on a monthly and yearly basis.
We have a strong Aboriginal population of 57 learners, Special Needs Designated students compromised of 57 students and 133 English Language Learners. This rich diversity adds to the strength of our school and a challenge to our staff to meet the needs of all of our learners.
Our learners often do not have the same academic enrichment opportunities some other school communities do before children start school so therefore our programs such as; Ready, Set, Learn; PALS; Play into K; Welcome to K; and the Aboriginal focused Bannock and Books play a vital role in our school.
Our school community is made up of a variety of communities with different strengths and challenges. Although many our students have a wealth of experiential knowledge they are often afraid to take risks and participate fully in their learning opportunities. A large portion of our school population does not meet widely held expectations for numeracy and literacy. Our students and their families often rely on our school and community for supports to help meet everyday needs.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
A variety of sources inform our school plan. By consulting and collaborating with the multitude of staff and stakeholders that serve our school community, we have developed a strong profile of our students and their families.
In order to support healthy and successful learners we need to support students and families in multiple pathways including, health and wellness, social emotional learning, the arts, First People’s Princples of Learning, and academics.
First People’s Principles of Learning:
The First People’s Principles of Learning is infused into our learning at James Ardiel. By recognizing the land of the Coast Salish people, our students acknowledge the traditional territories on which our school is built. At monthly assemblies, we connect our learning to a First Peoples Principle.
The following supports and program are utilized at our school to enhance learning: Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment, Wilson Just Words Program, ELL intensive Learning groups, Early Literacy teacher to support Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, Author visits to lead Writer Workshop, Learning Commons, Indigo Love of Reading Grant, MakerSpace IslandNet Assessment for numeracy in intermediate grades
A renewed focus on developing best practice to communicate student learning through reporting templates and Digital Portfolios. With our revised curriculum, the way in which we communicate student learning has also evolved. We are working towards providing ongoing communication with our parent community through transforming our formative assessment practices. We know that ongoing descriptive feedback will give our students and parents a better opportunity to understand their learning needs and work towards a level of individualized proficiency.
Health and Wellness:
The following programs support health and wellness at our school; Nstep, Blast, Jumpstart, Breakfast and Snack Program, Lunch Program, Swimming, Skating, and extra curricular activities such as Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, Badminton and Soccer for both boys and girls.
The following supports and programs are utilized at our school, particularly with some of our most vulnerable students:
Full Time Childcare worker, Aboriginal Enhancemnt Worker, Counsellor, Sensory Room, EA/ABA professional development, Girls Group, Boys Group, Social Emotional Learning Helping Teacher for all grade 4 students
The following supports and programs are utilized at our school to enhance the arts: full time music teacher, Primary and Intermediate Choir, Annual Harvest Hoedown, Annual Christmas Concert, Band, Art Club, Creative U
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
How will the development of a growth mindset and an understanding of self-regulation strategies positively impact student learning and attitude towards school?
How will improving strategies in formative assessment practices empower students to have an active role in their learning?
4. What professional learning do we need?
As the staff at James Ardiel has embraced the B.C. Curriculum, we have had a strong focus on addressing the social emotional needs of our students. We have adopted the use of a program entitled ‘Zones of Regulation.’ This program has allowed both staff and students to develop an understanding of different emotional states and the coping strategies. We believe that through developing an awareness of the self and striving towards a positive mindset towards school and learning, our students will demonstrate increased success in their learning journeys. As a staff, we continue to learn about the best ways to meet the social emotional needs of our students. Through staff meetings, collaboration, school wide assemblies, and our SEL helping teacher, we will continue to learn about the needs of our students. Along with the changes in B.C’s Curriculum, we have also seen a transformation in the ways we report student learning. Whether through the use of the Communicating Student Learning Template or Digital Portfolios, teachers have begun to assess student learning in different ways. This changes in our reporting places an increased emphasis on formative assessment: providing assessment on a more continual basis. We know that students learn best with continual and meaningful feedback. This gives them the opportunity to improve their understanding with supportive guidance. As a staff, we will explore the best ways to provide individualized descriptive feedback to transform learning and improve understanding for our students. As parents play a pivotal role in learning, we hope that through transforming our assessment practices, both students and parents will have a more active role in learning.
5. What is our plan?
By utilizing the principles of the Surrey District School Board’s Learning by Design we aim to support staff and students through purposefully designed structures, tools and learning.
By establishing a collaborative engagement model we have encouraged staff, students and caregivers to identify strengths and challenges of or school community. Structures and process used to collaborate include, staff meeting and development, support staff professional development and collaboration, monthly grade group collaboration time, monthly Lunch and Learn events, Committee meetings, Priority Practice Inquiry group and Communicating Student Learning Inquiry group, Digital Communication, Teacher lead professional development, PAC meetings and presentations.
Through various formative assessment tools we will target areas of potential growth. The tools help us narrow and identify need within the school. Some of the tools utilized thus far are: Island Net Assessment, Fountas and Pinnel Literacy Assessment, Just Words-Wilson Assessment, Fountas and Pinnell, Early Literacy (ELPATS), Social Emotional Learning survey.
By exploring our current structures and tools, we have identified that social emotional learning, movement towards growth mindset, and strategies for transforming formative assessment are our goals for professional learning. Through workshops, professional resources, and staff in-service, we will continue to explore the role of social emotional learning in our school. Through monthly assemblies and in class support with our students, we have developed common language with our students and continue to pursue their growth to develop strategies to self-regulate their behaviours. We will explore the meaning of growth mindset as a staff and develop and understanding of what this means to us. This will help us to share the concept of growth mindset with our students in developing resiliency in our students. By transforming our formative assessment strategies, we will explore how to best offer descriptive feedback to improve individual learning journeys. We will work towards developing self-reflective learners who are able to take ownership over their learning.
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
A balanced approach of data and anecdotal based evidence will help inform our practice and develop our relative success in addressing the inquiry questions and goals set out in our School Plan. At James Ardiel, we value the input and reflections articulated by our many professionals that work with our students as well as empirical data gleamed from summative assessments. Our goal is to collect a number of data sets, both formatively and summatively, to inform our success criteria: examples of these sets are ELPATS, Social Emotional Learning Survey, Fountas and Pinnel Literacy Assessments, Communicating Student Learning Performance Scales, as well as a variety of numeracy assements including, IslandNet (Intermediate) and What do you Know? (Primary). Gathering data from our in-school programs such as Attendance Matters, Childcare, and Aboriginal Enhancement programs will help to inform our practice by looking at attendance records, referrals to the office and School Based Team reports. The information gathered will give us an understanding of student engagement in their own learning and growth in their personal and social emotional awareness.
This data will help inform both the relative success of the School Plan goals in relation to student progress and staff development. Teachers, support staff and administration’s participation and understanding of formative assessment and growth mindsets is also a goal of our School Plan. The development or success of this goal can be demonstrated through participation in Professional Development, review of research related to our goals and utilization of best practices in the classroom. By gathering information from students from focus group interviews as well as before and after surveys, we will be able to gauge a shifting mindset towards positive student ownership of their learning. Our goal will be to engage students in the belief that learning happens on a continuum and that each individual learner is on their own journey.