Accomplishments

Implementing 21st C Competencies

A-21C At the March 2014 Levels Meetings, the Superintendent Working Committee on 21st C Competencies solicited feedback from school administrators on their teachers’ use and employment of RVS’ 21st Competency infographics and accompanying continua, released in September 2014. Overall, administrators believe these educational resources have positioned schools well to address Alberta Education’s vision for education, as summarized through the “Three E’s” of education – engaged thinker, ethical citizen, and entrepreneurial spirit. The 13 schools implementing RVS’ Communication of Student Learning new K-8 report card were credited as having the most experience in applying the continua to map out student progress, while those schools not involved maintained varying levels of awareness and use. Recommendations of the Committee outlined the need to create exemplars of evidence, to scaffold the continua for each division level using age appropriate language, and to offer professional learning for teachers to become more familiar with each competency..

Advancing Social Emotional Learning

In April, RVS receive word that funding for its Mental Health Capacity Building project, Stepping Stones, would be renewed for the school years 2014/15 – 2016/17. Under the new funding agreement, revenue for the program’s addictions counsellor was lost. However, the Learning Support Branch anticipates replacing this service with programming offered through Alberta Health Services. To expand some services to all high schools in RVS, the Branch has applied for an additional $40 K, with approval hoped for the fall. The Branch also continues to deliver a wide array of social emotional learning training programs. The total number of staff trained in MANDT, a behavioural de-escalation program, reached 236 – 42 more since March 2014. This spring, three workshops were offered for parents on Internet Safety, Grief and Loss, and Anxiety, attracting 53 participants. As well, 56 teachers received training on Friends and Stan Kutcher’s Go To Educator Training.

Planning for Wrap-Around Services

A new service delivery model for the Regional Collaborative CA-SELalgary and Area (RCCA) has been finalized with three streams of services to be offered: complex needs, low incidence disabilities, i.e., hearing and vision impairment, and mental health and rehabilitation. A funding model, based on an equitable formula mirroring that for inclusive education, has been solidified to reflect these streams. Calgary Catholic has accepted the role of banker board for the RCCA and will distribute funds to each participating board in the spring and fall. The new formula is anticipated to increase funding for Rocky View, which historically has been underfunded in this area. The RCAA’s updated Strategic Plan, budget and delivery model was approved June 12, 2014, by the RCCA’s Governance Team.

Evaluating Year 1 of New K-8 Assessment Process

In April 2014, the Communication of Student Learning’s (CoSL) Project Manager instituted two surveys among the 13 schools implementing CoSL in Year One to assess the implementation of the initiative’s K to Grade 8 report cards. Designed to determine the level of parent and teacher satisfaction with the new reporting tool and to identify areas that may need to be addressed before the reports are implemented more widely, the surveys yielded a 43 percent (n=2,212) rate from parents and a 29 percent (n=108) among staff. Results show approximately 77 percent of parents believe the new report card overall helps them understand student achievement, while only 39 percent of teachers expressed overall satisfaction. To garner a greater understanding of areas where parents believe improvements could be made, three parent and three teacher focus groups were held in late-June in Airdrie, Chestermere, and Cochrane. Over the summer months, the Learning Department revised the report cards to address the concerns of parents and staff for fall implementation.

Focusing on Literacy/Numeracy

With the loss of RVS’ Literacy Coordinator in September 2013 due to budget cuts, efforts to build 21st C Literacy/Numeracy Units of Study for population on CORE were stalled, but have been renewed late spring under the leadership of RVS’ Director of 21st C Learning. Outside of building greater awareness of the draft literacy and numeracy benchmarks released through Alberta Education’s Curriculum Redesign Initiative, an action plan was laid for the fall to survey schools in order to uncover literacy/numeracy strategies being employed, as well as to identify professional learning activities to build capacity around the philosophical underpinnings of the draft benchmarks. In conjunction with the 21st C learning specialists responsible for the roll-out of RVS’ instructional design framework, the Director of 21st C also plans to embed literacy and numeracy into the design thinking process when planning for both inquiry-based and project-based learning experiences.

Celebrating Inquiry-Based Learning

A-InquiryOver the course of the year, the Learning Department identified and trained 48 inquiry champions, representing 21 schools, in the use and employment of its Instructional Design Framework. It also held two inquiry-based and one project-based learning institutes, involving 237 teachers, in collaboratively planning authentic inquiry units of study. In late June, the Department hosted a Learning Stories Video Workshop to assist 20 teachers in the production of video of their inquiry project, which they have been documenting over the course of the year. Outside of these initiatives, the Department assisted schools in celebrating their inquiry and project-based learning projects through nine exhibits of learning, e.g., Chestermere Middle’s Feb. 27 Canadian History Fair and Glenbow Elementary’s June 11 Grassland Ecology.

Ensuring High Schools are Student-Centric

In April, seven high schools submitted proposals to become a part of Alberta Education’s High School Redesign project, which is aimed at transforming the high-school experience for students through changes to school structure, culture, pedagogy, and leadership. Receiving word in late June of their acceptance, all seven schools have shaped their School Education Plans to address the foundational principles of the project, focusing on mastering learning, flexible, personalized learning environments, home and community involvement, and a balanced approach to assessment. In support of this direction, the Learning Department undertook a needs assessment to identify the professional learning needs and resources required by high schools to be successful and has developed an annual calendar of meeting dates and school site visits.

Bringing in Donations

A-Grants

As of June 13, 2014, RVS’ Grant Writer has secured 15 grants, totalling over $200,000, in support of breakfast, wellness, citizenship, environmental stewardship, and adult programming. A decision on one additional Breakfast for Learning grant, valued at $8,000, remains outstanding, while six grants totaling $266,000 were declined. Over the year, school-based grant coordinators were identified with greater attention built around school needs and schools’ grant eligibility.

 

Nurturing RVS' Use of Data

RVS’ Student Information System (SIS) Working Group, comprised of seven EC representatives and four school-based administrators, continued to meet with Intellimedia to advance its work plan to upload relevant student data to support the development of a dashboard reporting structure. Over the summer months, historical data from past provincial achievement test and diploma sittings was uploaded to the system, as will results from RVS’ SOS-Q survey. In the fall, the School Department plans to pilot a dashboard with four schools at the elementary and middle levels and two at the high school level.

Pre-Qualifying Master Teachers

The Associate Superintendent and Director of HR have been asked to sit on the Faculty of Education Program Advisory with Mount Royal and Concordia University to provide advice on pre-service teacher models and 21st pedagogy, such as instructional design. Two RVS representatives also have been invited to sit on Mount Royal’s Teacher Assistant Advisory Committee to help shape the University’s program offerings for teacher assistants. The Department is hoping to establish a model for admissions and service delivery, whereby practicum teachers would be assigned to a pre-qualified “master teacher” in the jurisdiction. Pre-qualification would see RVS teachers apply to become part of a screened pool identified through panel interviews with Education Centre and school-based administrators. The Department hopes to have the pool established in the 2014/15 school year.

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