School Performance Plan

School Performance Planning Update
École Secondaire Hugh McRoberts Secondary School
2015-2016  (Year 3 of a Three Year Cycle)

  School Context                                              Goal 1 - Literacy                                     Goal 2 - Social Responsibility

Mission Statement
McRoberts is a bilingual school where staff, students, and parents learn together in an environment of trust, support, and mutual respect.  Our purpose is to enable all learners to develop their potential, prepare for the future, and achieve their dreams.

École Secondaire Hugh McRoberts Secondary School is in the south east quadrant of the Richmond School District, adjacent to the South Arm Community Centre.  It is four kilometers from the city centre and one kilometer east of the closest shopping mall. The immediate geographical catchment area can be described as middle class; due to the French Immersion program, the school draws students to that program from all areas east of No. 2 Road and from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

McRoberts is one of two French Immersion Secondary Schools in the district.  Bridge and Whiteside are our two main elementary feeder schools - both French Immersion and English program students come from these two schools.  Our other French Immersion schools are Anderson, Mitchell and McNeely.  Some English program students come from Lee Elementary.  McRoberts is a medium-sized comprehensive dual-track secondary school, enrolling students in Grades 8 through 12.  The enrollment is currently 968 students - including 389 students in the French Immersion program and 79 International Program students.  There are 170 English Language Learner (ELL) students, with 133 of these students receiving one or more blocks of direct ELL instruction (Levels 1-4). The population of the school also includes 39 students identified as Special Needs as defined by the Ministry of Education (excluding Category P, Gifted).   65% of our students report a primary language other than English (the two predominant minority languages are Mandarin (26%) and Cantonese (13%)).

There is 1 Principal, 2 Vice-Principals and 48 full or part-time teaching staff members at McRoberts. Included are 2.43 Counselors and 1 Teacher Librarian (with a 0.57 FTE librarian allocation).  Non-teaching staff includes 3.5 Office Support Staff, 4 Classroom Assistants 1 Career Advisor (0.5 FTE), 1 Library Technician, 1 Science Technician (0.5 FTE), 3 Noon Hour Supervisors and 4.5 Custodial Staff.

- an outstanding student population achieving above the Provincial norm
- high graduation rate
- a strong extra-curricular program (music, drama, athletics, clubs)
- a vibrant French Immersion Program
- emerging strengths in supporting trades-oriented students

- mathematics and reading literacy issues in a segment of the student population
- supporting the use of technology by students and teachers given limited resources
- finding effective means to enhance student social responsibility   

Goal 1:  To increase the content reading ability of grade 8 students 

Literacy is more than just reading and comprehending texts. It includes:

  •  Strategies for thinking (ex. predicting, monitoring understanding, reflecting)
  •  Comprehension of texts (ex. finding main ideas & details, making notes, inferring)
  •  Analysis of texts (ex. making connections, evaluating)

In terms of “content reading” we are referring primarily to the ability to read non-fiction text in order to learn.  Such texts might include textbooks (e.g., science, social studies), news and magazine articles, and websites.  These skills are necessary for success across the curriculum, in grades 8 to 12 and beyond.  We are focusing this goal on our grade 8 students partly because they are new to the school and we need to understand their strengths and challenges in content reading, and partly because of the district’s Intermediate Reading Initiative, which strives to assist students with their transition into secondary school.  

Over the years, our Grade 8 Team of teachers has conducted Performance-Based Assessment tests (PBA) to grade 8 students in both English and French. From year to year, the results have shown that students could use support in finding the main idea, note making, making inferences, and making connections.  Instead of repeating this process, with the support of District staff (Rosalind Poon and Brooke Douglas) and our Literacy Leader (Julie Anne Mainville) our Grade 8 Team of Humanities teachers met to develop an inquiry question using the Spirals of Inquiry process.  The question identified was this:  How does targeted word skills instruction help students develop their awareness of the big idea? 

Performance Indicators (assessment tools being used or considered)

We will be using a locally developed performance-based assessment in the spring this school year.  This is based on work done by Faye Brownlie and on the BC Performance Standards for Reading for Information.  They are scored using a slightly modified version of the BC Performance Standards for Reading for Information.  

Teachers spend time discussing this criteria rubric and calibrating their scoring using student samples before scoring the assessments individually.  We begin as a large group using a student sample in English that we can all think through together and then break off into a French group and an English group to work through a second sample in the target language.   This year, a sampling of the French students will also write the English PBA assessment to determine if their skills are consistent across languages.

