Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bassano School Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report (AERR)

I've mentioned before about the Accountability Pillars Results of Annual Education Results Report (AERR) that get published every year letting school and communities know how students are doing overall. Over the past three to five years the scores are improving at Bassano School. Most people will never read them, but they do state some good things that are worthy of sharing. Let me show you with the diagram.

What we want to see is a lot of blue in the final column. Blue is excellent, Green is high, Yellow is average, and Orange is low. Based on the how the students and staff feel about Bassano School being a safe and caring school we are doing excellent. With regard to program offerings, education quality, low drop out rate, and high school completion rates we are doing excellent. Preparation for lifelong learning, world of work and citizenship, parental involvement, and continuous school improvement, we doing excellent. All this being said, despite how well we doing on this front, I think there is always room for growth and improvement, and we certainly will not slack off. If anything we will push a little harder.

The areas that we struggle mostly with is PAT and Diploma results, and I'm convinced these results are not so much a reflection of our students but rather on Alberta Education, who continues to use testing mechanisms that do not accurately or fairly measure what our students know. 

Our goal at Bassano School is to produce the best result possible for our students. So here is an overview of the strategies and goals we are implementing for this current year.

Goal One:  An excellent start to learning

Outcome:         Children are reaching emotional, social, intellectual and physical development milestones and are ready for school.
  • There is a preschool in Bassano
  • There are a number of School/Community connections opportunities that support early learning, such as the  summer library programs and the Parent and Tot Group
  • There are a number of parenting courses/workshops offered by the FCSS and the Innovations team in Brooks and Bassano
  • Grasslands’ Behavioural Consultant writes home newsletters that go to homes of Division I students each month. These are also emailed to homes through the newsletter link on the website. The behavioural consultant also has open times each month for parents to meet with her to discuss behavioural concerns
  • Partnering with external agencies for Early Screening to monitor milestones pertaining to motor development, speech and language development, social skill development, personal hygiene/health, etc
  • Grasslands and Bassano School have committed to an engaging focus on literacy development. Family literacy evenings are a part of the focus for this work.
  • Bassano School has committed to a ‘Math for Success’ methodology for numeracy development.
  • Classrooms in Division I are focused on hands-on/play-based learning – especially in the ECS and Grade 1 classrooms
  • Teachers use differentiated learning strategies and formative assessments to target specific areas in need of attention for each student
  • Character education is taught in weekly assemblies in division one. Students are trained in the use of Kelso’s choices and Virtue of the Week. Virtues Project International and Michelle Borba’s work on Character Education Traits are used within the assemblies through role plays, discussions and practice.
  • Cross-grade activities within the elementary, and also within the entire school (k-12) allow for good modelling and good community building
  • Access to specialist services is improving for Bassano School. A full-time counsellor has been hired for the school, one-fifth of her time being supported through a grant from Bassano’s FCSS. The counsellor will be the liaison between the FCSS and the school – which will allow for more preventative family programming
  • Through student agendas, monthly newsletters, school and classroom web pages, we continue to work on positive home/school communication and support
  • Alberta Health Services, Grasslands Behavioural Specialist, and Alberta Mental Health provide monthly resources for families and parents that are distributed through school newsletters and classroom handouts
  • Contracted support services for Bassano School’s PUF, ECS through grade 12 include: speech pathologist, OT, Ed Psych, Behavioural, mental health therapy
  • The “Who Do You Tell’ program is a part of the Division I programming

