Lorna Jackson Public School Blog

New frontiers for new learning

Category Archives: School Improvement Plan (SIP)

Three months

We have now completed our first three months of the school year and already have much to celebrate thanks to excellent focus and initiative by our students, staff and community, including:

welcoming our Elder’s Mills community to our team

The launch of our school touchstone

– Sharing a redesigned Learning Commons

Launching our Green Bin program through our school’s Eco Team

Implementing new technologies into our classrooms and classroom programs

Meeting with parents and guardians to review student’s Progress Report Cards

Our staff exploring professional learning in many ways

Starting to plan for the transition of our grade 8 students to high school

Starting our Roots of Empathy programs

Recognizing Bullying Awareness week

Starting our Healthy Snack program

We have developed a focused start in our classroom programs in the areas of academics, athletics and the arts.

We have had the chance to recognise the work of various employee groups at our school including: our Designated Early Childhood Educators, our care taking team, Educational Assistants and our Administrative Assistants.

Our staff have provided several student leadership and extra curricular opportunities such as our Cross Country Team, The sign language club, library and office helpers, the student Tech Team, our Eco team, Student Council, Boys’ and Girls’ Volleyball, Floor Hockey intramurals, homework club, Lunch room helpers, and our Positive Climates for Learning Committee.

As school community we have given back through our Terry Fox Walk, The Count Me in Project, and our local food bank drive.

We also appreciate the work of our school council with our school this year. Their upcoming Dance-A-Thon will take place on December 13, 2013 and will surely be an enjoyable event. Remember that all parents and guardians are welcome to our meetings. Future meetings will be: January 14, 2014, February 20, 2014, April 22, 2014 and May 29, 2014.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Three short months…

remember when it was only 3 short weeks?

Remember when I asked us to write our story?

How do you think we have done so far?

Onward.

Mr. Collins

Bullying Awareness Week

November 17 – 23 marks the fourth annual Provincial Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.  YRDSB schools are engaged in anti-bullying work throughout the school year.  This week however, our school has a specific focus on bullying prevention. I want to thank our Positive Climates for Learning Committee (that includes our Safe Schools Team) that includes students, staff and parent members, who have helped to shape the week’s events. Our work this week includes:

– Announcements from the team

– A poster contest that each class is participating in with key messages

– Work with York Region Police with an emphasis on cyberbullying

– sharing by classes at our Wednesday Good News Assembly with a focus on anti-bullying and inclusion

– work in individual classrooms to support student learning

Finally, our school touchstone continues to be a source of reflection including our focus area this month: we are respectful of others and of ourselves.

This week, your family will also receive copies of the YRDSB Anti-Bullying Strategy and the YRDSB Fair Notice Brochure that also support our work at our school. 

Educational Assistants and the work they do

This year, we are fortunate to have four Educational Assistants assigned to our school. Educational Assistants support our school’s work and the work as outlined in our board’s Special Education Plan. We have two special education assistants: Ms. Kim and Ms Massaro. We also have two Child and Youth Workers: Mr. Van Horne and Ms McKenzie. Each staff member brings different skill sets to our school, but the overall work remains the same: supporting all of our students to improve student achievement, success and well bring.

Our educational assistants hired by our Board are also trained in a number of ares including:
– Working as part of a school team;
– Behaviour management, de-escalation strategies, and developing safety plans;
– Supervision of students;
– Physical care of students;
– Health and safety of staff and students;
– Accommodations for students with special education needs.

Our educational assistants work in different classrooms and assist with yard supervision throughout the day. This year, all four of our educational assistants are new to our team. Both Ms Bongard and myself have been so impressed with how they have quickly become active members of our school community and have supported our school improvement plan so readily. We appreciate the hard work they do for all of our students each day. We also want to thank them for attending our Meet the Staff event at the beginning of the month.

If you haven’t had a chance to meet our Educational Assistants yet, please do. Feel free to introduce yourself to them at either the beginning or end of our school day.

Mr. Collins & Ms Bongard

Learning: it’s everywhere.

Used with permission under Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/heycoach/1197947341

Used with permission under Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/heycoach/1197947341

We sometimes think of learning as “something that students do”. This week, I also want to share some of the professional learning our staff engages in both inside and outside of our school. The scope of that learning is very wide so I won’t be able to capture every opportunity here, but want to share a few examples with you.

Many of our staff take courses that lead to additional qualifications or certification including: workshops, online courses, conferences, Additional Qualification courses and training sessions. Lots of our staff enjoy reading as a means of professional development that includes: professional books, magazines, publications from professional organizations, and scholarly articles. Staff use online opportunities for learning including: websites, online chat rooms, twitter professional learning teams and e-learning modules. Finally, many of our staff participate in face-to-face learning opportunities such as: after school workshops, book studies, learning networks and even visiting host schools or classrooms. Last weekend, some of our staff participated in our board’s Google Camp  that brought together over 500 staff from across our board.

This year, as an administrative team, Ms Bongard and myself are also supporting job embedded learning opportunities for teams of staff to work collaboratively. So far, three teams have met in teams that have also included our school’s Literacy Teacher and Teacher-Librarian, teachers, Ms Bongard and myself. We have made a commitment to meet early in the year, learn, implement our learning and thinking in our classrooms and then reconvene 6-8 weeks later to monitor our work. We work through a cycle of determining student learning needs, planning, teaching, assessing, evaluating student progress and assessing overall results. It is complex work, but Ms Bongard and myself must say, the sessions so far have been rich. We appreciate the staff’s commitment to building professional learning communities at our school.

Finally, you may wonder what happens on Professional Activity Days that occur throughout the year. This Friday for example, our school will focus on our School Improvement Plan. Our Director, Ken Thurston shared a number of key ideas for our work this year in his annual address at our board’s leadership conference that will also help to frame our work Friday. We will also spend time working in teams, exploring Learning Goals and Success criteria to support student achievement, exploring the questions we ask within our math lessons, planning for differentiation within our work, developing our school’s  “Challenge of Practice” (more to come on this) and examining some new resources we have purchased as a school. And so, the day too will be rich.

One final way we often don’t think about is the learning that happens with students each day. We love the times when, be it a lesson, task or discussion, we learn from and with our students.

Again, it is difficult to capture the wide variety of ways that our staff engages in learning. Perhaps it is best to say “learning, it’s everywhere”.

Please let us know about the learning you engage in.

Mr. Collins