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Teacher teams will help improve academic excellence: plan

Chinook's Edge School Division aims to "meet each and every student where they are at," associate superintendent says
MVT stock Chinook's Edge building front
Karyn Barber, the school division's associate superintendent of system services, wrote a three-year plan after compiling input from the various stakeholders. File photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL — Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) trustees have approved the 2021-2024 education plan, setting out academic, social emotional well-being, as well as career targets and goals.

The plan was prepared with contributions from trustees, central office leaders, school administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and others.

It is designed to provide stakeholders with goals and objectives to enhance educational opportunities for students. 

The plan sets out three overall goals: academic excellence; social emotional well-being; and career connections.

Karyn Barber, the school division's associate superintendent of system services, wrote the three-year plan after compiling input from the various stakeholders.

“We truly believe that within each of those three goals, we are able to support student learning from pre-K to beyond Grade 12,” Barber told The Albertan.

For academic excellence, the plan's target is to have 93 per cent of CESD students reading at or above grade level. 

As well, 100 per cent of students will meet the acceptable/satisfactory standard, and 25 per cent of CESD students will achieve the standard of excellence/proficiency on grade level assessments, and the achievement gap seen in Indigenous students will be eliminated.

Strategies to achieve academic excellence will include having Grade 1-9 students write diagnostic, standardized assessments in reading, writing and mathematics to determine level of ability and inform teaching practice.

“Teacher teams will then analyze student data and put necessary interventions in place,” the plan states. “Teachers, parents and student will work together in creating an academic plan to support students unable to achieve at grade level.

“Teachers and school teams will accommodate, adapt and modify content where appropriate to ensure students can reach their highest academic potential. Effective use of technology will be embedded into instruction, assessment, and student learning.”

The plan will also see K-12 flexible learning options made available for students unable to attend full-time in the regular classroom.

“Academic excellence is really the core work of what we do at our division; supporting every child to reach their highest level of achievement in every class,” said Barber. 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s core class or an option class or passion area — you never know which learning opportunity could open doors to future careers or lifetime opportunities.”

With respect to the career connections goal, the target is for 60 per cent of students to transition to post-secondary (education) within six years of Grade 10, and that 90 per cent of students will achieved three-year high school completion.

Strategies there include having high school career teams “identify strategies that positively impact high school completion and successful transition to post secondary or world or work” and “school administrators and career teams will ensure a clear process to connect high school students to scholarships, bursaries and other opportunities.”

“With the career connections goals, we want to make sure the students have a pathway that goes beyond the walls of their high school, whether it’s to the world of work and into a career or whether there are post-secondary options that we can make sure that they are set up for,” Barber says.

“Both provincially and within our jurisdiction, we are really seeing the opportunities for student learning at the high school level to be really branching out and we want to keep encouraging that momentum.”

The goal regarding social emotional well-being will have students and staff members obtain the “knowledge, skills and attributes to respond to their social emotional needs and the needs of others.”

Barber further elaborated, “We need to support kids’ wellbeing in order to teach them. Potentially never before have we needed such an acute focus on the well-being of our students. This pandemic has meant different things to our students. 

“Some have made it through really, really well and they're just fine. For others, there may be some learning gaps that we need to support. And for others, it may have meant challenging times for their families and we need to meet each and every student where they are at.”

The complete three-year plan is available for viewing on the school division's website.