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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 are we preparing for the 2016-2017 school year and beyond As we enter the final month of the 2015-2016 school year where DID that time go the system begins to shift into year-end mode. Students write final exams teachers wrap-up lessons and gather final assessments Grade 12s look to graduations and everyone looks forward to report card day June is the culmination of yet another successful year of learning and growing for students and staff. What many may not realize is that the Halifax Regional School Board has been looking beyond the end of June and into the next school year for some time. Staffing began months ago our 2016-2017 Annual Business Plan is drafted and ready for Governing Board approval next week and most recently we provided a full-day of professional learning for the revised Grades 4 to 6 streamlined curriculum. This exciting curriculum which focuses on innovation and exploration will roll out in every elementary school and across all curriculum areas throughout the province in September. It follows the provincial focus to implement a streamlined curriculum for Grades P-3 this school year. The curriculum revisions to both Grades P-3 and 4-6 are a few of the many exciting changes that have arrived in or are coming to classrooms across the province as a result of Nova Scotias Action Plan for Education 2015. The Action Plan is in direct response to what was heard from teachers parents business and community leaders and many others interested in improving public education. For more information please check out the Parent Guide. Revisions to the Grades 4-6 curriculum will maximize student learning and help ensure success for all students regardless of their age and their stage of learning. It is designed to be student-centred with a clear focus on culturally responsive teaching. You will see increased time to learn in the areas of mathematics and literacy as well as opportunities for students to engage in career readiness learning. Also there is great emphasis on learning through an innovative inquiry-based model. All school boards have identified lead teachers to support the development of this revised curricula. In this video teachers talk about the process involved in streamlining the curriculum. Every teacher who has an impact on students in Grades 4 to 6 took part in the professional development day on May 13 including administrators classroom teachers resourcelearning centre teachers as well as physical education music and core French teachers. This curriculum provides access to modern technology in supporting classroom teaching and learning. You will see more hands-on learning activities for students in computer programming creative arts science labs and collective impact projects. Students will have opportunities to continued page 2 Important Dates June 1 Ignite Your Passion for Discovery June 4 Day of Discovery June 17 20 NS Exams Grade 10 English and 10 Math June 20-22 High School Exams June 27 Assessment Evaluation Day High Schools no classes June 28 Assessment Evaluation Day P-12 no classes June 29 Last Day of School Report Cards Home Our 2016-2017 Calendar is here May 2016 develop their creativity innovation and problem-solving skills. Get ready to see all students with an introduction to the basics of coding technology and design. It will be inquiry based learning at its best Its an exciting time to be in education At both the provincial level and the school board level we are continuously adapting and adjusting the way we teach so that we are not only providing a high quality education for every student every day but we are also providing an education that is relevant to their culture their interests and their future. This months report will showcase more of the ways in which we are looking beyond this year and next to ensure that each student leaves our system equipped with the skills they need be successful contributing members of our community. Elwin LeRoux May 2016 How are we... continued Goal 1 To improve student achievement 2 We need to encourage more students to consider entrepreneurship as an attractive career choice. In order to foster this shift in thinking business and education must work together to provide students with more opportunities to learn about the world of business. By enabling our students to gain access to the experience and expertise of local business operators we can encourage the development of the attributes of successful entrepreneurs such as innovation creativity problem-solving skills personal initiative and teamwork. - Nova Scotias Action Plan for Education 2015 Is there a better way to introduce students to the world of business and entrepreneurship than to provide real-world opportunities and experiences Real-world opportunities for authentic learning opens students eyes to possibility There are countless examples of how our schools are encouraging students to think about innovation creativity problem-solving personal initiative and teamwork each and every day. Not only are we providing community-based learning opportunities through Co-op and O2 programs HRSB schools also partner with organizations such as The Learning Partnership TLP which provides public schools with access to a variety of programs to enhance learning in real-world applications. Many of our schools are involved with TLPs Entrepreneurial Adventure EA program. EA is a hands-on entrepreneurial journey designed to develop each students enterprising spirit financial literacy innovative thinking and social responsibility. Students work together to create a real business and all profits are donated to a charity of their choice. To the left is the story of a Grade six class at Ridgecliff Middle School that recently developed a business targeting dog owners. Take Our Kids To Work Day is another TLP initiative that many Grade 9 students take part in each year. This short video demonstrates what a few students from Brookside Junior High experienced. In addition to formal programs and partnerships Makerspaces are now in many of our schools. No two Makerspaces are alike The common thread is to give students a chance to create and innovate whatever they like using tools and materials they may not otherwise be exposed to. Check out the incredible creations below all made by students at the Bedford Forsyth Education Centre 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 Goal 2 To strengthen safe and inclusive school environments C.P. Allen High Schools Robotics Team is heading to NASA for an international underwater robotics competition. The team recently won the Marine Advanced Technology Education MATE Regional Competition. The team will be going to the NASA Johnson Space Centers Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston Texas on June 23 for the 2016 MATE International ROV Competition Learn more about their Robot Cygnus and all of the real-world skills team members acquired during the process in this short video. Congratulations also to members of the Eastern Shore District High School Robotics Team who won the Spirit and Determination Award and members of the Prince Andrew High School Robotics Team who won the Communications