Goal 1: To improve student achievement How can a restorative approach to literacy instruction improve student engagement at the high school level? Just ask Lara Fawthrop and Alison Walker! In December, Lara, who is an English teacher at Sackville High, invited Alison, a high school literacy coach, into her classroom. Each with their own strengths and strategies for rich instruction, they partnered to combine their most effective practices to engage students in literacy. Lara and Alison used a variety of facilitation techniques that are key fixtures of a restorative classroom: a common meeting area, having the opportunity to pass when sharing, inside-outside circles, and most importantly, an emphasis on student voice. What they discovered, was that taking a restorative approach creates a safe and inclusive environment that allows each and every student, even the most reluctant, to participate and to be heard in a way they feel most comfortable. This maximizes student learning. Lara has been taking a restorative approach to instruction in her classroom for eight years and facilitates the adoption of the approach in HRSB schools as well as schools across the province. HRSB’s Safe Schools Division currently supports 16 junior high schools who are in the process of adopting a Restorative Approach. Over the past three years, the Safe Schools Division has provided professional development on restorative pedagogy to 242 junior high teachers and administrators. What are the early impacts of the lengthened instructional day for students in Grades Primary to Two? As of September 2017, the instructional day for early elementary students was increased to 300 minutes per day. Previously, students in Grades Primary to 2 were dismissed 30 minutes prior to other students. This change brings HRSB into alignment with other boards across Nova Scotia. This 30 minutes equates to an additional 93 hours – or more than 18 instructional days – for students in P-2. Not only are students in these grades now exposed to more time to learn, especially in math and literacy, they, along with students in Grade 3, are receiving an extra 30 minutes of physical education each week. This has been a significant change for elementary schools, and it hasn’t come without some challenges. However, teachers’ and administrators’ willingness to adapt in order to provide the best learning opportunities for our youngest students is impressive. Thanks to all staff members in our elementary schools for stepping up! What are some of the early insights from this change to the instructional day? Find our what staff and students at Waverley Memorial Elementary School have to say in this video. 3