Staff are using several sources to inform their instruction including:
- Working with members of the ILT (i.e.: Math – Vertical Planning, English 8)
- Professional development in the areas of PBL (High Tech High – Spring 2017)
- Collaboration days (PBIS, Effective Collaboration, Co-Planning)
- District Implementation/Curriculum Implementation Days
- Aboriginal Shared Learnings
- District’s Assessment committee
Staff are working on identifying Problems of Practice through collaboration and data. These are observable and actionable items that reflect our broader statements of improvement. It’s expected these statements will be revised as staff gain additional insight and learning.
We notice that many of our students rush through their math work without showing or possibly understanding the why behind their solutions. Evidence suggests students complete tasks for the purposes of getting the work done and achieving a high mark. How can reflective opportunities in math help students develop a better understanding of the bigger picture of learning? How can we make the learning relevant to their lives?
We notice that there are several students with significant absences in our classes. Often parents excuse these absences with reasons unrelated to illness. We also notice a correlation between poor attendance, disinterest, and low grades, despite offering a variety of instructional options. Who is frequently absent? How is the learning made relevant for those students? How can we work with parents to shift the culture of excusing non-illness related absences?
Several reasons exist in relation to student focus including depression, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, substance abuse, head injury, stress, and anxiety. We notice there are a significant number of males in Science 9 who are struggling to stay focused or need individual support. With the support of our school-based and learning support teams, how can we learn more about adolescent development and possible solutions to assist students with concentration? What opportunities exist to collaborate with other teachers around the use of technology to help meet the needs of these learners?
We believe that when students are engaged in authentic French experiences, they develop deeper connections to the learning that is taking place. Despite trying to replicate authentic French experiences, it appears our students become “streamed” and somewhat isolated, particularly within the school. The opportunities for authentic learning experiences in French outside of the program, and even the individual classroom, are limited. Are the difficulties experienced in the French programs, in part, due to the fact we are in an Anglophone school community with predominantly Anglophone learners? How can we engage students beyond the classroom to enrich student language learning? How can we provide students more opportunities to speak French on a regular basis? How can we as teachers strengthen the connection between student learning and “real world” experiences? How do we connect the French Immersion department and program with other classes collaboratively and meaningfully without doing “translation” work? How do we go from “isolated” to inclusive?
We notice that several students in senior grades are having specific challenges around learning. This is evidenced through school-based team meetings, readiness levels, classroom assessments, and behaviors. Some demonstrate minimal engagement and question why they have to be in school. How can we use the pathways of purpose and authenticity to engage these students in learning? How can we improve our wraparound model of support to better improve mental wellbeing?
We notice that some students are coming for support with a particular assignment or project but the learning outcomes have not been made clear. Assignments are often related to a chapter in a textbook rather than designed to meet the needs and interests of the students in a particular class. How can we help teachers shift the focus from what we are teaching to what we want students to learn? How can we work with teachers to better understand the individual students in their classes and help each one move forward in their learning with purpose?
Our junior students are continuing to “vape” despite education about the health risks and consequences for engaging in this on school grounds. How can we work to change the culture around vaping so that our students make better choices about their health?
We notice that some of our students who play a sport multiple times per week are experiencing some negative health effects. We would like to learn more about the incidence of over-training in students participating in sports programs including academies, leagues, and sports programs. How do we help students gain knowledge about the importance of balance between work, training, rest, sport, and recreation?
We notice that having students share space in the gym is affecting their learning. We find it more difficult to cover curricular content such as breath work, relaxation, mental clearing and visualization due to restrictions in space. We also find it hard to communicate effectively with students due to noise levels in this shared space. How can we use available space differently to address these issues?
Evidence suggests there is a drop in achievement (C+ or better) in English between students after they enter Grade 8. We are continuing to learn more about adolescent development; however, we would benefit from learning more about middle years learning. How can we reduce the achievement gap of our Grade 8 students in English language programs?
Humanities course marks and teacher observations suggest that some male students in senior classes have lower levels of engagement. Research on engagement recommends learning include student voice and choice. How can we increase student voice-and-choice through practices such as literature circles?
WSS continues to experience an increase in English Language learners. In response to this need, ELL teachers meet daily with EL learners in class, small groups, and one-on-one to support their language development. How can we enhance learning opportunities for EL learners through the pathways of play and exploration and self-reflection?
We notice that there are students in every class who are not engaged in learning. This is evidenced by anecdotal comments, absenteeism, and a lack of participation. Similarly, information provided by Our School and Satisfaction Surveys confirm there are some students disengaged in school. We continue to use different adaptations and strategies for improving engagement but notice that many of these students have additional challenges including family, relationship, and/or substance use. What additional evidence exists to help us better understand this? How can we better understand engagement so that these students can be active participants in their learning?