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Superintendents REPORT to the Halifax Regional School Board 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000Join the conversation on Twitter Elwin_LeRoux HRSB_Official Providing high quality education for every student every day. Theyre Ready for Us... Are We Ready for Them This is a question I asked every HRSB administrator in the days leading up to the opening of schools for the 2015-16 year. This video of local preschoolers sharing their hopes and dreams for their upcoming education with us in contrast with recent grads reflecting on their time with HRSB set the tone for critical conversation about what we need to do to provide a high quality education for every student every day. This September we welcomed 48000 students into our schools and we were ready While classes may begin during the first week of September the preparation to receive our students begins months in advance. Our School Administration and Human Resources departments began the staffing processes in early spring and this continues until positions are filled. Program staff members are continuously developing and delivering cutting-edge professional development around curriculum culturally responsive teaching and technology. Specialists in the areas of program planning assistive technology autism and behaviour work with school communities to ensure families have the support they need to be ready for the year. Principals and teachers spend a great deal of time and energy planning and preparing to get to know their learners by setting up school and classroom environments that support and enhance student learning. Finance ensures that we are working within our budget and Operations staff members maintain our schools and offices. After a hot and abnormally humid summer break we faced some challenges with mould at seven of our schools two of which were delayed in opening. Operations staff along with outside contractors worked day and night to get the schools cleaned and ready for students and staff and we opened as soon as it was safe to do so. Opening 136 schools is truly a team effort. My first monthly report of the year will demonstrate some of the ways in which principals vice principals teachers and support staff prepared to provide the best possible education for each and every one of those 48000 learners. This fall there are many new and exciting changes in education. As part of Nova Scotias Action Plan we are rolling out a streamlined continued page 2 Important Dates October is Mikmaq History Month October 12 Thanksgiving Day no classes October 23 Provincial Conference Day no classes November 11 Remembrance Day no classes November 13 End of First Term for Elementary Junior High Assessment Evaluation Day no classes November 16-19 Report Cards Home P-12 September 2015 coordinated and innovative curriculum for Grades primary to 3. We are also implementing a new Ministerial Code of Conduct and a new Homework Policy. In addition we are administering the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement to all students as they start Grade 1. Heres what hasnt changed at the Halifax Regional School Board our priorities We are committed to improving the academic achievement results of our African Nova Scotian and Mikmaq learners. These priorities will continue to guide our work and our decision-making as a Board. We are also committed to providing more differentiated support to our priority schools. Just like every students needs are different every schools needs are different. We are committed to recognizing the strengths of each community and targeting supports as needed. I look forward to sharing our progress as we go forward. I wish everyone an awesome 2015-16 school year I am confident that this will be our best year yet Elwin LeRoux September 2015 Are We Ready For Them continued Goal 1 To improve student achievement Nurturing literacy skills during the summer break comes easily for many students. Others may not open a book again until September. Imagine waking up one morning with an idea to help students enjoy and practice reading in the summer Two teachers at St. Josephs-Alexander McKay did just that. Laura King and Stephanie Kenny are both Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Teachers. Laura teaches in English and Stephanie teaches in French. Together they organized a mobile library out of the trunks of their cars to keep students interested in reading over the summer months. Each Wednesday between 500 and 600 p.m. rain or shine they would set up outside the Caring and Learning Centre on Jarvis Lane in Mulgrave Park. They welcomed the entire school community to come and read with them. In the beginning a handful of students turned up for the event. By the end of the summer entire families were taking part Students have only been back to class for a few weeks but Laura and Stephanie are already seeing the strides their students have made in reading. They will really see the impact when they administer the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement to Grade 1 students in the coming weeks. Laura and Stephanie are building on the success of this years bookmobile and already starting to plan for next year Watch this video to learn more. When a flower doesnt bloom you fix the environment in which it grows not the flower. - Alexander Den Heijer 2 We know that for students to learn it is our responsibility as educators to create environments that are reflective engaging and conducive to learning for all students every day. That means something quite different for every school every classroom every teacher and every student. In order to provide the best possible education for every student we know that it is critical To establish safe and inclusive learning environments spaces where all students are free to learn and explore in the ways that best suit them and To know your learners academically socially emotionally and culturally. Environments for Learning Classrooms look much different today than they did when the parentsguardians of our current students were in school. They are set up with the student in mind. Bicentennial is a Primary to Grade 9 school. In this video Principal Ivan Skeete describes how classrooms are deliberately designed to be culturally relevant and responsive to all students learning styles. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Goal 2 To strengthen safe and inclusive school environments Environments for Learning In preparation for this year we asked all administrators to look at their schools physical space and lead conversations with staff using the following questions Is the classroom arranged in a way to promote large group small group and individual instruction and assessment Are student seats arranged in a way to promote conversations and collaboration Is the classroom arranged in a way that students can learn in a variety of physical spaces or while moving Are a variety of materials easily accessible to students Are classrooms visuals supportive of instruction Are they teacherstudent generated vs. store bought Is there a plan in place to teach and reinforce procedures and routines to support student learning and development throughout the first few weeks of school 3 Goal 2 continued 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Knowing Your Learners In order for teachers to provide a high quality education for every student every day knowing their learners is key. Teachers use a variety of strategies in the early days of the year to gather information about who their students are both inside and outside of school. Gathering information from parentsguardians and the students themselves helps teachers connect with families and build important relationships. It also allows for teachers to build an