Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
Background and Context:
South Meridian is a K-7 Elementary school located in the South Surrey area adjacent to White Rock. The school is currently home to 327 students. Our school expects a slight increase in enrollment for the coming school year. Many South Meridian families have been long time residents of the community.
South Meridian Elementary has seen growing diversity of cultures around the world in recent years. Our language learner population is growing as well. South Meridian also welcomes a number of international students to our school each year. We have a growing number of Aboriginal students from various backgrounds who currently attend the school, which includes our local Semiahmoo First Nation and other nations.
South Meridian students generally present as happy children who are ready to meet the challenges of school life – they are keen to learn and are dedicated to their education. The majority of our students meet Ministry expectations in all academic areas.
Our teachers are dedicated, collegial, and collaborative – and spend countless hours planning, organizing, and making learning meaningful and fun for the students. Our classroom teaching staff, and our support staff for special needs students are all strong advocates for children – and work well as a team within classrooms and in the school.
Our parents are great supporters of our school – an active Parent Advisory Council (PAC) that demonstrates strong leadership and support, active supporters of school events and functions, as well as fundraising, in order to enrich the classrooms and the school. Our parents work tirelessly to help foster a positive school community. PAC members help in a number of educational initiatives such as the volunteering for hot lunch, in the library, working as classroom parents and helping with athletic teams and events in our school in order to foster and build community. Many parents volunteer on a regular basis in a variety of endeavours which support students. Our PAC has also generously supported purchasing of technology and supplies that support the redesigned BC Curriculum.
What do we know about our learners?
We feel it is important to highlight and celebrate the strengths and gifts of the learners at our school. When surveyed, teachers, parents and students reported a wide range of students’ strengths at South Meridian.
· Creative, curious, happy, friendly, fun-loving
· Inquisitive, determined, united, self-starters, enjoy a challenge
· Fun, outgoing, smart, innovative
· Kind, helpful, respectful
· Athletic, active, artistic
· Compassionate, understanding, hard-working, capable
School Strengths to Celebrate:
· Student leadership
· Strong, caring staff
· Strong parent involvement
· Welcoming Community
· Variety of Activities – athletic, community oriented
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Over the past three years, our school has transitioned toward the goal of fostering Social Emotional Learning. We began with exploring social responsibility, and have made a deeper journey into the area of self-regulation.
Areas to grow on that we have observed:
· Self-regulation noted as a key area for our school
· Independence, problem-solving in areas of social-emotional learning
Exploring Areas to Grow On:
As we asked ourselves what we know about our learners, and what evidence we had to support what we know – we discovered that with the many strengths, our learners present some areas to grow on that we wish to explore further:
Apparent increase in number of children coming to an adult to problem-solve an issue.
Teacher referrals to school-based team that centre around resilience, ability to solve problems without an adult, reactive behaviour, choices of actions, friendships, empathy.
School based team referrals are complex.
Parent referrals to counsellor and/or teacher to investigate complex learning needs, complicated problem-solving resilience, anxiety.
Documentation through communication to families – e.g., reporting formats, planner notes, letters home and to physicians.
Collaborative discussion with all staff, including Integration Support Teacher, EA’s and ABA-Support Workers, Child Care Worker, Counsellor, Teachers, Office Staff. Increase in regulatory issues in the school. Increase in sensory supports being utilized in classrooms as well as in our sensory room.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
We have created a shift of focus in our goals as a school community beginning in June 2015. Our new focus of inquiry is based on a variety of collaborative meetings with parents, teachers, and students. Our results for school planning in June 2015 involved an in-depth look at what we know about our learners, and areas to grow on. We continue to build on our understanding – and we have shifted our focus from the area of Social Responsibility to the more inclusive umbrella of Social Emotional Learning.
In 2016-2017 year, we shifted our school goal Planning Day to September. We felt that this shift was meaningful as all new staff was on site for these discussions and it continues to be important to embed the conversastions into our school plans, activities, and staff meetings throughout 16-17.
We met in September to review our plans for our goal around Social Emotional Learning.
· In 2015-2016, our school goal focused on Social Responsibility, utilizing the Social Responsibility Performance Standards.
· In 2016-2017 we collaboratively reviewed our original intent from June of the 2014-2015 year – and decided that going deeper into the area of Social Emotional Learning will benefit our children at South Meridian for the 2016-2017 year.
· We began utilizing resources that help us go deeper into the realm of Social Emotional Learning – in order to teach and support students in learning how to regulate and be in the optimal zone for learning.
Our 2016-2017 focus:
· Building a common language as a school around Social Emotional Learning.
Our inquiry question for 2016-2017:
· How will developing and knowing common language for self-regulation impact student well-being and their choosing appropriate tools to solve problems? (thereby being in an optimal zone for learning)
Resources for each teacher* in classrooms and in the teacher resource section of library for the 2016-2017 school year:
1. Zones of Regulation*
2. Mind Up
3. Calm, Alert, and Learning
Our staff planning in September 2016 around our goals centred around utilizing the language from Zones of Regulation as a whole school. As a staff, we utilize mainly the first two resources listed as teaching tools in the school.
4. What professional learning do we need?
What professional learning do we need?
Focused Staff Conversations and Collaboration
- Staff meetings – highlight our goal with group conversation and in collaboration with each other on a regular basis around the tools we are using.
- Professional Development Days – focused views of resources and discussions
- Guest Speaker – Invitation for a visit from an educator with expertise in the field of Social Emotional Learning
- Book Club – Looking at resources together in a study format
5. What is our plan?
What is our Plan?
- Explore the question: How will developing and knowing common language for self-regulation impact student well-being and their choosing appropriate tools to solve problems? (thereby being in an optimal zone for learning)
- Utilize Zones of Regulation and/or Mind Up as teaching tools in classrooms
- Share common language around school
- Posters up around school and in classrooms
- Touch back every staff meeting
- Invite specialist speaker in the area of Social Emotional Learning
- Review our steps and strategies throughout the year, and at our next Planning Day to assess our depth of effectiveness
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
How will we know our plan is making a difference?
- School-based team discussions reflect growth in Social Emotional Learning school-wide
- Teacher reports document growth in Social Emotional Learning is improving where needed
- Student self-referrals for having an adult solve an issue shift to the student solving or regulating with adult support, to the student solving or regulating independently
How Will We Monitor Our Plan?
- Surveys and or focus groups in the early part of the upcoming school year (students, teachers, parents) and again later on
- Implement several regulation strategies in each classroom that promotes the aspects of the Social Emotional Learning
- We will check in and touch base regarding our plan by:
- Placing Social Emotional learning as a discussion topic / focus on each staff meeting agenda
- Hearing, acknowledging and supporting students in using a common language that supports one another in and out of the classroom
- Conducting a survey in the last quarter of our school year – where are we now? – what have we learned? – how are we going to adjust? (setting the stage for our planning day in September 2017)
7. Based on the evidence, does our inquiry require adjustment?
We are looking forward to continuing to grow with our goal – as it focuses on the social and emotional well-being of our students in relation to all the facets of their life at school.
This area of information on our plan will be added once our touchbacks have taken place in the final quarter of the school year.
South Meridian Staff