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Elwin_LeRoux HRSB_Official 2015 Superintendents to the Halifax Regional School Board Providing a high quality education for every student every day School-Based PD Day No classes Victoria Day No classes NS Exams Grade 10 English Math Senior High Exams 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 View the HRSB calendar online May 15 2015 May 18 2015 June 18 19 2015 June 18-24 2015 Important Dates What does it take to provide a high quality education for every student every day At the Halifax Regional School Board HRSB it takes alignment. How do you align an entire system in such a way that each and every student achieves academic success Through the Continuous School Improvement CSI process. More than ten years ago the HRSB set out to make every school in the system an improving school. At that time we created a system-wide approach to guide our way to improved student achievement. Over time the process has evolved to reflect changes to school communities school climates and student needs. Through hard work dedication and a deep commitment to become better the HRSB has shown tremendous growth in our instructional leaders in teacher practice and in overall student achievement. Whats really exciting is that school improvement is a continuous journey with endless possibilities the sky is the limit Currently each of our 137 schools is engaged in the improvement cycle. That means that every person in each of those schools is working every day to improve studentsacademic success in safe and nurturing environments. Schools are assessing students in various ways looking closely at student work to demonstrate their learning and identifying areas of strength as well as areas where there is room for growth. Teachers and administrators are collaborating. Theyre listening observing adjusting practicing and reflecting and then using new and different strategies to teach in a way that truly focuses on learning. When student achievement data demonstrates that schools have shown growth in their goals in math and literacy schools set new goals rooted deeply in the needs of students and the CSI cycle begins again. School improvement is led by the principal. When instructional leadership improves teaching improves. When teaching improves student learning improves. Its all about alignment. How are we improving instructional leadership The board is offering a newly-developed Instructional Leadership program for administrators. We know that when administrators practice as instructional leaders who support and coach teachers instruction is strengthened in the classroom. We also know that when administrators work with teachers to ensure their professional growth plans are connected to the strategies in the schools improvement plan there is a more successful path to achieving improvement goals. How are we improving teacher practice We know that when teachers regularly act as Professional Learning Communities PLCs and work together to learn new instructional strategies students are learning. According to the PLC Study Committee Report 2011 commissioned by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development EECD the most significant factor influencing student achievement is the quality of teaching. The report states thatteachers improve their ability to teach when they observe one another teaching when they engage with colleagues in discussions about teaching and learning and when they work in teams on the job to solve problems share strategies and work together to implement these strategies in the classroom. In other words PLCs drive conversations and actions focused on improving student achievement. PLCs are critical to ensure that a teachers instructional strategies are effectively aligned to each and every students learning needs. For all of these reasons and more it became a requirement this year for schools to build PLC time into the daily schedule for math and literacy. We use five critical questions to drive the work of PLCs as we focus on student learning 1. What do we want students to learn 2. How will we know when they have learned it 3. How will we respond when they experience difficulty 4. How will we respond when they already know it 5. How will my classroom instruction change to meet their needs continued on page 2 Lets talk about... School Improvement How are we improving student achievement The most critical piece of this journey is ensuring that the way we teach is aligned with the way students learn. In May of 2014 for the first time ever we were able to report on math and literacy achievement results separated by ancestry. We were able to access this information thanks to a commitment on the part of parentsguardians and students who have taken the opportunity to self-identify. After pulling apart the data it became clear that African Nova Scotian students are not achieving at the same rate as their peers. As a result the HRSB has made it a priority to improve the achievement of all African Nova Scotian learners by focusing on how we can provide more culturally relevant instruction. This journey will continue to be a priority as we provide professional development around culturally relevant pedagogy and cultural proficiency for central office staff math and literacy coaches administrators and teachers. The HRSB is committed to supporting principals teachers and school staffs as