Recent Achievements

Supporting Non-Academic Barriers to Learning

Rocky View Schools continues to be persistent in addressing the social, emotional and behavioural needs of the whole child. In 2010/11, a Lead Psychologist was assigned the responsibility of developing a continuum of supports and services in this area, as well as coordinating a plan that would build the capacity and consistency of the Counselors and Child Development Advisors. As in previous years, RVS increased access to recreation for children and youth in their home communities through the United Way's Upstart Program. In collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters, RVS also implemented a Teen Mentoring Program at Cochrane, Beiseker and W.G. Murdoch High Schools and with their feeder schools. As well, Before and After School Care programs were implemented in five schools including RJ Hawkey, Langdon, Rainbow Creek, Bearspaw, and Nose Creek. RVS also established a divisional “Food for Thought” Working Group, comprised of internal and external members, to guide the planning, development and implementation of a system-wide school breakfast/lunch program.

Coordinating Health Services

In 2010/11 responsibility for all health related services included in the Student Health Partnership (SHP) initiative, (SLP, OT, MH, Family School Liaison Workers) was moved to RVS' Learning Support branch, which was comprised of the Early Intervention team, school psychologists and learning specialists. This move aimed to create a multidisciplinary continuum of K-12 services to better enable RVS to coordinate a wrap around service delivery required to address non-academic barriers for all students. Working closely with SHP partners, Children and Youth with Complex Need (CYCN) Initiative, Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD), and Child and Family Services Authority (CFSA), RVS also continued to build awareness of its Continuum of Service Model, which provides universal, targeted, and specialized levels of support.

Fostering Safe & Caring Schools

The safety of students, staff, and trustees continues to be a priority for Rocky View Schools. Over the past three years, satisfaction results that “students are safe at school, are learning the importance of others, are learning respect for others and are treated fairly at school” have increased from 83.8 to 85.7 percent. As well, Alberta Education’s APORI result for this measure shows Rocky View Schools (RVS) as green, representing a high measure and blue, representing significant improvement for the jurisdiction. Success in this area can be attributed to schools that continue to employ a wide array of safe and caring projects covering topics such as digital citizenship, anti-bullying, virtues, cyber safety, and peer support. At the jurisdictional level, the Education Centre implemented a new coaching program, entitled Respect in Sports, which aimed to provide all young athletes with a positive, character-building experience. RVS also was successful in implementing a division-wide emergency response plan, held two Employee Orientation Programs, a School Council Orientation Program, and a Staff Health and Wellness Program.

Building a 21st Century Learning Culture

Perhaps the most significant achievement of the 2010/11 school year was the advancement of
Rocky View Schools as a 21st Century learning organization. Through strategic efforts by leadership teams throughout our system, RVS teachers now realize the need to shift from knowledge disseminator to facilitator of knowledge construction, and many are leading their school communities in this shift. The use and development of digital resources in the classroom, policy alignment, and direct alignment with Inspiring Education is evident across the system. Student engagement also is tracking upward, from 85 percent to 87 percent, which is a critical indicator of success.

Succeed as 21st Century Learners

As illustrated through the last jurisdictional satisfaction survey, a high degree of parents, students and staff felt schools are preparing students for the 21st Century. Eighty-six (86%) percent of parents, 92 percent of staff and 83 percent of students expressed satisfaction that students are learning to become critical, creative, and complex thinkers. In relation to provincial standardized tests, students exceeded provincial results at the acceptable level in 24 of 31 specific test results. Alberta Education’s High School Completion Rates too reveal that 7 percent more students in Rocky View are attaining their high school diplomas than those from other school jurisdictions. Equally as impressive is the fact that only 2.2 percent of Rocky View students are not completing high school, as compared to the provincial average of 4.3 percent. As in previous years, Grade 12 results on Diploma Exams are exceptional. In all but one area, students outperformed their provincial counterparts. Outstanding performance was witnessed in Applied Math, Pure Math, English Language Arts 30-2, Physics 30 and Social 30-2 where RVS students exceeded provincial results by 6 to 7 percent.