Award. How are we working collaboratively with families and schools to ensure that all students are receiving appropriate programming In response to the Ministers Action Plan for Education 2015 and the recent Individualized Program Planning IPP Review HRSBs Program Planning Specialists are working closely with schools to deepen their understanding of the Program Planning Process. The purpose is to ensure that all students are receiving appropriate programming. School teams work with families and the students themselves in order to gather valuable information about the students strengths challenges and interests. This allows for teachers to create meaningful and engaging learning experiences for each student that honour their life experiences and cultural backgrounds. Rosella Winship and Angela Thorpe are two of HRSBs Program Planning Specialists. In this video they explain the importance of collaboration between home school and community everyone who is responsible for teaching a student. Goal 3 To achieve equitable learning opportunities for all students 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 4 Why do educators have to change their thinking in order to be culturally relevant when teaching In a traditional school students are expected to adapt to the educators. In a culturally relevant school educators adapt to the students. The first step in the training to become culturally relevant is for educators to truly grasp the concept of culture and where and how they have developed their belief systems. Through training participants examine their own belief systems and the impact those beliefs can have on the successful delivery of education. Through this process educators realize and recognize their own culture and become conscious of the negative effects on student learning when they expect students to think and work as they believe they should. As Geneva Gay 2010 stated even without our being consciously aware of it culture determines how we think believe and behave and these in turn affect how we teach and learn p. 9. Part of learning to be culturally relevant is understanding that although the teachers culture may be different from students it is just thatdifferent. Through training provided by the HRSB Diversity Team both classroom teachers and school principals learn to understand their students culture and more importantly they recognize why they must value their students and their culture. Teachers and school administrators as well as Central Office staff are learning to see the great strengths that students come to school with each and every day and use that as an avenue to teach. Through culturally relevant training educators also examine documented root causes of low academic success of students of African descent to understand that the basis for low achievement is not because of students race socio-economic status or geographical area. These do not determine a childs ability to learn what educators believe about children does As part of culturally relevant training educators challenge their assumptions of students that have been labelled disengaged unmotivated to learn or incapable of succeeding. As Gay 2010 stated test scores and grades are symptoms not causes of achievement problems p. 17. Culturally relevant teachers understand and expect each of their students regardless of race culture socio- economic status andor geographical area has the ability to meet grade level outcomes or above. Culturally relevant teachers know each and every student comes to school with knowledge language and skills all of which must be valued and appreciated. When students know that the knowledge they bring to school their everyday lived cultural experiences and the way they learn is valued and reflected every day in the classroom learning begins. Hear how some HRSB teachers and staff have changed their beliefs about students as a result of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy training in this video. Goal 4 To build engagement support and confidence in HRSB 5 How are we helping school communities understand why its necessary to go through the School Review Process One of the great challenges for many public organizations is the maintenance of aging infrastructure. This is what the HRSB is currently facing. More than half of our schools are 50 or more years old and the number of students enrolled in our schools continues to decline. As a result we are paying to maintain school space that isnt being used. We know we need to make significant changes. We need to engage communities in meaningful conversations about the future of our schools and the opportunities that exist. This is done through the School Review Process. Currently we have two reviews underway in the North End of Halifax and in Eastern Passage. To help school communities understand why its necessary to go through the School Review Process and why we are asking for their involvement in decision-making we created this video below. New Literacy Strategy On May 20 the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development EECD announced its first-ever literacy strategy. The 3.2-million investment will provide 24 Reading Recovery teachers nine literacy leads and 28 literacy mentors across the province. Of that HRSB will receive 10 literacy coaches two literacy leads and enough funding for 15 additional elementary schools to receive Reading Recovery support. The strategy will increase focus on teaching reading and writing and developing oral communication skills. It will also help teachers bring literacy learning into all subjects and grades and give students stronger supports in the classroom. Read the Nova Scotia Provincial Literacy Strategy. 33 Spectacle Lake Drive Dartmouth N.S. B3B 1X7 902.464.2000 6 Faces of HRSB SeeWhatImLearning Catch a glimpse of what HRSB students are learning HRSBpd Find out what staff is learning Milestone Awards On May 19 HRSB honoured its long-serving staff members at a Milestone Reception. Congratulations to all of our Milestone recipients Special thanks and recognition to our four longest serving employees Gail Langille received her 45 year pin Audrey Jandreau Sheila Kristiansen and Catherine Murphy each received their 40 year pins. Photo Superintendent Elwin LeRoux and 45 year employee Gail Langille. Gail is currently the Principal of Harry R. Hamilton. CPA Teacher Wins Physics Award Skills Canada - Nova Scotia HRSB Student Ambassadors Congratulations to CPA teacher Steve Greer Mr. Greer recently won the 2016 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School Physics for the Atlantic provinces Well done Check out this Skills Canada - Nova Scotia SCNS commercial spot promoting the upcoming Skills Canada National Competition and highlighting Team Nova Scotia members Meagan Brown and Levi Marshall. Meagan and Levi won a silver medal in TVVideo Production at nationals last year and are currently HRSB Grade 12 students. They are great ambassadors for NS and SCNS The national competition will be held in Moncton on June 6 and 7 where students will explore careers in skilled trades and technologies. ThanksPassItOn Its that time of year again Check out ThanksPassItOn to see how HRSB students staff and school communities are sharing their gratitude.