As a team, we constantly scan our community of learners to determine what is going well and which next steps we want to take as a learning community. Our scans are done through surveys, interviews, observations, class review meetings, School Based Team meetings, RTI Team meetings, and staff meetings.
In the past 5 years, our community has seen steady improvement in the areas we have collectively chosen to focus on. As we worked on self-regulation and social emotional learning, our community settled and calm, focused and alert learners and educators are evidence of our learning. As we developed our work in Response to Intervention, we saw evidence of regular student progress for ALL learners. Our at risk students received wrap around support to meet their needs and see them progress.
Our focus on formative assessment has resulted in students communicating their strengths and next steps in their learning on their portfolios. We have seen communication about learning between student, parents and teachers increase as evidenced on digital portfolios, in person conversations, as well as phone conversations.
Our current exploration of the power of inquiry is reaping rewards: the evidence can be seen in engaged, self-directed student learners during inquiry work in classrooms. Student questions are seen on bulletin boards throughout the school, in classroom conversation, and teachers are shifting the direction of learning in response. To use edu-speak, "the pedagogical core" is shifting from educators driving the direction of learning, so student taking agency in their learning.
Scanning our Skyhawk Community
We have been engaged in a Response to Intervention model of support to identify which students are most at risk in both academic achievement as well as social/emotional vulnerability. We have involved our staff in ongoing conversations about their students during class review meetings where we analyze each class' RTI Pyramid. Support is determined by need and implemented based on collaborative discussions with the School Based Team and classroom teachers. Our scan of the effectiveness of our RTI model and the needs of our students is ongoing through weekly RTI Team meetings and class review meetings each term.
Our scan for what is going on for our learners with respect to formative assessment involves teachers and administrators having one on one or small group conversations asking questions such as:
-What are you learning?
-Why is it important?
-Tell me how you have grown as a learner in the past year?
-What are the next steps in your learning?
We also scan our school community to gauge how effective we are being in developing student ownership of their learning, and what questions they would like to pursue in their learning. We scan by asking questions such as:
-How do you feel you are doing in your learning?
-If you could learn about anything you wanted to at school, what would you choose?
-How happy are you when you are at school?
-What learning excites you when you are at school?
The results of our scan demonstrate a need to attend to both academic and social/emotional needs of all of our students, particularly our most vulnerable. Our existing RTI Model of Support ensures we are regularly assessing where our students are at in our weekly meetings. We continue to develop our understanding of our students and how best to align our practices and structures in order to support individual needs, developing Core Competencies, Communicating Student Learning, social/emotional support and intervention.
In 2019/2020, we recognized the need to focus our work in formative assessment in our electronic portfolios. We investigated many models of portfolios, using the work of Anne Davies and Sandra Herbst to guide our thinking. In the end, we implemented a common plan to focus the evidence of learning each child develops around growth in their learning. Research shows that students who are able to see and speak to their growth over time are more motivated and engaged with their learning, and show greater performance improvements. As a team, we continue to use FreshGrade as a platform for students to collect evidence in Growth Portfolios.
Our educators have recognized incredible engagement resulting from classroom inquiries in the past year. Using the below diagram on "Types of Student Inquiry", our community has worked hard to move our students and educators to greater comfort levels as they move towards the deeper end of the pool. Much work on developing our competency in delivering the third level, Guided Inquiry. However, rather than providing questions for students, teachers have developed provocations to provoke student questions which are used to determine the nature of tasks and learning moving forward.
Developing a Hunch
In order to move forward, we needed to understand where we are with our learning. Our staff participated in an activity during the 2017 Implementation Day which allowed them to reflect on their practice. We used the OECD 7 Principles of Learning to stimulate this reflection and designed a carousel activity with each of 7 Principles of Learning at an individual station. Teachers went to each station to share how they are attending to each of these 7 Principles within their own classroom. We will continue to give teachers an opportunity to reflect on their practice through "best practices share outs" at our monthly staff meetings. One of the 7 Principles of Learning is that learning is social by nature and we believe that these opportunities to share best practices will further align our staff in its mission to support all learners at Springvalley Elementary School.
Our learning is framed around the Core Competencies of the Revised Curriculum and how to best deliver the best learning opportunities to our diverse students. Our teaching staff is embeding a variety of practices and structures into the learning environment of Springvalley Elementary in order to ensure the success of EACH learner. Such practices and structures are meant to attend to the academic and Social/Emotional learning of our students. Our Response to Intervention model of support helps us identify how students are progressing. In addition to our weekly RTI support staff meetings where student progress is discussed, our teaching staff has regular opportunities to collaborate with each other on student progress, best practices in teaching and learning, Communicating Student Learning, and Social/Emotional structures. Our school is engaging in the following programs and structures to enhance the learning both students and staff:
- Response to Intervention
- Play is the Way
- Daily 5
- Kindness Initiatives
- Reading Power
- Writing Power
- Several teachers are involved in district programs (Leadership Academy, Novice Teachers 1&2, UBCO Mentors)
- Genius Hour / Passion Projects
- Working with the Instructional Leadership Team
- Working with the District Learning Technology Team
- Best Practice share-outs at monthly staff meetings
- Trauma Informed Classrooms
- Ross Greene "Lost at School" staff book study
The above Learning is meant to be sustainable and staff has committed to these structures in order to test its effectiveness over time. We will collectively proceed down this learning journey, building our capacity and deepening our learning, in order to see long term, sustainable improvement for each of our Skyhawks. We will continue to monitor our growth through data analysis and reporting, culture checks, and regular conversations will students, staff, and parents. We are working towards a learning environment where students are the voice of their own learning and where they articulate this learning through effective and meaningful mediums and processes.
- Knowing what you want to accomplish for your learners and having specific ways to determine how you are doingâ€”early in the inquiry process
- Setting high expectations that your actions will make a substantial difference for ALL learners
- Setting the stage for what comes next
Checking is NOT:
- A routine to follow at the end
- Seeking some difference for some learners
- Judging the capacity of learners to succeed
- Justifying your actions
Links to Evidence
Social Emotional Learning:
Indigenous Ways of Knowing: