School Focus for Enhancing Student Learning
Enhancing student learning is a focus at Thompson. In order to support our students, staff engaged in a thorough inquiry process that involved scanning their current classroom contexts for student strengths and at the same time surfaced stretches that their students may be experiencing in school.
Since starting this process in 2017, we learned that our students come to school with a positive attitude and are excited to learn and are curious about what they are learning about. Students at Thompson love to create and they are very comfortable working with others. They love to share ideas and are engaged with their peers socially. Thompson students are diverse and come from a variety of backgrounds and have differing experiences They are socially responsible(SR) and strive towards solving problems in peaceful ways.
To determine an area for enhancing student learning, staff identified areas that were stretches for their students and then shared them at a Professional Development Day in May 2017 with Mr. Cherry. A common focus emerged from discussion.
Fast forward to the 2018/19 school year, where Thompson exerienced growth in its population (increased by nearly 100 students), with new teachers, new Educational Assistants, and new administration (Mr. Juhasz). During that time, our entire staff (Classroom Teachers, Resource Teachers, Educational Assistants, and Administration) dedicated themselves to improving how we "Communicate Student Learning"(CSL), and were part of the District sponsored Student Reporting Pilot Project(SRPP). This project focussed on ways that we as a school could improve on how we assessed students in meaningful ways (connected to the revised currriculum), make the students and their parents more part of the learning and communication process (it takes a villiage), with the end-result being that students are more intentional, metacongitive (they think about their thinking) and mindful as they approach their learning.
In terms of professional development for the staff, the use of ePortfolio necesitates that we be more tech savvy. Every classroom teacher (and support staff) is using ePortfolio as a vehicle for the communication of student learning(CSL). To support this learning for staff, our staff has a steering committee called th CSL committee. The committee is comprised of technology and curricular leaders on staff, all of whom were tasked with being peer-mentors. The professional development focus has been to create a high technology tide that raises all of the boats with their colleagues, so each teacher is confident in using ePortfolio. A second layer of support is the Applied Design Skills and Technology (ADST) curriculum focus group comprised the Primary Teachers, Resource Teachers and Mr. Juhasz. This group is creating a K/1 and a 2/3 scope and sequence for tech skills, building not only capacity for staff, but also for the youngest students in the school so that they are eventually capable of performing independent tech tasks associated with their ePortfolios. In essence, not only are the students involved in an inquiry, so too is the staff. We hosted meeting for parents in both English and Chinese, and addressed our school focus monthly at our PAC meetings, emphasizing that "we're on a learning journey together." To learn more about our learning journey, use this link to connect to our February 7th school Newsletter.
The foundation for any of this to be possible is "growth mindset," and that was the impetus for us continue the thread with what we learned when we had our SR school-wide goal in 2017/18.
In additon to the SRPP Communicating Student Learning Pilot project that our whole staff (Kindergarten through grade 7) embarked up for the 2018/19 school year, we kept ties with out previous Social Responsibility school wide goal. We continued where we left off the previous year going deeper into understanding our school culture and who we are as a community. Pockets of teachers who taught similar grades were doing "growth mindset projects." Our whole staff used Deck's book titled Mindset as a resource. You can see from the "Our Learning" link, that we did school-wide projects connected to our Multi-aged Family Team activities.
This Communicatimng Student Leanring initiative has evolved into the 2019/20 year as well, extending the notion of Communicating Student Learning via the ePortfolio, whereby students have been expected to be more metacognitive (which is the reflective ability to think more deeply about their own thinking. From the student work we saw in the ePortfolios in 2018/19, our staff recongnized that we could enhance student learning further by providing more opportunuites to make thinking thinking more visible. Our inquiry was to find out if teachers and students made their teaching and learning more visible, would that enhance student learning and metacognition? This became our goal for the 2019/20 school year. Thus, each staff member was given the book titled, "Making Thinking Visible." We used this resource to learn more about teaching strategies that promoted 'Making Thinking Visible'. Please follow the 'Learning' link to see the action that the teachers took to facilitate this, and the samples of evidence of the student learning.