Recent Achievements

Social Emotional Needs

The Learning Support Branch efforts to promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has resulted in over 30 schools now running a variety of formal programs, including Friends, Circle of Courage, Second Step and, more recently, PMast. To build a bridge between home and school, Child Development Advisors have begun to present the myriad of programs available to school councils. As well, an online webfolder has been developed featuring SEL programming and a social media tactic is being employed by the Branch’s Lead Psychologist. To address the expected loss of funding provided through Stepping Stones ($350K/yr), the Branch also has been in discussion with community service providers, such as the Boys and Girls Club, to replace services under Stepping Stones, specific to the peer-mentoring component. To date, approximately 240 peer mentors have been identified in the jurisdiction through the Stepping Stones initiative.

21st C Competency Continua

The Superintendent Working Committee 21st C Competencies (SWC-21C) – The SWC- 21st C has met with the SWC – Learning to review the draft continua, which have been developed around the competencies featured in RVS’ Portrait of a 21st C Learner. Based on feedback received by the Learning Committee, the continua have been moved from a four-point scale to a five-point scale to align with the Committee’s Draft Gr. 1 – 8 report card, which features a progression from: beginning, emerging, progressing, advancing, and mastering. The continua are currently being piloted among schools represented on the SWC-21C, with school-based feedback to be reviewed in April 2013. In preparation for their launch jurisdiction-wide, the Communication’s Department has built an infogram for each competency and is preparing to post them to a 21st C Learning folder, along with accompanying resources, including videos, articles, and websites. The continua and the 21st C Learner folder will be publically released in September, 2013.

Online Community Engagement Database

The SWC – Community Engagement has launched an online database, entitled netWORK, to collect two-way volunteer needs/opportunities/expertise at both the school level and within RVS communities. Project deliverables are expected to increase "Community Engagement" supportive of student learning outcomes. Six RVS schools and their communities will be involved in the pilot stage of this project including: Bert Church High School, Crossfield Elementary, Nose Creek Elementary, Prairie Waters Elementary, Springbank Middle School and Springbank Community High School. The pilot will operate during the 2012-13 school year, with adjustments to be made as required. If the pilot is judged to be successful, a jurisdiction-wide launch is planned for the 2013-14 school year.

Wrap Around Services

RVS is currently participating in a series of Collaborative Service Delivery meetings with regional stakeholders to establish a vision and working model of wrap-around services in RVS. Anticipating that this work with take a full year to complete, it is hoped that a memorandum of understanding will be reached among all partners and signed off by June 2013.

K-8 Standardized Report Card

The Superintendent Working Committee (SWC) – Learning has developed standardized report cards and a reporting process for all K - 8 schools, which will be piloted in 2013/14 and made mandatory beginning 2014/15. In addition to including an evaluation of students' academic performance, the report card will see parents provide with an assessment of their child's 21st C competencies skill development. The reporting process will see teachers, students and parents engage in the development of an online learner profile, student portfolios and student-led conferences. Next year the Committee intends to standardize a reporting process and tools for students in Grades 9 – 12.

Global Stewardship

An ad hoc committee, comprised of 15 staff and one parent, has formalized a partnership with the Alberta Council for Environmental Education (ACEE) to implement a global stewardship action plan in RVS, based on the foundational work of the ACEE. In launching the plan, the committee plans to deliver a series of Global Leadership Clinics in the fall – possibly November 8-10, 2013, with the intent of signing on schools to become a part of the jurisdictional plan. This spring the Committee will begin to build an online repository of eco-friendly resource materials to help guide schools in becoming effective global stewards. The Committee also is hoping to celebrate environmental practices via the Learning Department’s Celebration of Learning video format in the fall.

Inquiry-Based Champions

RVS’ 21st C Learning Specialists have been working with over 35 school-based inquiry champions/teams of champion in cross-school collaborative inquiry projects units, focused on fostering student engagement and helping teachers develop an understanding of RVS’ instructional design framework through ongoing support. Interest and momentum of this initiative continues to grow both internally and externally, as evidenced by the establishment of a Community of Practice funded by Alberta Education to undertake an Eco Inquiry Project, as well as the partnership of the Calgary Science School to undertake two inquiry projects on environmental stewardship and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Universal Learning Environments

Collaborative professional learning meetings continue to pull together school-based ‘Learning Coaches’ to build common understanding of the Learning Department’s vision for Universal Learning Environments. Based on the Collaborative Action Research Model of Martine Pellerin (2012), these meetings have been providing coaches with the opportunity to engage in collaborative dialogue and reflection with one another, as well as with RVS’ 21st C Learning Specialist and six University partners. With the loss of AISI funding, a new coaching model has been proposed that would see the introduction and roll out of Universal Learning Environment Coaches across the jurisdiction, beginning September 2013. Under the direction of the school principal, these coaches would be charged with assisting teachers in effectively assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous and engaging learning experiences to promote a student-centric education system. This new coaching structure was introduced and well received by school-based administrators at the March Leadership meeting; a roll-out and professional learning plan to support these coaches is now being devised.

One-to-One Learning Environments

RVS’ Director of Technology for Learning has reported that all schools now have the wireless infrastructure in place to support the launch of one-to-one environments. Progress to-date reveals that all but one high school has moved or is planning to move to a ‘Bring Your Own Device” environment by the 2013-2014 school year. A number of middle schools also have introduced BYOD to specific grade levels in their schools with plans to rollout an additional grade each year. An online Personally Owned Device (POD) environment to house education tools and resources, an implementation framework, and best practices is currently under construction. Once built, this environment also will feature both face-to-face and online professional learning opportunities related to online learning, emerging technologies, and creating personalized learning environments.

Student Information System

With RVS’ new student information system, PowerSchool, now fully implemented, the Schools Department has turned its attention to building out the student information system, as well gaining access to student information captured at the provincial level. Through a PowerSchool consultant, Intellimedia, the Department has laid plans for a number of report generation plugins to be built into the system to allow schools to capture and analyze data sets that would enhance the understanding of individual learner and group learner needs. It also has entered into an agreement with Alberta Education to gain access to PASI information on an as-needed basis, possibly beginning as soon as April 2013. The next steps in the process will be to meet with RVS’ TEAC committee to identify additional assessment tools to be employed, such as CAT 5, Insight, and SOSQ, allowing schools to dig deeper into students’ attitude, aptitude, achievement and ability.

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