Goal Two:  Success for Every Student

Outcome:            Students achieve student learning outcomes. 
  • Guided transition planning meetings between teachers at the beginning and end of each school year take place and teachers work through cum files and Pych.Ed documents. By starting our school terms knowing how our students learn best, teachers have a distinct advantage in developing effective lessons and long range plans that will benefit the students they teach.
  • Jr/Sr teachers meet monthly to discuss specific academic and attendance concerns for students
  • A priority for this year will be to develop an Academic Pyramid of Interventions and to increase the classroom interventions to support struggling students
  • Bassano School continues to employ a High School Completion Facilitator. Her role is to work closely with those students from grade 10-12 and 7-9 who need additional supports to complete assignments. Teachers are providing consistent positive feedback about this strategy. This strategy has been highly effective in reducing the number of late or missing assignments, and is proving influential in keeping our most at-risk students organized and successful with their course work.
  • Jr/Sr Teachers are investing considerable time and energy through PLCs in learning about research-proven teaching strategies that will help them become more effective with more of their students more of the time. For example, the Jr/Sr staff has been working with the cross-curricular competencies and will be integrating these into their unit plans and long range plans. As a continuation from Dylan William’s recommendations for effective Assessment For Learning practices, our staff continues to work on integrating teaching strategies that are more globally effective for student learning.
  • Continue to work collaboratively with parents to ensure that their children are aspiring to achieve success based on individual variables. For some, this may mean entering the workforce following high school with a set of functional life skills. For others, this may mean the development of independent study skills that will promote their success at the post-secondary level.
Outcome:            Students demonstrate proficiency in literacy and numeracy.
  • Division wide emphasis on literacy and continued assistance from the Grasslands Literacy Consultant has helped to focus the strategies and resources for increasing student literacy rates
  • All elementary classrooms are using Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Systems, the Daily 5, and the CAFE (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expanding vocabulary) methodologies for English Language Arts and are using Math for Success methodologies for numeracy programming
  • This year, the elementary has implemented the Leveled Literacy Intervention programming for grades 1-6, and we are excited about early data.
  • Accelerated Reading levelled literacy programs are used for grades 1-9
  • Within math and science classes, teachers are incorporating learning activities that emphasize hands-on learning opportunities
  • In math programs, personal response and metacognition play a key role (students are asked to show their thinking processes, explain their learning, and explore the development of personal problem-solving methods)
  • Teachers implement daily/weekly numeracy and or literacy challenges
  • A focus on early levelled literacy intervention in the ECS, Grade 1 and 2 areas will help bring struggling readers up to grade level by the end of the school year
  • Two Family Literacy Nights have been planned for the 2014-2015 school year

