Minutes from Our October 2016 Meeting

Co-chair Ramona called the meeting to order and circulated the agenda. A dozen people attended the meeting. The agenda was very full, so some reports were prepared in writing.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT
The principal’s report was circulated in writing. Erin provided brief updates:

  • Change in daily schedule – time frames were sent home in a notice
  • Hoping to start an after school cooking class – looking at gr’s 5 and 6 (this is now confirmed)
  • Lock-down drill completed and went well
  • Provincial assessment results sent home Wed Oct 19
  • Halloween dance Fri Oct 21 – notice sent home – gr 4-6
  • Halloween activity day on Mon Oct 31
  • Evacuation procedures meeting Wed Oct 19 – Principals gathered to discuss procedures
  • Cross country running – Bella Quinn advanced to provincials

Erin invited questions on her list. There was a question about evacuation procedures. The principals from all schools met to go through step by step procedures for evacuation to safe sites. There are very few differences between what we did here at Prince Street and the updated procedures for all schools. We have to add a few things to the classroom “go-packs” and create a “go-pack” for the office. The other thing that is new is that in the event of an off-site evacuation, the first step will be to go to the on-site locations assigned to each classroom for a fire drill. This will allow for a few more minutes to gain information, to evaluate the situation, and to assess the need to move to the off-site location.

Erin reported that she followed up with staff about parents’ concern about candy as a reward in the classroom. She asked staff to reflect on their use of candy as a first step. It has led to some good noticing and good discussions.

There was a question about Home and School responding to teacher wish list requests. We are very limited on funds this year and it might be most useful to have one or two big wishes for the school, but if staff prefers it can be put it out to the teachers to make their requests. Erin said that today, there was a meeting about budgetary requests to government to support academic initiatives. Some items would have a direct impact but are not fundable because they are not directly related to the school goals. Erin will get back to the Home and School about whether or not there is a school-wide fundable item.

There has been one inquiry from a teacher already: one grade three teacher won a draw for a Bricks for Kids session — the other grade three teacher has requested support for the same so that both grade three classes have the benefit of a session. The Home and School supports funding the second grade three classroom to receive funding for a session.

Prince Street School Goals 2016-2017

Erin was mandated to present the Prince Street School Goals. She noted that the non-academic goals around wellbeing and public confidence will be discussed at the next meeting.

Reading at Grades K-3: Every school with grades K-3 will have to have a reading goal. There are specific percentages associated with current levels and levels of increase for Prince Street School. The levels of increase are dictated by a formula. The current and target percentages were shared at the meeting but can’t be included in the public minutes due to an embargo. The data is available from Erin.

1. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades kindergarten to grade three meeting expectations in reading from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Primary Literacy Assessment. 

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient readers through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the reader’s workshop model?

2. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades four to grade six meeting expectations in writing from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Elementary Literacy Assessment.

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient writers through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the writer’s workshop model?

3. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades four to grade six meeting expectations in math from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Elementary Math Assessment. 

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient in math through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the math workshop model?

Rather than look specifically at reading comprehension, reading fluency, or other specific components of literacy, other goals have been left broad, to encourage development of actions and strategies that lead to overall improvements and overall increases in student reading achievement.

Collaborative Inquiry questions help staff to guide how the goal will be implemented and what strategies will be used in the classroom.

Prince Street has been working with workshop models — Reading, Writing and Math workshops. The workshop model uses the amount of instruction time allocated for those activities in a specific way. The “workshop” begins with a mini-lesson (8-15 minutes) on a specific topic. Then students move into larger piece (18-25 minutes) of independent practice. They are not left entirely on their own to do this, usually. The teacher might be conferencing with a student, or might work with a specific group on a specific skill while others use independent time. There is then a consolidation piece with the whole group or small groups. Implementation of the workshop model in classrooms will be crucial to fill in gaps that turn up in progress monitoring with students. Staff are learning right now about “high-yield strategies.”

The focus of the September Professional Development (PD) day was creating success criteria for students in classrooms.

There was a question about whether Prince Street students have been meeting assessment levels in increasing or decreasing numbers. 

  • Grade 6 math has seen a steady increase
  • Grade 3 writing has seen a steady decrease
  • Grade 3 reading has been fairly stable — plateaued
  • Grade 6 reading has seen a decrease as well

These results are one of the reasons we have been made eligible for the wraparound program we are in this year. The list of wraparound supports available is incredible. Access to literacy coaches and math coaches has been limited in the past: under the wraparound program, they are going to dedicate literacy coaches to our school for whole blocks of time.

