Once a Lion, always a Lion!
Student centered learning through kindness, inclusion, community, & teamwork.
Princess Margaret is committed to truth and reconciliation. We acknowledge that we work, learn, un-learn, and play on the traditional and un-ceded territories of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and other Coast Salish Peoples. In working with these communities, we have a vision for learning that is inclusive of the First People's Principles of Learning.
We are a diverse community of learners that prides itself on having a culture of care and inclusion. Our students and staff are continuously challenged to be the best version of themselves. In addition to our teachers, counsellors, and administration, our learners also benefit from wrap-around support from Youth Care Workers, Safe School Liaisons & School Resource Officers, YES workers, Check & Connect staff, Yo Bro, Yo Girl, and REACH workers.
Our students come from a diversity of cultures and ethnicities, making our community a vibrant one which is proud of its multi-cultural context. Of the 1430 students at Princess Margaret, 1270 (82.9%) of them are multi-lingual, often speaking two and sometimes three or more languages. They are resilient, focused, and highly motivated to go to university, college or apprenticeship programs. ****(ADD a STAT here for GRADUATION RATES).
The majority of our students are motivated, hard-working, resilient, and curious. They want to contribute to their society and are actively engaged in their community.
Our Learners are social, engaged, and curious. They are highly motivated to do well and make their families proud. They are proud of their community, their cultures, and their school.
Junior Learners are struggling academically as a result of gaps in their learning from COVID 19. We are working hard to re-establish educational norms and goals. After our work on literacy last year, our school decided to stay with this goal, as we believe that literacy skills span across all subject disciplines, and are embedded in the acquisition of the main Core Competencies. We decided to dedicate our time this year to narrowing our focus from a literacy and SEL goal, to primarily literacy. We recognize the importance of SEL and this work will continue through the work of our SEL LEAD in the school.
Our students can:
-Recognize and appreciate how different features, forms, and genres of texts reflect different purposes, audiences, and messages
-Respond to text in personal, creative (and sometimes and critical) ways
-Construct meaningful personal connections between self, text, and world
-Exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking
Below are several examples of work done in the past to demonstrate the competencies our students are strong in.
Above, some of our Indigenous students are reading recipes (Foods 10-12) to make bannock and make personal connections to their identity and culture.
Below, students are exchanging ideas and viewpoints to build a shared understanding and extend their thinking in Social Studies.
In the above illustration, students in science are exchanging ideas during observation to build a shared understanding. They are also using scientific text (reading different genres for different messages) to help them gather information and observe.
Below in math class, students read an Aesop fable about a thirsty crow that found a pitcher with little water in it. The pitcher was high and narrow and no matter how hard the crow tried, it couldn't reach the water. Then it had an idea and started putting rocks in the pitcher and noticed the water level rising. Eventually, the water level rose enough that it could drink the water. These Math 8 students then tried to use this text to creatively reproduce the story with mathematical principles using graduated cylinders and marbles. Each group was given a partially filled cylinder and only 3-4 marbles to gather some initial data and make predictions about how many marbles it would take for the water to reach the top of the cylinder. Once they made their predictions, students tested them by dropping marbles into their cylinders to see if they were correct.
When looking at the literacy scores from our associate schools and the Grade 10 Literacy exams of previous years (see below 2018-2022), we noticed that we were below the District and the Provincial averages. Our students were not on track to demonstrate literacy skills to a proficient level. This further affirmed our need to continue dedicating our time to focus on literacy. Within the goal of literacy, we are choosing to focus on a few specific competencies.
We met with staff from several disciplines (through staff meetings, department meetings, classroom visits, first year teacher observations, etc., to discuss what students can do well and identify those areas of challenge in relation to literacy skills. Grades 8 and 9 teachers engaged in discussions to select the target group. Senior teachers were surveyed to identify areas of competencies requiring additional support at the junior level.
Our focus continues to be on the following literary competencies:
-Applying appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, and visual texts, guide inquiry, and extend thinking
-Using writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences
-Using an increasing repertoire of conventions of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Below is a sample of an activity used by teachers to improve student competencies.
Grade 8 Humanities students created book advertisements of the novels they had read and enjoyed for their peers. This not only encourages students to read more, but it also provides them with authors (role-models) for the conventions of Canadian spelling, grammar and punctuation. Below, the students then imitate "Netflix" trailers, to create engaging and meaningful informational texts.
Humanities students were asked to be introspective about how they learn through the use of a visual vehicle. This allowed the students to express how they learn and what they struggle with.
The teacher of the sample group used language from the provincial assessment scales to identify successes and remaining challenges. The teachers were pleased to report that there was noted improvement for all students in the sample cohort in relation to the literacy goals.
We chose two classes of Humanities in Grades 8 for our cohort. Students were allowed an adjustment period post COVID, after which writing was assessed through journal writings that the students regularly completed. A snapshot was taken in November 2022 for both classes and another snapshot was taken at the end of May/beginning of June 2023. Our goal is to see evidence of change in literacy competencies over the year. Students were provided opportunities to work on literacy skills through formal and informal writing, and other reading strategies throughout the school year. (Below is the results of change in literacy competencies- journal writing in November and then May/June)
Below are graphic results of the change that occurred in the student's writing and their ability to express their thoughts and ideas clearly. A noticeable difference between the November and June assessment snapshots is that in June all students (41 students) were assessed as developing or higher compared to November where 12% of students were emerging in their writing. Also, there were over twice as many students who were extending in their writing in June when compared to November and 71% of the class was proficient or higher in comparison to 44% of the class in November.
Below are sample journal writings used in the grade 8 humanities class:
Sample 1: student work from November 2022
Sample 2: student work November 2022
Sample 1: student work June 2023 showing marked improvement from November
Sample 2: student work June 2023 showing marked improvement from November
Our Next Steps:
-There were a total of 4 HUMASC teacher/admin meetings at the Grade 8 and 9 level to discuss a meaningful assessment of the competencies we hope to build.
- As a school we hope that we have access to assessment tools in reading and writing as well as math from the district level which teachers will use in the month of September to gain a snap shot of student level and ability. Teachers believe this is important for reasons outlined below:
- Using common assessment tools teachers will gain a snap shot of student's ability and level over the course of September. This information will:
1. help teachers meet students where they are at academically
2. help speed up the process to connect students who are struggling academically with supports.
3. help with learning profiles of students so the HUM/MASC team can co-create units that will better support their classroom make up.
Part of the plan is for all teachers to use the same assessment tools. Admin will provide time for theses teachers to meet as a group to co-assess student work to make sure all teachers are assessing at the same level. Teachers will also co-create and develop a meaningful rubric (i.e. for student writing) using the proficiency scale for the younger grades to assess the ability of our students.
- we will administer a second assessment in second semester with the same students to show student learning progress that has occurred from 2023-2024.