Building Individual Learner Profiles

Rocky View Schools' Superintendent Working Committee on Learning made headway on the development of Individual Learning Plans in 2010/11. Last year this group focused heavily on paying attention to transitions between schools and between grades within schools to heighten the awareness and need to address continuity of learning for our students. This Committee now has to shift focus to the development of a individual learner profile and an electronic means to record and transfer those profiles among schools and classrooms. This complex work is being guided by the Provincial Approach to Student Information (PASI) Initiative, which requires individual learner profiles, jurisdictional student information systems and the province's PASI framework to interface seamlessly.

Embracing 21st Century Instructional Practices

As a framework to help maximize the success experienced by each student, schools continue to explore the concepts presented through RVS’ new learning model designed around the tenets of Understanding by Design, Universal Design for Learning, and Balanced Assessment. Presenting a pedagogical shift to teaching and learning, this model helped to expand teachers' instructional practices to include differentiated instruction, distributed learning, and assistive technology. To help accelerate this shift, several new technology-based platforms were introduced in 2010/11 to increase access to learning opportunities to reflect an “any time, any place, any path, any pace” mantra. Google accounts, which provide for student email, were launched. As well, RVS expanded the use of Plone, Moodle, Apple Wiki, Podcast Producer, Mahara, ePEARL, and video conferencing throughout the jurisdiction.

Building Capacity

Centred on the principle that building capacity increases the collective efficacy of a group to improve student learning, the Learning Department continues to work with groups of cohort teachers to foster exemplary 21st Century learning practices. Emphasizing inquiry and project-based learning, the team is helping to build capacity through the use of exemplary innovative practices, making greater use of educational technologies such as: the jurisdiction’s webportal, learning management systems such as Moodle, webinars (Elluminate) and video conferencing. A new TeacherPlus series also kicked off in the fall 2010. Through a 21st Century lens, topics and sessions to be explored in after-school hours settings include: instructional and curriculum design, planning, assessment, differentiation, creating optimal learning environments, student engagement, working effectively with parents and other stakeholders as partners, and one inclusive education. As well, RVS continued to allocate school-based and jurisdictional professional learning days in its calendar and provided professional learning sessions related to its three-year plan, such as the use of SMART boards and Google docs.

Expanding Distinct Programs

To enhance students’ success, RVS expanded the number of programming opportunities available to students. In addition to providing French Immersion and Christian programming, the jurisdiction moved its nine high schools to a common timetable to allow for the introduction of distributed learning opportunities through its weConnect program. Based on the belief that students are best served at their home school in a supervised setting where they know both students and staff and feel part of a learning community, weConnect provided students with access to a full range of courses and supports utilizing a variety of synchronous (video conferencing and Elluminate) and asynchronous tools (Moodle, email, wikis, etc). Through these platforms students connected to learners, teachers, and support staff at other school sites, opening the door to access a multitude of core and optional courses. In September, the Board also welcomed the addition of the sport performance school, Edge School, to the jurisdiction. Located in Springbank, the school offers a unique learning community where children in Grades 5-12 can pursue academic excellence, while striving to reach their full athletic potential.

Supporting Adult Learners

Supporting the belief that we are all learners, RVS' Board of Trustees approved the Terms of Reference for its new Community Learning Advisory Board, which aims to serve the programming needs of adult learners. On June 1, 2010, the Community Learning Advisory Board (CLAB) had its first official meeting and has met 4 additional times to establish procedures for the recruitment of community members to CLAB. Four community members were accepted to the board and Co-Chair positions were appointed (one trustee and one community member). On November 24, 2010, RVS Trustees were introduced to the advisory board; Alberta Advanced Education and Technology and the Community Learning Network attended this meeting to discuss the role of CLAB, as well as expectations and supports available.

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