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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_OfficialJoin the conversation on Twitter Providing high quality education for every student every day. How are we working toward creating a system where each learner finds success Two years ago I committed to making the academic achievement of African Nova Scotian and First Nations learners the top priority in the Halifax Regional School Board. After thoroughly examining achievement data across the system it became clear that we had to shift the way we were teaching so that each student is receiving a high quality education every day and so that each student could find success in school. We have been working toward building an understanding of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy CRP throughout our system. CRP is the strategy we are using to achieve our priorities. Teachers and administrators are learning to see and value the knowledge and experiences of our students as strengths strengths that can be reflected in the way we teach. As a system we are gaining an understanding of how to create learning experiences that are authentic and relevant to students every day lives. Currently HRSBs Diversity Team is providing professional development for teachers and school administrators across our system in the implementation of CRP. For CRP to affect each student its critical that all central office staff who support schools have an understanding of CRP. Math and literacy leaders coaches and support teachers school administration supervisors and human resources mangers have already received this PD. At the end of April the team will deliver professional learning to all 136 HRSB principals. Under Goal 3 of this report HRSB teachers who are using culturally responsive practices share their thoughts on why there is no better way to educate students. As we continue on our journey to create a system where each learner finds success we face challenges. Recent assessment results for junior high did not suggest that students of African descent are meeting with success in math and literacy. The week these results were made public we held a professional development session for junior high principals that examined strategies to help set students up for success in advance of the upcoming provincial assessments. These are the types of interventions we use as challenges arise. You can learn more about this type of professional learning under Goal 1. As part of Goal 4 changes to our Getting to Great Survey are outlined. Questions have been added to address how school-based staff members no matter their job description play an important role in setting a positive and nurturing environment for students. More participation from a broader range of people gives us a more accurate picture of whats happening in our schools and how we can do better. All of these changes are building towards meaningful change that is reflected in student achievement Important Dates May 13 PD Day P-12 no classes May 23 Victoria Day no classes April 2016 results especially for African Nova Scotian and First Nations learners. Are we there yet We are certainly moving in the right direction. Change takes time. Innovation is messy. Engagement of teachers and students is key. When the day comes that each student in our system is finding success at school well then ask ourselves how we can make their experiences even more meaningful. Until then we will continue doing whatever it takes to create a system that embraces the differences and life experiences of each child and provides an education that builds upon their strengths. Elwin LeRoux April 2016 2 How are we addressing the gap in achievement results for African Nova Scotian students On March 31 professional development was provided to all junior high principals with a focus on our priority to increase academic achievement of our African Nova Scotian learners. This session focused on results of the recent provincial Grade 8 literacy and math assessments including urgent concerns regarding the disaggregated results for African Nova Scotian students reviewing the assessment itself and discussing strategies to help prepare teachers to work with students for improved results on upcoming provincial assessments which will be held between May 24 and June 3 2016 and creating a school specific action plan. Using information from PowerSchool principals learned to disaggregate their own schools data to gain a greater sense of where their African Nova Scotian learners are in terms of meeting curriculum outcomes. They also looked at strategies to help set their students up for success on provincial assessments. In groups principals examined which outcomes the province will be assessing and samples of what the questions on the assessment will look like. They also took time to discuss the areas that needed improvement in their individual schools as well as for individual students. In addition each principal committed to developing an action plan for their school as a strategy to work with their teachers to create a successful assessment environment where every student knows what is expected of them. These plans contained details about how to share information with staff as well as specific strategies and interventions that will support all learners. School administration supervisors will assist principals to carry out their plans. Goal 1 To improve student achievement Building relationships influences everything within the school community. This can change school climate for the better. HRSB Junior High Teacher 2016 Shout out to HRSBs Math Coach Blog Dan Meyer a well-known North American math educator recently gave a nod to HRSB Math Coaches Erick Lee and Kelli Zincks new math blog Way to go Shout out to HRSBs Math Coach Blog Dan Meyer a well-known North American math educator recently gave a nod to HRSB Math Coaches Erick Lee and Kelli Zincks new math blog Way to go How can a restorative approach transform a school and its community We asked students teachers and the principal at John Martin Junior High that question. Their response in this video is tremendously powerful. Since February Safe Schools Consultant Kendra Lindala and School Administration Supervisor Richard Derible have been providing professional development PD to five junior high schools across HRSB. More than 110 teachers have taken part in full-day PD around building relationships and understanding a restorative approach RA in a school setting. Ongoing support and learning will continue at each of the five schools. Overall these schools are excited and interested in building the model into their community. Schools view this as an approach to strengthen safe and inclusive school environments between students staff community and the curriculum. The new provincial School Code of Conduct supports a model of prevention and intervention which is part of the philosophy of RA. Why junior high This is a time in students lives when they are seeking a voice. Its a time in their lives when its critical that we increase their connectivity to learning and to the school community. As a result we continue to support the development of social and emotional learning and RA aligns nicely to junior high. HRSB will continue to support staff learning and provide leadership to support the implementation of a restorative approach in the upcoming school year. One of the students featured in the video recently felt compelled to share her voice about her school community on social media. It was picked up by CBC Nova Scotia. Click on the photo to view the story. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Goal 2 To strengthen safe and inclusive school environments 3 Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students How are we implementing Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in HRSB schools HRSBs priority is to improve academic achievement for African Nova Scotian and First Nations learners. The strategy we are using to accomplish this goal is to implement Culturally Relevant Pedagogy CRP. Geneva Gay defines CRP as using the cultural characteristics experiences and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching them more effectively 2002 p. 106. Through culturally relevant instruction teachers are learning how to use their knowledge of students everyday lived experiences what they know and how they know it as the avenue to teach the learning outcomes. The first step in the implementation is to understand what culture is and its impact on student learning. Geneva Gay 2010 uses the following definition to describe culture a dynamic system of social values cognitive codes behavioral standards worldviews and beliefs used to give order and meaning to our own lives as well as the lives of others Delgado-Gaitan Trueba 1991 as cited in Gay 2010 pp. 89. Our culture represents our beliefs values and perceptionsthe things we consider to be our norms. When asked where did you get your norms most people respond with the following from my parents how I was raised or from my community. Just as we the educators have our normsour culture so do our students. It is very important that as the adults we do not expect students to think and work as we did. What is normal for us may not be the same in the communities we teach. Once we have a clear understanding of what our culture is and take the time to learn our students culture we can begin the journey of being culturally relevantusing that culture to build culturally relevant instructional activities. Find out what Culturally Relevant Pedagogy means to these HRSB teachers in this video. 4 5 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca Learning Through Green Screening Grade 2 students at Dutch Settlement Elementary School have become pen pals with a Grade 2 class in Trochu Alberta. Students wanted to share parts of Nova Scotia with their pen pals and used green screening to create a video exploring the province Check it out HRSB Teacher Presents at Discovery Educations VirtCon Congratulations to John W. MacLeod teacher Erica Phillips who was selected to present at Discovery Educations VirtCon in Washington this month VirtCon is a bi-annual conference that brings the Discovery Education Community from around the globe together to hear cutting-edge keynotes to be inspired by thought-provoking presentations and to participate in engaging discussions. Erica made a presentation on Teacher Engagement. You can watch her presentation here. Welcome to Primary Last month we shared a few videos featured in our new 2016-2017 Welcome to Primary kit. Check out the full booklet HTSE Winners Three HRSB students participating in the Halifax SciTech Expo HSTE have earned themselves a spot at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Montreal in May. Congratulations Fiona Ewart Grade 9 Gorsebrook Junior High Emily Rafuse and Julia Sampson Grade 8 Elizabeth Sutherland Junior High. Well done Goal 4 To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB 6 School Reviews The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development introduced a new school review policy in 2013. In December the Governing Board approved two school reviews to take place one to address the creation of the new Eastern Passage High School and accompanying family of schools and the other involving five schools in the North End of Halifax within the Citadel High Family of Schools. Both School Option Committees SOCs are now engaging the community in important conversations about the schools. These conversations are not only happening at public meetings theyre also happening on social media. The SOC for the school review happening in the North End are using the Twitter account northendschools Heres an example of what some of the conversation looks like Here are some examples of the conversations happening on Twitter around the Eastern Passage review using the hashtag EPSOC2016 The engagement process directly supports Goal 4 as better decisions are made when more people are engaged in the process from start to finish. Recommendations from both SOCs are expected to come before the Governing Board in the next few months. Click here for more information. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 7 Getting to Great Survey Our Getting to Great Survey is live until April 29 This year we have added questions that pertain to ALL school staff. We know that every person in a school no matter their job description plays an important role in setting a positive and nurturing environment. More participation from more people gives us a broader picture of whats happening in our schools and how we can do better. Nova Scotias Action Plan for Education The 3 Rs Renew Refocus Rebuild has four pillars in which a commitment has been made to make fundamental changes. Pillar 3 is Inclusive School Environments. It states In addition to academic and teaching excellence our schools need to lead the way as places of tolerance respect and personal responsibility. We need to accommodate differences celebrate diversity and show respect for students and adults p. 26. In previous years survey questions in relation to the learning environments in our schools were asked of students parentsguardians and classroom teachers only. We recognized that we were not including some very important members of our school communities and know that we need to hear their voices. For this reason we opened the survey to a broader audience. Groups included this year for first time School support staff caretakers custodians School secretaries Student support staff Library Support Specialists Educational Program Assistants Early Childhood Educators Student Support Workers Community Outreach Workers Non-teaching Casual Staff EXCEL staff lunch monitors Specialist teachers music physical education visual arts core French English as an Additional Language resource learning centre etc. Principals and Vice Principals non-teaching Participants were invited to answer the following questions Participants also have an open-ended question option at the end of the survey to provide additional information. Thank you to everyone who has participated in this years survey Goal 4 continued I try to ensure that families and community members feel welcomed at my school. People from diverse races and cultures are actively involved in my school. Students treat every staff member with respect. I experience discrimination at my school. My school is a safe place. I am treated unfairly compared to other school staff because of my culture or race. I find my work challenging in a positive way. I am proud of the work that I do. My work inspires me. I am enthusiastic about my work. Welcoming Students Citizenship and Immigration Canada recently released this video about how Halifax West High School helps newcomer youth learn Canadas official languages and adapt to Canadian society. Highland Park Junior High Wins a Makerspace Education Week 2016 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth NS. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 www.hrsb.ca 8 Congratulations to HRSB recipients of 2016 Education Week Awards This years theme for Education Week was Media Literacy Empowering Critical Thinking in a Digital Media World. Photo L-R Superintendent Elwin LeRoux Lynda LeBlanc William King Elementary Lorna Bennett Park West School Shannon Patterson Prince Andrew High School and Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Karen Casey. Watch the videos below to hear more about how each recipient is empowering students to think critically in a digital world. Congratulations to students and staff at Highland Park Junior High they won a Makerspace for their school through Mindshare Learning after submitting this video Only three schools in Canada received a Mindshare grant Well done Highland Park What does this mean for students and their learning Find out from students and their teacher in this video