they travel along the road to improvement. Great work is happening in the HRSB and educators in other jurisdictions are taking notice. This year alone two different school boards in Quebec have contacted us to learn more about our CSI process. Representatives from one of those boards have already met with our CSI leaders visited schools to learn about the cycle and to gain an understanding of how PLCs operate. The other board will be visiting in the near future to do the same. Its clear that HRSB is in a much different place today than it was when we first began talking about improving schools more than a decade ago. I am excited to see how we will continue to improve as we gain a deeper understanding of all of our learners. Every person who works in this board is somehow connected to student learning. I sincerely thank all staff not only for the support they provide to students but for the commitment they continue to make every day to improve our schools. This report will highlight just some of the wonderful work the HRSB is doing to provide a high quality education for every student every day. Together we learn and together we are better Find this report on the Superintendents page on To improve student achievement and personal success. continued from page 1 What role does a school principal play in improving achieve- ment for each and every student A strong instructional leader has a direct and meaningful impact on student learning. Research suggests that providing resources building a learning community or collaborative culture of trust and risk-taking in the school ensuring adequate amounts and types of professional development and maximizing feedback to teachers has the second greatest impact on student achievement after the effect of the instruction by the classroom teacher. John Hattie 2013 Ken Leithwood 2010 The principals role is to ensure that student learning is not only connected to grade-level outcomes but also aligned to teachersprofessional growth plans and the schools Continuous School Improvement Plan. Simply put instructional leaders are responsible for guiding the learning that is happening in their schools. How do principals lead instruction Effectively leading instruction comes from understanding exactly what is happening in each classroom of their school what the teacher is teaching what the students are learning and how its all connected to the plan for improvement. A critical part of every principals day isthe walk through. This is when the principal visits the classroom to observe teachers in action and to talk to students about what theyre learning. The purpose is to provide feedback to teachers as part of an ongoing conversation about improvement. Its about coaching teachers and helping them build on their existing strengths. The HRSB is offering a newly-developed instructional leader- ship program for administrators. The four-day module brings administrators together to look at the exemplary instructional practices that have the greatest impact on student achievement the role of principals as lead instructors how to transform belief systems to have a positive impact on student learning how to support effective collaboration through professional learning communities and how to increase student engagement. Carol-Anne Larade Principal at John MacNeil Elementary School is participating in the HRSBs Instructional Leadership program. This video demonstrates Ms. Larades skills as an instructional leader as she interacts with students and teachers in the classroom. Andrew McNeil is the principal at Caudle Park Elementary. Mr. McNeil completed also the HRSB Instructional Leadership module. In addition he has trained to be a coach mentor for other principals through the Nova Scotia Education Leadership Consortium NSELC. To learn more about how Mr. McNeil puts his instructional leadership skills to use in order to improve student achievement watch this video. 2 To maximize exemplary teaching practices to support high quality instruction. If you walk into St. Stephens Elementary on a Wednesday theres a good chance that you will be fed a home cooked meal. Miss Betty a community volunteer arrives early several days a week to prepare food for students. For 2 students staff and community members are served a hot lunch each Wednesday. Shes my angelsaid Makiko Chiasson Principal of St. Stephens.One day back in September Miss Betty arrived at the school and asked if she could cook for us and shes been here ever since and we all love her and her shepherds pie By 930 a.m. the inviting aromas of Miss Bettys cooking float through the hallways. Students and staff cant wait to see what shes preparing for lunch. Sharing Miss Bettys meals has become a weekly highlight for 200 students and 21 staff members. Food is the great equalizersaid Chiasson. Miss Bettys meals have become a welcome gathering time for the students staff and the school community. Each Wednesday we spend time together. Its a great way to build trust and relationships. Ms. Chiasson said when she first became principal she focused on building relationships with teachers in the school. She spent her first four months at St. Stephens simply observing classroom activity and validating teachers and the work they were doing. I saw many many amazing things happening in these classrooms but these things were not necessarily connected to the schools improvement plansaid