Principal of GSS
Each year, our school creates a growth plan which involves looking at all of our school data and asking ourselves questions such as “What new ideas do we have that we believe will make a difference for student learning? What does research show about practices that will enable our students to reach their learning goals? What is the best that could happen for our students? What do we notice about our students’ achievement in literacy and other key areas toward graduation?” After much thought and discussions last spring involving staff and our School Planning Council, we decided upon four goals for the 2012-13 school year.
Literacy – For all Grade 8-9 student in the regular program currently not at grade level to be at grade level by the end of their Grade 9 school year; for all students currently at grade level to be achieving 60 per cent or better on the Grade 10 English Provincial Exam (research shows that when students achieve 60 per cent or better on the English Grade 10 Provincial Exam, they go on to graduate from high school).
How will achieve this goal? We will increase our use of descriptive feedback (more on this to come in another article!) for assignments involving reading and writing so that students have a better of how they can improve their work.
At-Risk Students – To reduce the risk factor of students from ’10 or greater’ to ‘less than 10’, thus moving them off the list of at-risk students. We determine students’ risk factor by using a computer software program that tabulates data from a number of areas to produce a risk factor (i.e. marks, attendance, work habits, etc).
How will achieve this goal? We will develop personalized academic plans with increased supports for individual students who are identified with a risk factor of 10 or greater.
Pursuing an area students are passionate about – During our course selection process in February 2013, 15-20 of our senior students will choose an independent studies course option for the following year. Our goal for the future is to have 50% of our students choosing this option during their senior years.
How will we achieve our goal? We will have all of our Grade 8 and 9 students take one Independent Study term elective so that they develop an awareness of the potential of this option for their future course options.
Math – For all Grade 8 and 9 students to be at grade level in Math by the end of their Grade 9 school year.
How will we achieve our goal? We will create a math support block with a Math Specialist Teacher and students at-risk in the area of math will take a term of math support in addition to their regular math block.
For a complete understanding of our School Growth Plan, please visit our website at www.sd6.bc.ca/gss
In addition to these four school goals, each department looks at how their students are doing to develop a goal for the year. The following is a summary of these departmental growth plans.
Science – All students will improve their depth of understanding and quality of wring lab reports specifically in the introduction, hypothesis and conclusion (formative assessment will be used including detailed comments)
English – All English students will show improvement on the six point writing scale in the area of ‘dress-ups’ and ‘sentence openers’ (use of descriptive feedback, targeted editing and revision)
Social Studies – To move students beyond textbook comprehension to promote greater engagement and higher level thinking skills (use of hands-on, creative projects that challenge students to synthesis, evaluate, and create new meaning using the content in response to important questions)
French – All French Immersion students will accurately conjugate verbs when speaking French; All FSL students will use good pronunciation when speaking French (use of seven step oral program from Intensive French strategies for FSL classes and use of transmission grammar program for French Immersion students)
Math – Students will be interested in learning concepts and improving their skills as a step towards their future goals and do their practice problems because they see the value of practicing in order to perfect skills (clarifying learning outcomes, field trips to connect course content to careers/businesses in town)
Elective Courses – All students will be focused on learning during activity based classes without using cell phones during class for personal reasons (teach and reinforce cell phone etiquette).
We are already working on these goals during the 2012-13 school year and then examining our results at the end of the year. Student Achievement is indeed our number one goal at Golden Secondary!