As mentioned, our staff underwent an administrative change (with all new administrators over in just over 14 months), and, as such, we have taken this opportunity to step back from the plans shared last year. The new administrative team has spent the last few months observing, asking “good questions,” and collecting data to best formulate what our school stakeholders believe should be the plans moving forward. Staff were provided formal and informal opportunities (directly and indirectly) through meetings and anonymous surveys to provide feedback identifying areas for school growth. Student voice was a very important part of this process. In the latter part of last year, student focus groups conducted an exit survey, sent to our most recent graduates a few months after graduation. More recently, at a Professional Development Day, we held a "World Cafe," where we invited over 50 students to participate in our professional learning by being a part of many open-ended discussions about teaching, learning and our school. Both the surveys and the World Cafe revealed some areas that will serve as a focus for our school improvement. Since the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning (FESL) will emphasize “school-wide” areas, some of these other areas for growth will become the focus of smaller groups or departments within our school.
These areas include:
- Creating a great focus on Career Education and Career Development - in the process, creating the most appropriate delivery model for Career Life Explorations and Career Life Connections within the McRoberts context
- Continuing our work with Core Competencies and the “hidden curriculum” (and the extremely important “soft skills” and/or emotional competencies)
- Continuing to create stronger connections between students and staff
While we will explore and work on all of these listed and more, our FESL focus will be on how we as a school Assess, Evaluate, and Report. Though we are in the beginning stages of this project, our hope is continue our alignment with the “new” curriculum documentation and the subsequent ministry “Framework for Classroom Assessment.” As we continue to work through the many changes brought about with this new curricular framework, we will need to ensure our assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices are aligned, consistent, and well communicated.
Why assessment, evaluation, and reporting? In many ways, it can be argued this is the essential key to ensuring that the focus of our work at schools is on student learning. Without accurate, consistent, and well communicated assessment and evaluation, it is difficult to know with a high degree of accuracy how well our students are performing with respect to identified curricular and core competencies, as well as what to do next when it is clear that some students may not be able to meet these competencies
While we believe our current practice is strong, we know that this is an important area of focus for this and any school to undertake.