understanding of their students interests prior knowledge and experiences. All of these things can then be incorporated into meaningful learning activities so that students will feel engaged. At Sackville Heights Junior High School staff use a variety of ways to get to know their students. Watch this video to see some examples. Knowing Your Learners Is there a strategy in place in the early days of the school year to gather information from parents guardians to learn about their child both inside and outside of school Is there a strategyplan in place in the early days of the school year for teachers to take the time to build relationships with their students and collect information about their learning styles interests and activities both inside and outside of school Is there a strategy in place to use this information to gather resources modify the learning environment and plan lessons learning experiences with those interests in mind Staff at St. Josephs-Alexander McKay took a bus tour of the north end Halifax school community as a means of getting to know and understand their learners. Principal Natalie Hagarty is new to the school this year and felt it was critical to meet members of the community in their community and ask how to best support their children. Watch this video to find out what they learned. Did you know We have added approximately 95 new teachers to the HRSB payroll this September. This includes new sub teachers and term teachers who have not held sub or term positions before. Welcome 4 Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students As part of our opening for administrators and other leaders within our system Dr. Kimberly McLeod provided a full-day of professional learning called A Cultural Growth Model for Leaders. This professional development built upon the training we began around culturally relevant pedagogy this past winter where she helped to deepen our understanding of the meaning of culture and its importance in our education system. The purpose of Dr. McLeods visit in August was to help school administrators coaches and other system leaders gain an understanding of how teachers belief systems impacts student learning. In her presentation Dr. McLeod pushed the people in the room to ask one other who are you repeatedly until they gave answers that were beyond the typical mother father teacher principal husband wife sister brother etc. responses. When pushed people responded with descriptions of their personal beliefs and value systems. Dr. McLeod then connected how those beliefs and value systems impact the students we interact with every day and what we can do as leaders to ensure theyre not impeding with a students ability to learn. Demonstrating her key points through audience activity and participation Dr. McLeod raised a variety of topics for discussion. She spoke about the importance of not teaching with your head in the sand and how we must see and recognize our differences. She led discussion around how unconscious biases can perpetuate or even cause harm. We have to realize and understand the impact our actions and attitudes can have on our students. Dr. McLeod also focused on why building relationships with students is key to their success and how it is critical to teach to and through relationships. With the intent to have HRSB leaders think about ways to deeply shift an organization to reflect the needs and provide supports to all learners Dr. McLeod challenged those in the room to ask questions so immense that people cant answer them based on their current knowledge or where they currently stand. This question forces an organization to learn. Those who attended Dr. McLeods presentation are now putting what they learned into practice. We will continue to work with Dr. McLeod when she returns to offer professional learning for 3 days on the November bus cluster days. To see more Tweets from HRSB staff during Dr. Kim McLeods presentation check out CulturalWakeUp and HRSBpd on Twitter. 5 One of the ways in which we seek to build engagement support and confidence in the HRSB is to achieve greater efficiency in the operation of our facility plant operations. Our Lights Off. Green On energy savings project is in its third year and continues to demonstrate dramatic reductions in energy use and the associated costs. In year 2 Bicentennial Harbour View Ian Forsyth and Sir Charles Tupper schools received plumbing upgrades. Toilets faucet aerators and urinal flush valves if present were replaced with new more efficient low-flow fixtures. In addition urinal flush tank controllers were added. Traditionally urinal tanks operate by constantly filling an elevated tank and once that tank is full it flushes. This process repeats 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. With controllers the tanks only flush based on an occupancy sensor. Of all the plumbing upgrades these controllers save the greatest amount of water. Ian Forsyth was using an average of 25000 litres of water per day which is the equivalent of 250 bathtubs After the retrofit the school is now using 2500 litres per day which works out to be about 25 bathtubs Ian Forsyth alone will be saving 8.2 Million litres or 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools per year which represents an annual savings of about 18000. The combined savings of these 4 schools is approximately 21 million litres which is almost the equivalent of 8.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. To date we have completed work at 57 schools. This year we will be replacing 8 boiler plants as well as lighting and automated building control work in 14 additional schools. Goal 4 To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB Bicentennial Harbour View Ian Forsyth Sir Charles Tupper Percent Reduction 97 84 90 86 Approx. Annual Savings 12000 21500 18000 4500 6 FACES OF HRSB Congratulations to Heather Hughes- Leck who recently won a national teaching award for her focus on social and environmental issues. She is involved with many groups at Dartmouth High that encourage student involvement in their own communities and around the world. Ms. Hughes-Leck received 2500 to be used for supplies or programs at her school. Well done Ms. Hughes-Leck Click here to learn more. Congratulations to Madeline Symonds Middle Schools Zoey Russell Zoey is a finalist in the Royal Canadian Mints 2017 Circulation Coin Design contest. Her design titled Our Future Looking Beyond could appear on a 25-cent coin Zoey is the youngest of 3 finalists from Atlantic Canada. The contest is now open for public voting here. Dartmouth High Teacher Wins Canadian Family Teaching Award MSMS Student Finalist in Royal Mint Coin Design 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Heather Hughes-Leck and nominator Anne Carlos Royal Canadian Mint 2017 Circulation Coin Design Finalist Zoey Russell Above Zoeys design submission 7 Did you know Open Gyms is an initiative partnered between Halifax Parks and Recreation and the HRSB that provides free and open programs to communities. Open Gyms is in its third year of a pilot project that opens school gyms in six areas of Halifax that do not have access or limited access to gym time within their communities. The opportunity offers an unstructured active opportunity open to all ages encouraging families to come together to play. The program runs from October to May of each year usually on Saturdays. Open Gyms builds awareness around physical activity and strengthens connections between communities and schools. Look for more information coming soon. HRSBStandsUp Students and staff from across HRSB wore pink on Thursday September 10 to mark Stand Up Against Bullying Day. Check out this video to see more HRSB photos. Gorsebrook Junior High School 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 8