Outcome:            Students demonstrate citizenship and entrepreneurship.
  • K-3 students are engaged in weekly role playing exercises at our Virtues and Character Education assemblies.
  • Kelso’s choices are utilized every day in k-3 classrooms and playground to develop social skills, advocacy skills, and to differentiate between small problems, medium problems, and big problems
  • Teachers utilize similar/consistent/familiar language with K-12 students regarding Character Development and frequently refer to our school motto “Respectful, Responsible, Involved”
  • Many elementary and junior/senior student council activities focus on social activism. Activities include Operation Christmas Child, Unicef fundraising, Me to We activities, Food Bank drives, and Community Christmas programs, Singing at the Hospital, etc
  • Bassano School now has a student-led Healthy Choices group, comprised of students from grade 4 to grade 12. These students attended the Alberta Healthy Choices Symposium in Medicine Hat to start their club work. This group meets bi-weekly and does presentations at assemblies, and is working on healthy living goals for our school
  • At lunch time and after school, all students can participate in a Homework Hot Spot program to catch up on late or missing assignments with teacher support 
  • Jr/Sr Teachers use a Pyramid of Interventions to encourage punctuality and good attendance
  • Bassano School enjoys community partnerships to offer Registered Apprenticeship Programs, Petroleum Field Operator programs, work experience, and health internships
  • High school students, along with the school’s Career Counselor, participate annually in field trips to post-secondary institutions as well as in-school presentations from post-secondary institutions.
Outcome:         The achievement gap between First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students and all other students is eliminated.
  • Data for our FNMI students varies from year to year based on the enrollment of students from the Siksika Nation. It is difficult to forecast specific targets without the continuity of enrollment from year to year. That being said, Bassano School strives to achieve the highest level of success for all our FNMI students. 
  • We renegotiated the 3-year Educational Services Agreement with Siksika Nation in August, 2014. This agreement allows us to have continuity for our programming for the students and is supportive of the importance of communication between parents, teachers, students and the community. As a part of the Agreement, Bassano School has a Siksika Liaison Counselor who is hired by the Grasslands School Board. In the fall of 2014, a new liaison began work in Bassano School. Healing circles and Elder Visits have already been organized for all of our Grade 1-12 Siksika students. Roles and responsibilities toward this position are being refined throughout the school year.
  • Graduation success for FNMI students in Bassano is due to the programming available to the students and to strong relationships with staff. There are excellent art, music, media, photography, and video opportunities as course choices. Welding and construction programs are also available to all students. Many of these options are hands-on and practical, and we know these experiential opportunities provide successful learning experiences for our FNMI students. For the second year in a row, a team of two high school FNMI students won the silver medal at the Regional Skills competition in the TV/Video Production field in March, 2014. They attended the Skills Provincials in Edmonton in April, 2014. 
  • Although we are still on the path towards greater student engagement, our continued focus on building relationships with students and parents has been beneficial and we are seeing gains as a result of this. Each student is being counselled about his or her education plans, and the school counsellor assists the students in the selection of courses to ensure success. Staff members continue to take an interest in students, not only in the classrooms, but also through coaching, in the community, and with activities the students and their families are involved in. Teachers and administrators of Bassano School enjoy participating in special events such as PowWows and award ceremonies that are held on the Siksika Reserve. The graduation rate of FNMI students in Bassano School is increasing and more Bassano School students are winning awards at the Academic, Cultural and Sports Awards Ceremonies in September.
  • A Bassano school teacher also continues to work with the FNMI Literacy in Social Studies cohort in Southern Alberta. In late fall of 2013, two teachers and our Siksika liaison worker attended the Treaty 7 Conference in Calgary. 
  • Bassano School’s career counselor is networking with post-secondary institutions such as the University of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat College, SAIT, the University of Calgary and Chief Old Sun College for entrance opportunities for First Nations students. FNMI students are encouraged to participate in field trip opportunities to post-secondary institutions. Alumni students and other Siksika adults who are attending or have completed post-secondary courses have presented information and discussed post-secondary opportunities with grades 7-12 students. 
  • Additional programming supports in the areas of reading and math for some grade one to ten FNMI students have been provided. These include Leveled Literacy Interventions, Precision Reading, Accelerated Reading, Joanne Moore Reading and Writing, Math for Success, Kurzweil software, and internet-based text-to-speech software. Teachers use differentiated instruction based on formative assessments in order to meet student needs. 
  • As a part of the ‘Increasing Literacy’ initiative in Bassano School, FNMI boys have been the recipients of a focussed change in resources. Turtle Island books and many more Aboriginal fiction and non-fiction books have been added to classroom libraries and also to the main library. As well, the Daily Five program and Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System is being used to assist teachers in developing targeted intervention strategies for struggling readers. 
  • Efforts continue to be made to increase our knowledge and understanding of local FNMI culture. Our Siksika Liaison will be offering two Red Cross cultural sensitivity courses for the Bassano School staff and community. The Alberta Education resource – Our Words, Our Ways, and the newest differentiation resource, Making a Difference, is being used by teachers in the classrooms. IPPs are developed for some of the FNMI students.
  • Parent Teacher Interviews will be held on the Siksika Nation in the spring of 2015. A video for the community efforts for the  flood relief and the effects of the relief will be completed by Bassano School students in 2014-2015.
  • Local school initiatives for attendance, effort and success will be continued. As well, local sponsorship for scholarships that specifically identify and celebrate achievements of our Siksika students will be accessed and FNMI students will be encouraged and supported in applying for scholarships. 

