South Kamloops Secondary

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources

Prior to beginning our PLC journey, our staff analyzed student achievement data and found that while we had a number of students that were being incredibly successful, we also had a significant number who were failing core courses that were preventing them from moving to the next grade level.  As a result, we sent an exploratory team of leaders from each of our core subject areas to a Professional Learning Communities Summit to investigate methods that would enable us to improve our practice and ensure student success in our school.  As a result of the Summit, our leadership team came back to the school and developed a proposal to change our timetable not only to create a weekly block of time for teachers to collaborate during the school day, but to have a concurrent, subject-specific tutorial block for students to receive targeted support in the core content areas.  This block (called “Connections Block”) initially took place each Wednesday morning.  Students who didn’t require assistance in one of the content areas were allowed to come to school later, and those who were needing additional time and support were required to come to Connections Block to get help from a teacher in that specific content area.  After piloting Connections Block for a year, the staff chose to move Connections Block to the end of the day for two reasons: first, they could continue to collaborate for longer rather than having to rush off to class, and second, the tutorials could go longer after school if a student needed extra help.  With the block at the start of the day, teachers and students had to rush off to class, but at the end of the day, they could continue to do the important work they were doing.  This Wednesday afternoon model continues today.

During collaborative time, the South Kamloops staff developed essential learning outcomes, and began to examine effective assessment practices.  Penalties for late work were eliminated, and students were required to do the work rather than take zeroes.  In order to give students more time to complete their work, the South Kamloops PLC leadership team also developed our Academic Intervention (AI) program.  Different than Connections Block which can be invitational for students, AI is directive. Should a student be referred to AI by their teacher if they are missing assignments or have quizzes, labs, or tests to make up, they must attend in order to get caught up on their work.  The AI program takes place Monday through Thursday after school.

As a result of teacher collaboration, the tutorial block, the changes to grading practices, and the Academic Intervention Program, South Kamloops saw a decrease in failure rates in each of the core course areas for five consecutive years. Furthermore, our student final pass rates on standardized government exam courses exceeded district averages, and have consistently been near or better than province-wide results over that same span of time.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

Concurrent with the co-development of our timetable that allowed for weekly teacher collaboration and weekly content-specific tutorials, our staff developed our Academic Intervention (AI) program.  In the first iteration of AI, teachers would provide reports every third week detailing students who were falling behind, missing assignments or who hadn’t written tests.  These reports were sent to members of our Learning Assistance department, who would then meet with teachers, collate assignments and tests, and create schedule for students to be in AI until they were caught up with all of their work.  While we saw modest gains in assignment completion and student success, we found that our interventions were not happening as quickly as we needed, and students were falling too far behind in three weeks.  As well, there was an abundance of ‘administrivia’ for our Learning Assistance teachers: forms needed to be created and collected, assignments needed to be hunted down from busy faculty members, and our Learning Assistance teachers were inhibited from doing their core work of helping students.  Not to mention, when students didn’t complete assignments or failed to show up, there was ‘lag time’ before administrators could follow up with the students.

As a result, our PLC leadership team and the staff completely re-vamped our AI model.  We changed from a tri-weekly callout to a daily callout.  We had classroom teachers take assignments that students had missed directly to a file cabinet in the AI room rather than have our Learning Assistance teachers try to chase down tasks and tests, which allowed the LA teachers to provide direct support to students rather than shuffle papers. We had the AI supervisor check off who was at AI each day and email staff members so that the teachers could follow up directly with students and eliminate the lag time from our initial process.  The change in assignment completion as a result of these iterations was dramatic, and our core course failure rates dropped dramatically in math, science, language arts and social studies (see attached graph - Failure Rate Comparison by Department). The collaborative efforts of the staff to brainstorm ways to better our AI program paid immediate and lasting dividends for student learning.

2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.

The SKSS Pyramid of Intervention process was a co-created with our PLC leadership team, Learning Assistance Department, school leadership team and staff. Intervention begins with proactive approaches in the classroom, including varied approaches to instruction, different forms of assessment, and grading practices that provide students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.  As well, teacher use electronic solutions to rapidly and regularly communicate progress home so parents can be partners in student learning.  At the next level, departments use department-based intervention strategies to help students who continue to have challenges in the content areas: for example, the math department developed  a rotation for teachers so they may provide drop-in or directed lunch time tutorials. Should a student require further support, they would be recommended for Connections Block tutorials in a specific subject area, and may also get in-class assistance from an educational assistant or First Nations Education Worker.  


