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Superintendents Report to the Halifax Regional School Board 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000Join the conversation on Twitter Elwin_LeRoux HRSB_Official Providing high quality education for every student every day. How do we set our students up for success in school There are many answers to this question but the critical piece that we know as educators is that it begins with knowing our students. Knowing our students means understanding who they are as individuals where they are on their learning journey what their strengths are and how they learn best. Truly knowing students allows teachers to engage students in meaningful ways and helps them develop strategies that will take them to the next level of learning. Knowing our students also means understanding who they are culturally. Each student who walks through our school doors comes with an abundance of knowledge and unique life experiences. Our priority is to build on that background to provide a high quality education for every student every day. Every student has different strengths and areas for growth and its our responsibility to do whatever it takes to make sure they are receiving the support they require to make their educational journey successful. This months report takes a closer look at some of the ways staff in schools and central office are working in innovative ways to make school a place where students are excited and engaged in authentic learning experiences. Goal 1 demonstrates how teachers in one elementary school used an innovative approach to help students across three grade levels improve their basic skills in math. In Goal 2 students and teachers share what they believe is the recipe for student success in a video created to help guide the schools continuous improvement cycle. Goal 3 outlines some of the ways in which we are working towards our priority of improving achievement for African Nova Scotian and MikmaqAboriginal students through meaningful cultural learning opportunities. These are just some of the examples of how we are working to ensure all students find success in our school system. In addition to the update on our Lights Off. Green On energy savings program in Goal 4 we have also revamped our Welcome to Primary resource. Its important to note that truly setting students up for success in school begins before children even walk through our doors continued page 2 Important Dates April 1 Elementary Junior High Assessment Evaluation Day no classes April 1 End of Second Term for Elementary Junior High Schools April 4-7 Report Cards Home for Elementary Junior High Schools April 14 AM Professional Development Day P-12 no classes PM Parent-Teacher Interviews P-12 no classes March 2016 We have redesigned the Welcome to Primary resource to better serve parentsguardians of students entering our system for the first time. Its an interactive tool that includes videos that demonstrate what learning in Primary looks like suggestions from teachers on how to prepare preschoolers for school as well as information on the importance of play and much more. The best part of the new resource is the advice from current Primary students on what to expect at big school The Welcome to Primary booklet will soon be posted on our website and shared with parentsguardians and schools. Stay tuned We are working hard to meet students where they are and support them on their journey of learning. One of the most exciting parts of this is to make sure to support learning for their future not our past. This can be a daunting challenge. I recently shared that I would be attending C21 CEO Academy Ignite Sessions. This was an awesome opportunity for professional sharing all guided by a desire to support more students to achieve at higher levels in public education. It was an incredible experience of learning with colleagues from across the country who shared experiences and challenges of leadership visioning forward as champions of student learning. As we continue our work to ensure the success of every student - present and future - it is reassuring to share strategies and learn from other Canadian districts who are focused on the same outcomes. Together we are better Elwin LeRoux March 2016 How do we set students... continued Goal 1 To improve student achievement When students across three grade levels werent meeting expectations in math how did one school respond With intervention and innovation. When students arent meeting expectations its up to teachers to make changes in the way theyre teaching and to find new and innovative strategies to engage students in their learning. In order to reflect students needs its absolutely critical that teachers know who their students are how they learn best and where they are on their learning journeys. Providing the right learning environment is key and that learning environment is unique to every situation and every school. This is a story about how three teachers at Bell Park Academic Centre BPAC worked collaboratively to find a way to improve math achievement across three French Immersion grade levels. Using resources available at the school and strategies implemented by math support teachers they created a program to supplement the current math instruction. Each week students in Grades 2 3 and 4 meet in the gym to work on foundational math outcomes at their individual levels. Once theyve mastered a skill they move to the next level. After a few short months teachers are already seeing changes in students attitudes towards math and their achievement Learn more about BPACs innovative approach in this video. The best teachers are those who show you where to look but dont tell you what to see. - Alexandra Trenfor 2 What is the most important consideration for teachers and administrators in creating environments for student success Knowing and building