Goal Three:  Quality teaching and school leadership

Outcome:         Teacher preparation and professional growth focus on the competencies needed to help students learn. Effective learning and teaching is achieved through collaborative leadership. 
  • Bassano School places considerable emphasis on Goal 3, as it is central to our performance in every measurable area of school functioning.
  • Bassano School teachers and administrators appreciate that effective teaching is the most important variable in determining the success of its students. The staff maximizes its potential to create a student-centered culture by aligning administrator-led Professional Learning Communities, Teacher Professional Growth Plans, Data-Informed Decision-Making, and extensive Professional Development opportunities that all focus on improving teacher effectiveness.
  • Our elementary teachers will use PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) to deepen their knowledge and implementation of Levelled Literacy programming, with a particular emphasis on balanced literacy, oral language development,  Daily 5 strategies for reading and writing, guided reading, the CAFE methodology for reading (comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary), and Fountas & Pinnell  benchmark assessments. All division one teachers, support service teacher and vice-principal attended the Literacy Summit in Calgary during October, 2014. Elementary teachers are establishing a theme-based levelled library. Two Family Literacy Nights will be scheduled once again this year. All teachers will meet with their district-wide PLC teams in November and February to further explore literacy topics. 
  • Bassano School’s Jr/Sr teachers will utilize 28 hours of PLC time this year to go through each of the ten cross-curricular competencies as outlined by the ministerial order from 2014. 
  • Bassano School administrators have established a robust school-based budget for the professional development of teachers and administrators.
  • For the 2014-2015 school year, Bassano School will offer more teacher-led CTS courses than ever. Audio Engineering, Promotion and Print Advertising, Sports and Society, and Connections (Leadership and Stewardship).Photo 10/20/30, TV/Video 10/20/30, HRH 10/20 (2 sections), Art 10/20/30, Choral 10/20/30, Leadership 10/20/30 and Physical Education 10/20/30 and Animation are offered in  Terms One and Two. Bassano School will also host the district CTS trailer for Term One. Students will be able to take a variety of courses relating to machining and welding this fall. Our Food Studies 10/20/30 program is offered in Terms One and Two. 
  • Our new patient simulator facility offers considerable opportunities for expansion of programming, both school-based and community-based.
  • Our new Health, Recreation, and Human Services pathway program offers a wide variety of health-related high school courses to choose from,helping ensure that Bassano School’s programming can shift when needed to best match any trends occurring at the post-secondary and employment levels. Our new simulated ICU facility has the flexibility to accommodate even more branches of high school courses that we do not currently offer. Over the next two years, Bassano School will consider adding Sports and Recreation Leadership as a teacher-led high school option. Bassano School is currently engaged in discussions with Medicine Hat College and Newell Further Education for the delivery of health-care aide certificate program and diploma for dual credits. 
  • A pilot Teen Mentoring project, approved by Alberta Education, will be introduced in second semester. This project will include five new CTS Modules within the Human Health and Human Services area. 
  • Bassano School is currently developing collaborative educational partnerships between the school and the community. By developing a partnershipwith the Bassano Health Centre, Medicine Hat College,  and Newell Further Education Council, we intend to host 1st Aid/CPR training opportunities to adult learners throughout the County of Newell. We are also partnering with a local welding company to provide authentic work experience opportunities for our high school students. Our Food Studies program is connecting with local event organizers to provide food at special events held at the Community Hall. By promoting Bassano School as a hub of learning throughout the County, and by developing collaborative partnerships throughout our community, we feel that we can further improve our ability to increase the percentage of stakeholders who are satisfied with the opportunity to receive a broad spectrum of educational opportunities as Bassano School.

