Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
There are approximately 540 students attending Peace Arch in grades K-7. Two-thirds are in the Early French Immersion program and one-third are in the English program. Our students come from the eastern portion of the city of White Rock as well as throughout South Surrey and beyond.
Our learners reflect the diversity of our cities and community. Many come from long-time area residents and have deep family connections to the school. Others are more recent newcomers, both from other areas of the lower mainland as well as across Canada and overseas. Fifteen percent of our students primarily speak a language other than English at home, and over twenty different languages are represented. Six percent are of Indigenous background. Our students’ families represent a broad spectrum of socio-economic status as well. Eight percent of our students have a special education designation.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
In September 2016, the staff of Peace Arch began the inquiry process to explore our learners’ strengths and needs. From there we developed hunches and questions to guide our inquiry.
A theme emerged around how students requiring targeted support for learning (generally in literacy skills in both programs) and social-emotional development could access the supports they need within the current support staffing models of LST and counsellors/child care workers.
Throughout that year staff worked on finding ways to assess and monitor student progress in these areas. By the spring of 2017 all students in grades K-6 were assessed in their literacy skills:
- Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA) was administered in grades 3-6 in both programs
- GB+ French reading assessment was administered in grades 1-6 in French Immersion
- ELPATS phonological awareness assessment was administered in both Kindergarten programs
This data helped us to understand the literacy needs of students as the school year began.
On the social-emotional side, we know from our school-based team, office referrals and special education referrals that students are in need of universal, targeted and intensive supports in many contexts around the school. Major themes in these referrals are student anxiety, and conflict resolution skills.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
Two areas of focus continue to guide the inquiry process this school year:
- What universal and targeted strategies can best support our students’ literacy development across grades and programs?
- What strategies and structures support students in feeling safe, secure and connected in their school environment, and promote positive problem-solving skills?
4. What professional learning do we need?
In literacy, teachers will need continued learning about the assessment tools so that their administration can become more efficient as well as more standardized.
Teachers will pursue learning about the strategies related to their students’ area of need. Whole-staff professional development in August 2017 focused on teaching of fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary development.
Learning related to our social-emotional focus begins with understanding the collaborative and proactive solutions approach. The inquiry team will read the book, “Lost and Found” by Dr. Ross Greene and will meet regularly to discuss and apply their learning. Professional learning for all staff is included in monthly staff meetings on topics such as behaviour support strategies and understanding trauma and anxiety in children.
District staff can support our school staff’s learning with the invitation to provide “lunch and learn” sessions on resources and programs available for teachers.
5. What is our plan?
- We are continuing the work of the literacy inquiry group to review student assessment data and share strategies that address student needs
- We will implement a targeted intervention program through learner support teachers, following a response to intervention model where student progress is monitored and groups restructured on an ongoing basis
- We have developed school-wide behaviour expectations (visible throughout the school as a behaviour matrix) and common behaviour support understandings among all staff
- We have initiated a staff inquiry group studying the collaborative and proactive solutions model (developed by Dr. Ross Greene) for supporting students with challenging behaviour
- We are developing a sensory awareness area for students to practice self-regulation strategies with staff support.
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
- Classroom teachers will re-assess students using benchmarks (PM/GB+ or guided reading assessments) at the end of each term to track students’ progress in literacy levels (grade equivalent). Students will make a year’s growth or more in a school year.
- LST teachers will assess students in their groups each 8-9 weeks to determine the need to continue, adjust or end targeted interventions. Students will demonstrate progress adequate to end targeted interventions (approach within 3 months of grade level).
- School-based team will review referrals related to behavioural concerns. Students with behavioural support plans or individualized education plans for behaviour support will meet the goals in their plans.