At this point, should a student still require more time and support, the pyramid moves from invitational to directive: students are then directed during Mandatory Study Block at the end of third period to complete work, quizzes or tests, and then to the  Academic Intervention (AI) program after school from Monday to Thursday to receive even more time.  If students still need more time for completing their work, their names can then be brought to the School-Based Team and academic counselors would be involved to provide additional, wrap-around support.  At this stage, a plan for assessing the student for their learning strengths and challenges would be created to see if there were more supports to be put in place, including dedicated learning assistance time.  If these measures still did not work, the team may work with the student, the family, and teachers to consider a modification to the student’s timetable to allow them to focus on fewer academic courses at a time.  

A systematic approach to intervention has been a key to reducing student failure rates at South Kamloops.

3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

Our collaborative teams are organized into content areas, including core subjects and electives. Our teams begin each year by co creating norms that will guide their practice for the year. These norms are shared with other departments at team leader meetings in order to create capacity in developing effective collaborative practices. Teams then begin the process of creating and reviewing course outlines to ensure that consistent assessment and grading practices are consistent across the department for all students. Teachers are also given feedback on course outlines from the school administration.  As well, teachers ensure that course outlines clearly communicate essential learning outcomes and assessment methods so that students and parents are partners in the learning process from the outset of the term. Furthermore, support mechanisms (like Connections Block and AI) are detailed to inform and garner support for our mechanisms to ensure student learning.

Over the course of a semester, teachers will then select new goals or adapt current goals from the School Improvement Plan, collaborate on lesson design, common assessments, and results from each of these assessments to ensure that there is consistent and effective monitoring of student learning and sharing of promising practices in pedagogy and teacher instruction.  Teachers will also discuss department level interventions and students that may require additional time and support.  Teams communicate with administrators through an online update, and collaborative team leaders meet monthly as a leadership team with the administration to communicate progress and to share successes, struggles and progress toward departmental goals.  As effective collaboration is a skill that constantly needs to be developed, team leader meetings allow departments to collectively support each other as a group. At the end of each term, course success data is collected, shared, analyzed, and reflected upon to determine how best to meet the needs of our students.

With the implementation of the new, competency-based curriculum in British Columbia, collaborative teams and time will continue to be an important piece in improving student and teacher learning at South Kamloops.

Data:

Source for the grade 10 and 12 results are the British Columbia Final Pass Rates

Scores reflect the school % on standardized tests compared to the Province % on standardized tests at the grade 10 and 12 level.

Standardized Test Results:

Grade 10

Year 1

(SKS/Prov)

Year 2

(SKS/Prov)

Year 3

(SKS/Prov)

Year 4

(SKS/Prov)

Year 5

(SKS/Prov)

Math

91/93

93/93

92/93

100/94

93/93

English

96/96

99/96

97/96

98/96

98/96

Science

99/95

99/96

98/96

98/95

98/95

 

Grade 12

Year 1

(SKS/Prov)

Year 2

(SKS/Prov)

Year 3

(SKS/Prov)

Year 4

(SKS/Prov)

Year 5

(SKS/Prov)

Math

89/94

94/95

93/94

93/94

94/94

English

99/98

100/96

99/96

99/96

100/96

Science

99/96

100/96

97/96

98/96

97/96

Course Success Rates:

 

Core Course Success Rate By Content Area (all students)

Core Subject

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Science

93%

96%

96%

96%

95%

Mathematics

84%

90%

91%

91%

92%

English

94%

95%

95%

97%

96%

Social Studies

94%

95%

95%

95%

97%

 

 

Overall Core Course Success Rate

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

All Students

91%

94.5%

94.9%

95%

95.3%

Test Data: Grade 10 and 12 data is based on a comparison between school results which are a combined exam mark and school mark vs. a combined Provincial mark. The science scores for grade 12 are based on our Chemistry results.

Failure rates:  Failure rates include all course instances for all students and all demographics in each of the core content areas. (Science:  Science 8-10, Senior Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science; Math: Math 8-12, Calculus 12, Apprentice and Workplace 10-11; English: English 8-12, Literature 12; Social Studies: Social Studies 8-11, History 12, Comparative Civilizations 12)

 

96.9% success rate in all courses

Decrease in failure rates for five straight years

Highest Number District Honours Graduates in School District #73 for six straight years (2006-12)

Highest Number Provincial Math Contest Writers in British Columbia

District First Nations Grad Valedictorian

Highest Number of Provincial Honour Band Wind Ensemble Members in British Columbia

NBA First Round Draft Pick - Kelly Olynyk (SKSS Grad - 2009)

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