Goal Four:  Engaged and effective governance

Outcome:            The education system demonstrates collaboration and engagement.
  • Staff PLC’s have discussed the topic of parental involvement in considerable detail, as it continues to be a concern for the entire staff. The staff recognizes the importance of working collaboratively with parents, and values the importance of communicating effectively with parents throughout the school year. Last year, the staff developed Pyramids of Intervention to help clarify the communication protocols for contacting parents throughout the year. Teachers report, and direct observations support, that, in addition to our continued efforts to include pictures and articles for the local newspapers, teachers have increased their efforts to contact parents via personal telephone calls, autophone messages, email, in-school meetings, autotext technologies such as Remind101, and letters sent home with students.
  • Teachers and administrators will continue to encourage parents to work collaboratively with the school to provide the best education possible for all students. Bassano School values parental input toward the direction of their child’s education, their educational experiences, and the development of individual goals and strategies.
  • Bassano School is currently considering the implementation of Student Led Conferences, where students facilitate a review of what they have been learning, how they have been learning it, what is working well for them, and what they will be working on to further develop their learning. By providing students with a more active voice, we hope to attract more parents to the school to actively engage in the education of their child.
  • School administrators have included key planning topics as part of the parent council meetings. Parents are asked for input and feedback toward the budgeting process. The AERR is shared with Parent Council through a presentation and discussion format. As well, parents are included in discussions of strategies to use for meeting the goals of the three-year plan.
  • Bassano School is also considering off-campus interviews as a means of improving the access of our Siksika Parent Community to our teaching staff. We hope to initiate an on-reserve parent/teacher interview night during Term Two of this school year.
  • This year, teachers and administrators have dedicated their professional development and PLC efforts to implementing research-proven teaching strategies that improve student learning. Our elementary teachers have emphasized Literacy Development (Jan Moore, Blended
  • Structure and Style, Daily 5, Cafe, etc) and our Jr/Sr teachers are emphasizing effective assessment practices (Feedback, Criteria, Questioning, Social Learning, Metacognition, etc) and student engagement practices (Authenticity, Novelty/Variety, Sense of Audience, etc) as central to the core of improving student learning in their respective classrooms.
Outcome:            Students and communities have access to safe and healthy learning environments.
  • School administrators are promoting a shift in the culture of Bassano School from a traditional, program-centered approach, to one that is more student-centered. There are a number of strategies, activities, and initiatives being applied across the school that are contributing to our success in this area:
  • We are becoming increasingly effective at providing for the basic needs of our students. Our canteen program provides a 
    variety of home cooked menu items for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. Our k-3 teachers place considerable emphasis on the
     importance of healthy snacks with students and parents. A washer and dryer has been installed to further accommodate
     personal hygiene needs.  We provide a clean facility complete with hand sanitizer stations at key areas throughout the school 
    and we explicitly educate our students regarding personal hygiene and cleanliness. One of the defining features of Bassano 
    School is the quality of relationships between staff and students. Students feel welcome at Bassano School and they know
     that the staff is a team of people dedicated to helping them become successful in reaching their academic goals.
  • We continue to restructure and refine our Student Support Services to improving effectiveness and student accessibility. 
    This year is the first time that Bassano School has employed a full-time in-school counselor. We are benefitting from the 
    work of our new Siksika Liaison Counselor. We have secured provincial funding for a full-time in-school Mental
     Health Therapist. Based on the successes of last year’s trial with a part-time high school completion facilitator, 
    we have increased that position to full-time this year.
  • First Nations Education programming will focus on traditional storytelling, elder visits, art work, and the integration of 
    historical perspectives into classroom learning activities. By further developing this aspect of our educational program, 
    Bassano School is confident that we can improve the quality of education for all of our students.
  • Bassano School continues to implement anti-bullying programs and seeks to educate students on the ethical usage of 
    21st Century technologies. Teachers from K to 12 are providing explicit instructions and suggestions to students to promote 
    safe and ethical usage of the internet and interactive applications. We work closely with external agencies such as Bassano 
    Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to provide as much current and relevant information to students and 
    parents as possible. This will remain as an area of focus for our staff in the coming years.
  • Character Development programming further contributes to progress in this area. By explicitly teaching virtues such as 
    honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and involvement, and utilizing resources such as social stories with our 
    students, Bassano School is actively engaged in helping students develop skills toward advocacy, awareness, resilience,
    and problem solving.
  • Bassano School has effectively maintained the high number of staff members on active supervision during
    • non-instructional time throughout the school day. Our K-3 playground and 4-6 playground areas have five dedicated 
      adult supervisors during recesses and lunch hours. Our flex space, hallways, and gymnasium are supervised by staff members during these times as well. This initiative has made a considerable impact on the climate of our school. Guests frequently provide positive feedback regarding the politeness of our students and the orderliness of our building during non-instructional hours.
  • Bassano School is considering the development and implementation of morning-based educational programs that focus on 
    healthy food choices, community engagement, and improving the students’ overall sense of safety and security. By promoting 
    parental involvement in these daily programs, our goal is to enhance partnerships with our parent community and model for 
    students the importance of working together to solve problems. Our high school students will also play an important 
    role in the development and implementation of these programs - existing mixed age student mentorships are already contributing
    • to our successes in this area and we intend to create more student mentorship opportunities.
  • We have a high level of staff involvement in many areas of extra-curricular activities and sports. Bassano School hosted the
     2014 Senior Boys Provincial Volleyball tournament and all of our staff members were involved in this amazing event. 
  • Our flex area now has all of the flags from our students’ home countries displayed. This has given a real sense of belonging and inclusion
    for all of our student members. 

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