relationships with students Each of our 136 schools is engaged in different stages of a 5-year school improvement process. School improvement creates the conditions for ongoing professional learning enabling teachers and school administrators the opportunity to reflect on their practice in relation to improving student learning. Schools look at all kinds of evidence from a variety of sources to make the best decisions for their school improvement goals. They have open honest and constructive discussions in professional learning communities to allow this to happen. Sackville High School SHS is currently in year one of its plan to improve student success. This winter SHS staff began its self-assessment process. This is an evidence-based data-driven process where teachers discuss the greatest learning opportunities for students and identify strategies for professional learning for staff that correspond to students needs. To keep that critical piece of studentteacher relationship at the forefront they asked Grade 12 student Levi Marshall to create a video. He asked teachers to explain what they felt students needed from them to be successful in the classroom and then asked students what they needed from their teachers to be their best. Its called Student Success - Through the Eyes of Teachers and Students. Its a fantastic example of how administrators and teachers are using information from their students as a key source of evidence in determining their goals. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Goal 2 To strengthen safe and inclusive school environments 3 Many HRSB schools are participating in Nourish Nova Scotias 100SchoolEats contest Check out their submissions at 100SchoolEats March is Nutrition Month Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students How are we working towards our priority of improving achievement for African Nova Scotian and MikmaqAboriginal students By providing cultural learning opportunities that are meaningful to students. HRSBs Diversity Team actively supports this goal through ongoing professional development in culturally relevant pedagogy with central office staff in our School Administration ProgramStudent Services and Human Resources Departments as well with teachers and principals. African Nova Scotian and MikmaqAboriginal Student Support Workers provide cultural programming to support students in identified schools. Here are some of the examples of the opportunities available to students through the student support worker program. In February the Diversity Team worked in partnership with Capital Health to host a career fair to bring Aboriginal students together to learn about careers in the health field. The reason was two-fold students say they are more comfortable being themselves in an environment with others like them and health care providers are looking for more Aboriginal representation because people who are Aboriginal are more likely to access health services if theyre being treated by someone from their own community. Learn more about this opportunity in the video to the right. The Diversity Team also organizes post-secondary campus tours specifically for African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal Mikmaq students. Representatives from universities and NSCC campuses who provide support specific to African Nova Scotian andor AboriginalMikmaq students make presentations on courses financial assistance and student support on campus. African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal Mikmaq students recently visited Dalhousie University. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 4 Another recent cultural programming event specific to African Nova Scotian students was the screening of Honour Before Glory a one-hour docudrama about Canadas all-Black Battalion formed during World War I. African Nova Scotian students from 13 high schools in the HRSB attended the screening and were able to meet with the films producer and director Anthony Sherwood. As we enter the fourth and final year of our Lights Off. Green On project we continue to see significant progress in energy savings This line graph represents the total electrical consumption of the schools that have had energy project work completed to date. The total annual electricity consumption was reduced by 3368231 kWh when 2014 is compared to 2013. This equates to the annual electricity use of approximately 311 typical Nova Scotia homes The total annual electricity consumption was reduced by 3770024 kWh when 2015 is compared to 2013. This equates to the annual electricity use of 348 typical Nova Scotia homes. Goal 4 To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB 5 All totaled in the schools that have completed energy upgrades to date there has been a reduction of 7138255 kWh in electricity use. Which represents the equivalent of the yearly consumption of 658 homes. Between January and March 2016 significant lighting upgrades have been underway. Its important to note that this work will increase these numbers. When comparing January 2013 to January 2016 there was a reduction of 151536 kWh which is the equivalent of 14 homes for a whole year alone. To date Lights Off. Green On is within 1 of the original budget. By March 31 2016 72 of the 90 schools will have completed energy upgrades 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 6 Faces of HRSB Did you know This spring we awarded 116 new permanent teacher contracts 73 at the elementary level and 43 at secondary level. Congratulations to our Leadership Development Program LDP Graduates Class of 2016 These are our future leaders Leadership Development Program Welcoming Newcomers This is how students are greeted at Fairview Junior High School where many new students have been welcomed from Syria. By late spring HRSB schools will have welcomed approximately 350 new students from Syria to our classrooms.