Ms. Chiasson.For further improvement to happen we needed to align our goals with the schools goals. In those four months of observation Ms. Chiasson offered no feedback other thanthank you loved being in your class it makes me feel like I want to be a teacher again no wonder your students love you After Christmas Ms. Chiasson set out to help teachers shift the way they prepared their professional growth plans by having one-on-one meetings with each individual. She believes that staff meetings are not the place to talk about big change and strong relationship building comes from face-to-face honest conversation. I asked each teacher to share with me how they felt about their lessons said Chiasson.I asked them if we could focus on the things that they think about when they go home at the end of the day and sayI didnt feel good about that. She took a partnership approach and asked each teacher how she could best support their practice. I did whatever I could to support the teachers. If they needed sub time I would go into their classroom and teachsaid Ms. Chiasson. If they needed coaching Id go into their classroom to observe and coach. If they didnt feel comfortable with me Id ask them who on staff they would be okay with and I made it happen. For Ms. Chiasson it is very important that staff see her as a principal teacher rather than a principal administrator. Over time teachers became more comfortable with the shift in leadership. This year in Ms. Chiassons second year as principal the shift in professional growth plans came to life. We worked together as a Professional Learning Community PLC to develop the schools improvement goals or the Continu- ous School Improvement CSI plansaid Ms. Chiasson.From there we formulated meaningful professional growth plans that were completely in line with those goals. We think of our CSI plan as our lesson plan. An example of a professional growth plan goal that aligns with the school goal is I will improve student achievement in the area of numbers by modeling various ways for students to represent their mathematical thinking and by providing daily opportunities for students to communicate thinking through a constructivist approach. Teachers are still able to personalize their goals and incorporate mini-projects into their lessons as long as they line up with the overarching plan. Ms. Chiasson said she heard from teachers that streamlining their efforts made sense. Ms. Chiasson also said PLCs are meaningful for teachers and focused on student learning. Im thrilled with where we are going as a school and thrilled to be working with teachers on our school plan which will directly and positively impact student achievement. Theyre seeing how the alignment of school goals with their professional growth plans is positively impacting students in the classroom and thats a win for everyone. The shift happened at a perfect time. St. Stephens is now in year one of the CSI cycle. We have truly become a learning school in every facet. Its not just the children who are learning at St. Stephens the staff and the principal are learning each and every day. There is not one teacher in this building who does not want to improve their practice. There is not one teacher who doesnt embrace ideas from another. Ms. Chiasson says St. Stephens Elementary is an amazing place to be and the fact that someone like Miss Betty chooses to be in the school on a regular basis to feed students and staff is proof. You can feel the sense of community as soon as you walk into the building. Sometimes all it takes to shift a school climate is for someone to provide a little clarity a little reminder of why were doing what were doing. 3 The Halifax Regional School Board is pleased to be part of a newly-formed partnership to ensure Halifax is an inclusive and welcoming community. The Halifax Local Immigration Partnership LIP is a collabora- tion of diverse partners committed to enhancing the inclusion integration and retention of newcomers to our municipalitycity. Partners include municipal government the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia ISANS the YMCA Centre for Immi- grant Programs the Halifax Partnership the Nova Scotia Depart- ment of Health and Wellness and the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration and many others. LIP is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A primary focus of the recent Ivany Report is the need to greatly increase immigration to this province. The LIP works in collabora- tion to address some of the challenges faced by newcomers to Halifax. An integral part of the strategy to enhance their experiences is to ensure that our schools and school communities are welcoming. Every year families from around the world come to Nova Scotia with the majority arriving in Halifax. If they feel welcome they are more likely to make Halifax their new home and strengthen our region as a whole. Schools and school communities have a very impor- tant role to play in ensuring that newcom- ers feel welcome. The HRSB is working with the province the municipality and other partners to align our services in order to meet the needs of immigrants and to make Halifax more culturally competent. On March 30 HRSB hosted LIPs first conference for cultural proficiency providers trainers and educators in Halifax. The purpose of the Creating the Culturally Competent City event was to provide a networking opportunity