École élémentaire catholique Saint-Guillaume
- Number of Students: 205
- Percent Eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch: 20%
- Percent of Limited English Proficient: 0%
- Percent of Special Education: 20%
- White: 80%
- Black: 10%
- Hispanic: 0%
- Asian: 10%
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0%
- American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
- Multiracial: 0%
- Other: 0%
In 2011-2012 the team began a school culture transformation. All were in agreement that the results were not what they should be and all desired a change. "What if it was my child" asked a teacher? We all agreed that all students deserved the right to a quality education... but how? A major shift in culture was needed.
The first step was to identify common values that we held as key to our transformation. Four were identified: Solidarity, Authenticity, Engagement and Positivism.
The year 2012-2013 saw individual changes in certain teachers that reflected the new value system. Enphasizing these values in each of our decision making process at school allowed the others to slowly get on board.
In 2013-2014, curriculum was aligned, team meetings were being help in formal and informal capacity each weighing the needs of the children and aligning teaching with these needs. Formal PLCs introducted the concept of destreaming or decompartmentalizing in order to better meet the needs of the children with the alloted existing resources at school. This led to greater student achievement and a 100% scoring at our standardized provincial testing in both our grade 3 and grade 6 testing.
We can honestly say that the culture has changed. Crucial conversations are being held and strong teachers have felt empowered to share their experience with younger teachers.
1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.
One of the most effective strategies the teams have put in place has been the identification of a guaranteed and viable curriculum. These essential outcomes were identified by the teachers throughout the years 2011 and 2012. From grade 8 to junior kindergarden, every teacher knew exactly the expected outcomes for each grade level.
The second important change involved aligning our teaching methods and identifying common vocabulary, implementing effective teaching strategies based in research as well as sharing common formative assessments.
Cycles were put in place that lasted 7 weeks on average during which the four critical questions were discussed and answered:
"What do we want our students to learn" (know, understand, do and communicate)
"How will we know" (common assessment)
"What will we do with students have learned"
"What will we do with those who have not learned the expected outcomes"
As a principal, our role is to keep the focus on the priority, eliminate distractions and facilitate the PLC cycle. Our presence during collaborative team meetings is key to the success of its efficacy and it clearly shows that we, as principals, put the priority on student achievement. In addition, I committed to the team that the focus would remain the same, in order to allow for significant improvement in teacher development and student success.
2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.
Once we had this viable and guaranteed curriculum in place and that the teachers were comfortable with its implementation, we could then focus on the last questions and develop an appropriate response for these students. The teams decided to create more time by changing schedules, amalgamating groups and scheduling weekly interventions that were targeted to the learning needs of the students. We called this "decompartementalizing".
In order to target specific learning outcomes, various date sources were studied: provincial EQAO data and formative assessments as well as school board administered generic diagnostic testing provided valuable information on our student needs. These data sources allowed us to pinpoint the specific learning needs of our students and create a scaffholding of the essential learning targets in math.
SMART goals were set: 100% of each created sub-group must achieve the targeted learnings of the group within a 7 week period of teaching and learning. In order to assess this, common observation charts composed of specifif criteria were drafted and shared with the faculty.
As a principal, my role was to foster a school culture where it was recognised the the school structure would always have to be flexible in order to facilitate the success of our students.
3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.
The success of our school is greatly attributed to the fact that teachers consider themselves no longer as a classroom teacher but rather as a teacher of all and for all students. We shifted to an inclusive culture.
The professional development most effective is the one that is shared between collegues during the school year. Teacher growth has been evident in each and every classroom as they learn as much as their students.
Another key ingredient was constantly reminding the staff of our key values and holding crucial conversations with the staff that did not adhere 100% to the decided change. In 2013-2014, teachers and staff reached the level of mutual accountability and learned to hold their own crucial conversations.
Other winning strategies were the creative use of other support staff which allowed us to enhance the capacity of our teachers to address the needs of the children in a more specific way. Examples are modeling of best pratices, ressource teacher acting as a model for implementing new strategies and all staff participating in the decompartementalizing which allowed us to create more targeted groups with fewer students.
Additional Achievement Data
Report Card for École élémentaire catholique Saint-Guillaume
|Gr 6 enrollment||15|
|Special needs (%)||13.3|
|Parents' average income ($)||n/a|
|Actual rating vs. predicted based on parents' avg. inc.||n/a|
Our school was recognized by the "Canadian Fraser Institute" as a highly performing school.
Our local television station broadcast a special feature on our school performance.
Many parent testimonials have been received
Our school was certified as a host school, welcoming teams from accross Canada wishing to implement collaborative teams (PLCs) in their own environment.