Actions Taken to Address Goal
A number of skill development areas were identified to support the growth and development of this group of students in their content reading ability (finding the main idea, note making, making inferences, and making connections).  We’d like to explore workable ways to have teachers share strategies more often and more effectively.  Our goal is also to facilitate (directly or indirectly) more co-planning and co-teaching.  We have used and plan to continue to use Collaboration time and district Innovation grants to help facilitate this.  The following strategies have been implemented or have been recommended to be implemented:

  • Explicit instruction
     Teachers have continued to provide explicit instruction in and strategies for inferring, connecting, making notes, and finding
       the big ideas and supporting details.

  • Broadening the focus of the literacy initiative at McRoberts
       Much of the work we do revolves around formative assessment, intentional planning, and explicit instruction.  Teachers
     across grades and subjects are working with these ideas to build the same student skills regardless of the subject area.

  • Helping students understand and take risks with their learning
       Spend time on metacognition.

Moving forward, we are exploring the idea of targeted intervention for our weakest students similar to Second Shot or Reading Recovery programs.  We will explore possibilities with our  Resource teachers to possibly work differently with Grade 8 teachers to support reading development.                       

Our school’s literacy goal, initiatives and progress have been discussed and revisited by staff during Collaboration days, and at departmental meetings and Educational Facilitators meetings.  Our parent and school community receive information and updates through the PAC, parent meetings and workshops, our Week at a Glance (WAAG) mini-newsletter emailed home weekly and our website.  Teachers provide instruction, feedback and communication of literacy initiatives to students on a regular basis in class, i.e. helping students to set goals and work towards improving their skills.

Goal 2:  To develop respectful relationships with all members of the school community, the neighbourhood
                   and our physical environment

Social Responsibility is an expansive term and determining a single goal, which addresses the wide range of definitions and interests within a secondary school environment, is challenging.   During professional development sessions and staff meetings, the following areas have been discussed as worthy of concerted action: punctuality, responsible hallway behaviour, digital citizenship and the need to develop a sense of personal responsibility in relationship to learning and to our environment.  Emphasis on the value of respect in relation to self, peers, staff, and the community was identified as a larger goal.  An additional focus is to expand our efforts in support of a shift in philosophy from Me to We.  With a view to addressing this list of worthy issues McRoberts will continue to focus on developing respectful relationships within the school context, in the community and in the care of our environment.

Evidence (Descriptors of respectful behaviour)
Evidence will be gathered mainly through anecdotal reports from staff and Me to We reports.  In order to provide feedback to students regarding the elements of socially responsible behaviour, a "What does RESPECT look like" chart appears in our school agenda book and is posted in every classroom and office area. The definitions of respectful behaviors are reviewed in a school wide focus during September opening via a lesson on “Respect”.  This is revisited at Grade assemblies and a common language around expectations is being developed. Social Responsibility is a focus with incoming grade 8s.

Actions Taken to Address Goal
Students and staff participated in many initiatives to support social responsibility this year:

  • McRoberts Day Keynote Addresses:  ICBC Road Safety speaker for Grades 10-11, Safe OnLine Outreach (SOLO) speaker for
      Grades 8-9 about social media and internet safety.

  • Other McRoberts Day sessions:  Richmond Cares, Make a Wish Foundation, BC Cancer Society, and
      RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society).

  • A group of Grade 12 students produced an award winning video for the Allstate's Video contest about Distracted Driving. 
      This is the third year in a row McRoberts students have entered and won a driving contest.

  • [Re]3 Project – Staff and students completed plans to redesign and re-purpose the southwest asphalt area of the school
      that will include environmental stewardship initiatives.  Presently, sources for funding are being explored.  Phase 1 has
    been submitted for consideration for the Annual Facilities Grant (AFG).

  • Interactive presentations on McRoberts Day for Grade 8 students by Safeteen.   Female students met with female Safeteen
      instructors; male students with male instructors.  The focus was on healthy relationships and positive assertiveness.

  • Our mentoring program for grade 8 students helped our newest students transition to secondary school this year.  We plan
      to continue with this strategy involving senior students paired up with incoming grade 8 students.

Communication Plan
Information about social responsibility at our school is published in the school calendar, student agenda and website.  Discussion of social responsibility definitions, initiatives and progress are discussed at staff meetings and on school based professional days.  Emphasis on respectful behaviour and relationships are discussed with students - school wide, grade assemblies, Grade 8 retreat, and in classrooms.  MetoWe, Grad Legacy, charitable fundraising and other initiatives are advertised school wide and reported in the WAAG (Week at a Glance).