for partners and a forum for partners to begin this very important conversation. More than 65 participants attended this day-long event. Key focus areas for LIP include social and cultural inclusion health and wellbeing economic integration and growth and education and language training. All of these topics were addressed at the conference. Next steps include creating an action team on raising awareness sharing information and creating priorities. Find this report on the Superintendents page on Photo L-R Maha Amin Halifax LIP Coordinator and Shakira Abubakar HRM 4 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students. To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB. In December the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development EECD released a set of guidelines to support schools and school boards in creating safe respectful and inclusive school cultures for transgender and gender-nonconforming students in Nova Scotia. The guidelines were developed by a working committee that included transgender youth members of school boards from across the province the Nova Scotia Teachers Union the Human Rights Commission the Youth Project and EECD. The guidelines complement the amendments made to the Human Rights Act in December 2012 that protect transgender people from discrimination. In April HRSB principals guidance counsellors and board staff attended professional development sessions that outlined the areas of support in the guidelines. Nolan Pike led the sessions and provided context for the guidelines as a member of the working committee. To hear from Nolan Pike and from some guidance counsellors who attended the professional development watch this video. Lights off. Green on Energy Project Update Your voice I want you to know how much I enjoy the HRSB Twitter feed and what it means to me. As an employee of the Board for over twenty years I have never felt so connected to the schools as I do now with the Twitter feed. It is wonderful to look on the Twitter feed to see all the things students are learning and participat- ing in throughout our schools. As well I enjoy seeing the the projects they are involved in in their own communities and in the global community the Me to We events the We are Silent day and the Sackville High School Dance Marthon that raised money for the IWK. I am so pleased to be working for a school board that embraces new technologies and has a view towards the future Jean Brown Library Support Specialist Central Library Services Halifax Regional School Board Jean Brown a Library Support Specialist with Central Library Services at the HRSB recently shared her thoughts on the HRSB Twitter feed. Thanks Jean for your feedback Follow us at HRSB_Official or watch for our feed on the right-hand side of our website. We continue to see significant savings with upgrades to schools in our Lights off Green on energy savings project. After completing a lighting and building automation system upgrade at Graham Creighton Junior High the HRSB is saving approximately 2700 a month on the schools electricity bill Lighting retrofits included upgraded gym lighting optimized classroom and hallway lighting occupancy sensors in gyms and cafeterias as well as LED exterior lighting. Building automation systems include automated exhaust and supply fans and allow operations staff to monitor buildings from a computer at Central Office. The graph on the left demonstrates the historical electricity consumption for three years. Essentially the schools energy consumption is reduced by 50 which has resulted in cutting the monthly bill almost by half The graph on the right shows the monthly peak electrical demand. This is peak amount sustained for 15 minutes of energy that we used in that month. The graph indicates when construction began and when it ended. These are amazing results 5 Find this report on the Superintendents page on Faces of HRSB Education Week 2015 Awards Congratulations to Education Week 2015 Award Recipients This years theme was Schools as Communities Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors. HRSB recipients include L-R Danielle McNeil-Hessian Director of School Adminis- tration Brian DeMone Sackville Heights Junior High Gilles Boudreau Brookhouse Elementary and Laura Kennedy Sir Charles Tupper Elementary. Bravo on this well-deserved honour HRSB Staff Schools Recognized by MLA Patricia Arab Sackville High School Dance Marathon Congratulations to everyone who took part in the second annual Sackville High School Dance Marathon on April 16 More than 1000 high school students from 14 schools danced for six hours in support of the IWK Health Centre. In total the event raised 53412.74. Thank you to students staff volunteers and donors on this tremendous event A number of students schools and staff members were recently recognized by Patricia Arab MLA for Fairview-Clayton Park for good work in their communities. Sonja Grcic-Stuart an English as an Additional Language Consultant for HRSB received official recognition in the Nova Scotia Legislature for her ability to help students and families with social and cultural integration through the development of programs that facilitate the growth of English Language Skills. Well done Sonja Click here to see the Resolution. Westmount Elementary Clayton Park Junior High and Fairview Junior High School also received recognition. Congratulations to all 6