Part 1: Analysis of Context
1. What do we know about our learners?
William F. Davidson is a medium sized school in the Guildford/Fleetwood area of Surrey with approximately 445 students. We are privileged to work with a community of learners of diverse cultural backgrounds. Our learners speak over 40 different languages at home, with 40% of our students speaking a language in addition to English.
These learners are happy to be at school and want to learn. Students enthusiastically engage in deep learning when activities are designed to meet their needs and interests. Many of our families work full-time and students rely on their teachers to support with homework and academic learning activities. Our school offers a Breakfast Club to provide balanced, nutritional meals in the morning to those who need it.
Our students love to volunteer to help others and the school community. Our grade 7 students set up for assemblies, take on mentorship roles with younger students, and can be counted on to help with a variety of tasks whenever the needs arises. Our Leadership Team hosts school spirit events regularly and instills social responsibility into our daily routines with Zero Waste Challenges, fundraising, and supporting valuable causes such as the Terry Fox Foundation, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, and WE Charity. Other students regularly approach teachers and office staff to ask if they can help pick up garbage on the school grounds, if there are any bulletins boards to be assembled, and if they can help in any other way.
2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
Students at William F. Davidson are friendly and have developed good relationships with staff and their peers. Teachers report that students at our school are happy and friendly. They are motivated to complete assignments that are engaging, hands-on, and authentic to their learning needs. By engaging our learners in their education through reflection, assessment, and choice, students are more likely to understand what it is they are supposed to learn and to then follow through on these learning intentions.
Our school uses FreshGrade learning portfolios to document, assess, and report learning. These portfolios clearly demonstrate the learning needs of students. Our students are beginning to take active roles in creating and maintaining these portfolios, with student voice encouraged in the selection, description, and analysis of artifacts chosen for the portfolios. Through formative assessment, teachers are able to determine what students’ strengths and challenges are and how to continually help our learners grow and learn.
Staff engage in regular conversations with parents and students to engage them in the learning process. Students need to know where they are at in the learning process in order to set goals as to what the next step will be for them. Student self-reflections on learning are an important part of the learning journey at Davidson and students are beginning to learn how to accurately and confidently assess their own growth as learners.
Part 2: Focus and Planning
3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?
- How can we use student inquiry to increase student engagement in learning?
- How can we use digital portfolios as a vehicle to enable teachers and students to use formative assessment practices to increase student engagement in learning?
- How can we utilize the Core Competencies of the B.C. Redesigned Curriculum (Personal & Social Responsibility, Communication, and Critical Thinking) to help students become reflective, self starting learners who take pride in their work?
4. What professional learning do we need?
- Opportunities to collaborate and share best practices
- Opportunities to collaboratively discuss literature related to our inquiry
- Continue to engage with and explore effective assessment practices to communicate student learning using digital portfolios
- Find ways to encourage our parents and students to take an active role with the digital porfolios
- Explore a variety of strategies to make the core competencies explicit in all curricular areas
- Continue professional growth in social-emotional learning to help support our students in their journeys
- Lunch & Learns to bring our learning community together
5. What is our plan?
In 2017/2018, we have:
- Held frequent Lunch & Learn meetings to provide opportunities for staff to collaboratively share their thoughts and experiences on our inquiry topics and continue learning about social-emotional needs, best practices in literacy and numeracy, digital resources and portfolios, and assessment strategies
- Implemented an annual Identity Day to get to know our learners better and build community between all students
- Book clubs on formative assessment
- Introduced Successful Learner Traits as a way to make the Core Competencies and the related language/self-reflections explicit to our students
- Continued school-wide reading assessments to measure student growth
- Continued with a school-wide focus on Zones of Regulation to teach our students strategies for the variety of emotions and situations they face
- Implemented a collaboratively created Code of the Dragon (Code of Conduct) to bring common language and expectations regarding student behaviour and social responsibility to our community
- Opened a Maker Space room, which encourages students to work through the design process and demonstrate learning and passion in a variety of ways
In 2018/2019, we will continue by:
- Using teacher release time and formalized collaboration time to support teachers in the implementation of instructional strategies to engage learners by team teaching the strategies
- Highlight Successful Learner Traits monthly as a school to increase aquisition of the vocabulary and instill meaning to the traits
- Incorporate Successful Learner Traits into the Code of the Dragon and Core Competencies in order to help our students become more conscientious and reflective learners
- Continue regular Lunch & Learns to explore new topics in digital resources, social-emotional learning, and literacy best practices
- Continue using digital portfolios, with an increased focus on community engagement with the portfolios
- Explore additional formative assessment methods to engage students in the assessment process and give them ownership over their learning
Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate
6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)
We plan to develop a student survey to collect information on student perceptions of how engaged they are in their own learning, whether student student awareness as to their emotional state relates to their ability to focus, and their abilities to set learning goals relating to school. We will also survey staff.
We will monitor community engagement with student digital portfolios by measuring an increase in views and comments.
We will self-assess our practices to see if there is an increase in formative assessment strategies utilized through the digital portfolios.
To celebrate at the end of 2018/2019, we will compile a video clip from each division demonstrating the deep student engagement in learning occurring while interacting with hands-on, authentic, rich learning activities. These clips will be compiled into a video that will be shared with the school.