Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
The 349 students of Ocean Cliff Elementary attend school (in 14 divisions) in a well-established residential neighbourhood in South Surrey. O.C. has a relatively stable population of students. Four teachers even have their own children attending the school. The students have the option of partaking in the Intensive French program in grades 6 and 7. There are currently 49 students in I.F. The school’s learners are supported by a dedicated PAC who are active partners with the school staff. Their PAC works hard to support the needs that are identified by staff by fundraising for support and offering volunteers whenever needed. Ocean Cliff has a sister school in Surrey that we support with clothing, food, and money. However, within our own community, we also have families who will occasionally require a helping hand.
Teachers, EA’s, Supervisory Aides, and parents have worked hard to provide as many learning settings for students as possible. This year, our students took part (or are scheduled to take part) in the following:
Sports: -Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Ultimate, Track & Field, Wrestling, Sun Run, Hundreds Club, Track Attack, Cross-Country
Clubs: -Chess, Grade 7 Play, Quebec, Destination Imagination
Leadership: -Leadership Team, Spirit Team, Lunch Monitors, Morning Announcements, Library Monitors, Hot Lunch Delivery
Community Groups: -Neighbourhood Art Class, Yoga, Book Fair
Presentations: -Science Fair, Night of the Notables, Christmas Concert, Young Entrepreneurs, Speech Fest/Ted Talks
Community: -Ready-Set-Learn, Welcome To K, School-Travel Plan, Book Swap, Sister School
Classroom: -Readers Theatre, Cardboard Challenge, Coding, Genius Hour, field trips, Gauss Math Contest
Also, we have hosted school-wide assemblies that have exposed students to Drama, Dance, French-Canadian history, and Aboriginal stories.
In our belief that celebrating diversity benefits all, we have had days for Diwali, Hannukah, Christmas, Lunar New Year, Anti-Bullying Day, Orange Day in recognition of Aboriginal history, and Green Day for St. Patrick’s Day. As well, every Friday, we present information about a Cultural Celebration of the Week. Finally, we ensure to play the French version of O Canada once a month.
We have noticed a significant number of students who have expressed or demonstrated traits of anxiety. This has been identified as a key area of focus to help our learners improve both socially-emotionally and academically.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
The student population includes learners who fit in these categories:
-Special Needs: 21
-Fast ForWord: 7
We offer summative assessment through FreshGrade (7 classes) or the Communicating Student Learning document (7 classes).
We assess students to create benchmarks. The staff is in the process of exploring tools to do cross-grade assessment.
-The Kindergarten students are assessed with LPAT’s in January.
-The Primary students are assessed with Reading A to Z in September and June.
-The Intermediate students are assessed through teacher assessment.
The LST team reviews the results with teachers and admin. This includes Netting Meetings that allow the opportunity to discuss each individual learner in the school. This allows the time to make decisions about which students will receive more intensive instruction, as well as exploring teaching strategies.
In Numeracy, many students are assessed through Island testing in June.
Many of our kindergarten students have experienced preschool and/or daycare and have a basic understanding of letters, numbers, and colours. However, as our community continues to evolve, we are finding that more students are coming into kindergarten with more academic needs. This year, the number of K students who were identified as requiring LST support increased eight times from last year. Our incoming kindergarten students are welcomed every spring by our school team that includes the early learning teachers, Multicultural Worker, LST teachers, Public Health Nurse, and principal. This is followed by a New Parents’ Welcome session in October.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
In support of our belief that we need to focus on the social-emotional well being of our students, Ocean Cliff did a survey of our students from kindergarten to grade 7. The results were tabulated and presented both at a staff meeting and a PAC meeting. Knowing the proven benefits of improving social-emotional learning (SEL), the staff had multiple professional discussions that went hand-in-hand with all the results of surveys and assessments. This has led to an overarching inquiry question and a series of sub-questions that direct our school plan.
How will engaging students to challenge their fixed mindset and develop a growth mindset towards their academic, social, and overall wellness improve outcomes?
Sub-Question #1 (Literacy):
Will a consistent structure of literacy assessments and interventions lead to improved reading and writing for our students?
Sub-Question #2 (Numeracy):
Will the use of open-ended and parallel questioning enhance student ability to communicate their thinking in numeracy?
Sub-Question #3 (Principles of Learning):
How do we authentically embed Aboriginal Principles of Learning into our school to enhance student understanding of the importance of Aboriginal Perspectives?
Sub-Question #4 (Social-Emotional Learning):
Can we reduce student anxiousness by developing social-emotional skills and utilizing divergent teaching strategies?
4. What professional learning do we need?
1) Teachers have tried various literacy assessments to look at efficiency of delivery and effectiveness of results. This has included PM Benchmarks, Reading A to Z, and RAD 36. While staff has discussed some of the pros and cons, teachers will need collaborative time to compare and contrast and make a decision about which one works best for our school.
2) Teachers have discussed Marion Small’s “Big Ideas” at a Pro-D Day. Individual teachers have shared practical numeracy ideas in the Professional Sharing portion of staff meetings. Teachers have been offered the opportunity to start a book club based on Small’s book.
3) Staff has hosted a Pro-D day by District staff to help with an understanding of Principles of Learning. Teachers now need an opportunity to follow-up their learning with conversations to make sure everyone has a common understanding of the Principles.
4) Staff has identified a number of tools we can use to help with social-emotional learning and differentiating instruction:
a) We have an Inquiry Team that has been approved (and funded) to look into our SEL inquiry question. How will their introduction of MakerSpace in Family Groupings help?
b) We invited District staff attend a Pro-D day to introduce Zones Of Regulation to our staff. How far into our goal of creating school-wide common language in SEL are we?
c) Some teachers have chosen to access the Mind-Up program. How can we use that resource to help all students from grade K-7?
5. What is our plan?
1) By September, 2017, teachers will make a final decision about which literacy assessment tool to use for the students. The process will include discussions at Staff Meetings and/or Pro-D days.
2) Admin has offered to supervise classes to give the opportunity for teachers to watch their colleagues teach numeracy following the Marion Small model of big ideas and parallel tasks. After enough teachers have become familiar with it, they will make a decision about whether or not to start a book club based on Small’s book. The decision will be made by September, 2017.
3) Through Staff Meetings, teachers will follow-up their Pro-D session on the Principles of Learning to ensure everyone comfortably understands them and their implementation in the classroom. That meeting will take place by June, 2017. In the meantime, each classroom and common teaching area has been given a poster containing the Principles as a reminder of the perspectives.
4) The results of our SEL Student Survey have been shared with staff and parents. We will re-ask the questions by October, 2017, in order to compare results and see if we have made a difference.
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
-We’ve created benchmarks, and we will be revisiting results on a consistent (minimum yearly) basis.