What are some of the factors that have led to increase in Grade 6 math numbers, and are these transferrable? There has been a very serious amount of PD for grade six math teachers. Recently, for example, they have introduced a “pacing guide” — this outlines the order in which to teach skills to get the biggest yield. There are many check-ins and assessments and there is time to learn to use tools. It’s intense professional development.

There was a concern that the focus on Grade 6 teachers was driven by assessments without building from earlier grades towards higher levels of achievement in Grade 6. It is not the administration’s sense that the professional development is “teaching to the test.” They also said that Grade six teachers who receive extra PD are asked to share the knowledge to teacher in the earlier grades.

The premise of intense professional development is that is making teachers smarter makes students smarter.

HOME AND SCHOOL FEDERATION SEMI-ANNUAL MEETING

The 2016 Semi-Annual Meeting: Building Healthy Communities around the School is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Gulf Shore Consolidated School. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.

The focus of the semi-annual meeting is food and the resolution about supporting school lunches. Kirsty is attending but would love for another parent to go as well.

CONSULTATION ABOUT SCHOOL REVIEW PROCESS

After the last meeting, there was a public meeting to outline the consultation process that will lead to school review and school changes. The school review could result in school closures or in rezoning, or in reconfiguration of grades in a school or shifting of programs at schools, or any combination of options. The process is being led by Bob Andrews at the Public Schools Branch. He is very much in control of the data.

Some Prince Street representatives who were skeptical about the consultation process before the meeting left the meeting very confident that the process is open and the leadership is ready to listen and hear from the public. The Public Schools Branch is really interested in hearing reasonable, viable options for change. The status quo is not an option — the Minister of Education has been very clear about this.

The consultation process is open to

  • Input on factors,
  • Reasonable options for change, and
  • Implications of proposed changes that people bring forward.

The Public Schools Branch is gathering information in a number of ways.

Parents asked, is there a way we can do a very short plain language explanation of what has been discussed to this point? This would help reduce fears and misunderstandings.

Jane circulated a proposed consultation plan for the Prince Street school community.

Proposal for Prince Street Home and School Consultation about school review/school change

October 20 (tonight): In-person Home and School meeting: introduce and invite feedback on consultation plan

Following October 20: Gather opinions, ideas, and suggestions

  • A paper and on-line survey about opinions, issues, concerns. Jane is willing to design and administer this, with feedback and help.
  • A comment/suggestion box at the school (for people to drop off paper surveys or add their own comments). This would work best with encouragement and support for people to add comments to the suggestion box (asking people to jot down ideas and questions but also jotting down overheard questions and suggestions)
  • A shared Google form as another way to submit comments
  • Consultation options would be posted on Facebook and promoted other ways.

October 24: Time has been set aside for individuals, small groups and organizations to make presentations directly to Bob Andrews in Charlottetown. This is too soon to coordinate something on behalf of our whole Home and School, but individuals or other small groups are welcome to present.

November 3 Colonel Gray family of schools consultation meeting: encouragement to attend, assistance to coordinate a Prince Street contingent (car-pooling, etc.) - On behalf of Prince Street Home and School, Jane has requested that there be childcare provided at the meeting.

Following November 3: Work on drafting a written submission on behalf of the Prince Street community (parents and guardians), to be presented at the Home and School meeting in November for feedback

November 18: Deadline for surveys and comments.

November 24: Draft of Prince Street School written submission to be shared for in-person feedback at the Home and School meeting

End of November: Submission of the written notes from Prince Street School community

What we would do as a coordinated effort or a Home and School would complement and not replace input from individuals in the community, school staff (individually and collectively), and the principal. The link to submit opinions is here: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/education-early-learning-and-culture/school-review.

The Home and School approved the consultation plan -- some changes and comments are incorporated above, with thanks.

There was a really good conversation about how challenging it is to come up with specific recommendations. It is easier to talk about input and implications than viable options.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT - OCTOBER 26

We’ll collect a donation at the door (at the bake sale table). People come with their families - the event is most popular with K-3 families

Activities planned:

  • Lunchroom tables in the gym set up with board games
  • Bake sale table (Ramona to lead)
  • Dance room (Kelly to lead )
  • Karaoke room (Ramona will check with Keri about the karaoke machine)
  • Craft table (Jane to lead)
  • Let’s Talk Science demos (Heather will check if this is possible)
  • Pokemon tournament - table in the gym (not sure who said they would lead this??)
  • Heather will see if she can borrow giant Connect 4 and giant Jenga
  • Chart paper and markers and pastels and kids can come and draw (a teacher to lead?)

One more parent at each table would be great.

Note: The popcorn machine is blitzed.

We need the notice to go out tomorrow. Ramona will send it to Erin for copying, and Heather will cut it up in the morning. See everyone next Wednesday!

Ramona adjourned with thanks to all!