In the fall of 2012, School District 64 implemented a District Review Process. The focus for this process is based on the approach that as a district we are collectively responsible for all our students. Resource allocation should be based on transparency and a systemic big-picture view.
The district has just completed Phase One of the third year of the District Review where teachers and administrators from every school in the district, trustees, and district support teachers had the opportunity to come together to share strengths and concerns. Common themes to support student learning emerged from the collective response of our school communities. Support for student wellness and the continued development of foundational skills in literacy and numeracy were identified as key areas of priority.
Student wellness, including anxiety, was identified as a key factor that hampered student achievement. Resultantly, a variety of supports will be implemented:
- Additional teacher counselling time has been added to the majority of the district’s elementary schools this year
- Assistance for teachers to attend FRIENDS for Life training. (A universal support to help deal with students’ anxiety)
- Ongoing support for Positive Behaviour Support programs at all district schools. (Our district has four provincially trained coaches and has hosted regional training this fall)
- Grants for the innovative use of Educational Assistant time to support student learning
- Formation of a district health and wellness advisory committee
- Continued support for place-based ecological learning
- Increasing access to support from Action Schools BC
- Working with community agencies to develop a community plan in support of our most vulnerable students
- Support for students to link with mentors in the community
Goal One in the SD64 Achievement contract is the development of foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. The importance of support at the early primary level to master key foundational skills was given considerable emphasis. We want our students to be able to access and embrace personalized learning throughout their lives. Some of the supports to enhance student achievement in literacy and numeracy this year are:
- Redefinition of the scope and school assignment of District Literacy, Numeracy & Behaviour Support Teachers
- Continuing support for teacher inquiry groups including CR4YR (Changing Results for Young Readers) and Math Inquiry
- Enhancing Educational Assistant time and the creation of three early primary EA positions
- Increased support for School Learning Centres (SLCs)
- Additional mathematics support blocks at Gulf Islands Secondary School
- Increased support for “What’s Next” collaboration time following baseline assessments such as DART, EPRA, & DMA
- Further development of opportunities to consult and collaborate at the school level and with the Learning Services Team
- The development of a workshop series for Educational Assistants
- School and district support for Assessment for Learning and encouraging student voice and ownership in the learning process
While this process has been a useful framework to include as part of Education/Learning Improvement Fund consultation, the intent is much broader. In the Gulf Islands we embrace “Learning for All”. This is a continuous commitment to student achievement. How are our students doing? How are we responding? What are our next steps? How can we make the district’s budget go further to support student learning?
The District Review is an evolving process and this information has been provided as an overview and is not intended to be a comprehensive list. There is so much more going on in SD64! It is the district’s sincere hope that the action plans being co-created in the district arising from a variety of sources—ProGrowth, Student Leadership Groups, Staff Committees, PACs, Community Forums—will provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved.
Sincere regards and thanks for all you do to support public education,