Blueberry School
(K–9)

Assurance

2015 - 2016 Assurance Report

PRINCIPAL: Sheryl Bridgeman
SCHOOL COUNCIL CHAIR: Patricia Whalen

VISION: Parkland School Division is a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where ALL learners aspire to reach their dreams.

Background

As a member of the Parkland School Division family of schools,  Blueberry School utilizes a robust Assurance Model to better understand stakeholder feedback better. Working with an Assurance Model means that Blueberry School, Parkland School Division and the Board of Trustees actively seeks to reveal all avenues for stakeholders to tell us how we are attending to our goals and priorities. One important part of our Assurance Model is deriving stakeholder feedback through insightful comments made by parents, staff, community members and students.

Blueberry School continuously gathers feedback from a variety of sources, including students, parents, staff, the school division and the greater community. In addition to surveys, conferences and day-to-day conversations, our school also uses an online assurance process called ThoughtExchange that enables participants to read and rank responses based on three questions:

  • What are some concerns you have about our school this year?
  • What are some things you appreciate about our school this year?
  • What are some other things you would like to say about our school this year?

Blueberry School’s Assurance Report captures the strengths, opportunities, aspirations and expected results that we gathered throughout last year. In keeping with an Assurance Model, this report provides the narrative for our achievements and challenges presented on our school website.

Strengths are highlighted as areas that are working well in Blueberry School. In our commitment to quality learning, we recognize that there will always be room for growth. We are proud of the strengths and accomplishments you have recognized in the work we do.

Opportunities are areas for growth or attention. As a school, we recognize these as areas in which we need to focus more attention and we see that these are also important to you.

Aspirations are presented as priorities for a preferred future. Our stakeholders have shared a vision for where we need to go and what our world will look like when we’ve mastered our strengths and eliminated growth areas.

Results capture expectations for measuring success. In other words, how will we know that we know we are successful?

In 2015-2016 Parkland School Division’s Board of Trustees approved an ambitious Education Plan that was generated through the Assurance Model. The Plan established enduring strategic processes (enduring priorities) that will always be considered in the generation of strategies (forward-thinking actionable plans). These strategies enable us to achieve our outcomes (goals).

Parkland School Division’s Ultimate Goal is Student Success and Well-Being. Students will be encouraged to explore, create, imagine, and engage in lifelong learning as they develop competencies that prepare them to enter the world of post-secondary studies or work. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student well-being and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency and is therefore committed to the development of the whole child at all levels of their education. The goals, outcomes, priorities and strategies identified in the Education Plan are focused on the achievement of the Ultimate Goal: Student Success and Well-Being.

Two enduring priorities continue to guide the work of the Division. These priorities are considered to be enduring since they are necessary priorities to consider in establishing any goal:

The Enduring Priority of Engagement: Engaging all stakeholders: students, staff, and the local and global communities. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will be shared and supported by all stakeholder groups.

The Enduring Priority of Resource Stewardship: Ensuring equitable and sustainable use of our resources and ensuring financial responsibility. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will utilize limited resources with maximum results.

In addition to the enduring priorities listed above, the 2015-2018 Three Year Education Plan includes the goals necessary to achieve student success and well-being:

Inclusive Education: Parkland School Division is an inclusive education system. An inclusive education system is one that demonstrates behaviours and decisions that reflect valuing all students. The Division is committed to achieving this goal and to fulfilling the provincial mandate for inclusion.

In Parkland School Division, everyone is accepted and experiences a sense of belonging. Every student - no matter their ability, disability, language, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity - has meaningful contributions to make.

Using the programs of study as the framework for learning, every student is engaged in meaningful and authentic ways. All students are treated equitably: they get the support needed when they need it, and for the intensity and duration of time for which they need it.

Quality Learning: Student success and well-being depends on quality instruction in an atmosphere that respects each learner’s independent spirit. Quality teaching practices promote the development of innovation and creativity while attending to meaningful assessment and reporting practices that reflect alignment with Inspiring Education.

Quality Learning builds on the Division’s Inclusive Education goal in that all students are connected to the Programs of Study and all students have the supports and educational quality necessary to achieve success.

Culture of Wellness: Parkland School Division is committed to Student Success and Well-Being. The Division recognizes that, as a system, well-being must be present for all stakeholders, and therefore is committed to fostering physical literacy, lifelong health and wellbeing at all levels. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student wellbeing and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency.

The development of citizenship and social responsibility contribute to wellness and are integral to the delivery of a broad and comprehensive program of studies. We are dedicated to the development of the whole child.

Universal Leadership: Student success and well-being requires collaborative, universal leadership that employs calculated risk-taking and a determination to consider and implement new and innovative ideas. The Division’s Board of Trustees continues to embrace the direction set by Alberta Education to adopt a Generative Governance Model that demands public confidence in all facets of the system. The Division’s clear strategic direction will be maintained, administered and reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure true stewardship of resources.

As a learning organization, the Division recognizes continued improvement through a commitment to leadership at all levels.

Inclusive Education

Strengths

  • The proactive work our school embraced with Zones of Regulation led by our school counsellor, Mrs. Weisenburger.  Blueberry School had two well-attended evening parent sessions to support understanding of self-regulation.
  • The high percentage (85% +) of students on I.P.P’s achieving their goals.  Informal parent feedback at council meetings suggests that their children are feeling successful with their academic and social programming.
  • The proactive social skills programs we offer supporting students with social skills gaps and deficits. 
  • Friendship Club that runs every recess and lunch hour. The club was founded to support students with social/emotional challenges led by our counsellor Mrs. Weisenburger.   The club runs daily indoors and reinforces sharing, cooperation, parallel and independent play.   Students absolutely love attending and they report feeling included and successful during their breaks.
  • Blueberry School will be one of the lead schools in planning and implementing a student-led mental health day for the division. 

86.4% of teacher, parent and student agreement that programs for children at risk are easy to access and timely.

"Friendship club is such a fantastic way for the kids who don't necessarily do well being turned loose in a group on the playground to form relationships in a one on one or smaller more intimate setting (playing chess/lego/etc) which gives them a foundation to take into other situations." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Thankful for information sessions put on for parents - anxiety, social media etc." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Mrs. Weisenburger- Blueberry School community is so lucky to have her in our school every day." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

“At Risk Students Measure History: 86.4% of teachers, parents and students agree that programs for children at risk are easy to access and timely. “  2015 – 2016 Accountability Pillar - This result is above the division and provincial average.

Opportunities

  • Implementing Blueberry’s Community Classroom - For 2016-2017, Blueberry’s Community Classroom Goals are:
    • Time (targeted) (invested) in teaching, practicing applying life skills in and out of the building
    • Build capacity of our staff by providing opportunities for them to work with a variety of professionals supporting students with targeted intentional programming
  • Implementing Weekly School Based Support Team meetings to understand and support the needs of our diverse learners. Working alongside our Inclusive Education Lead and team members (teacher, EA, counsellor, administration) to develop comprehensive and authentic supports for all learners. 
  • Blueberry staff will continue to access professional learning opportunities to increase our understanding of an inclusive learning environment. We will access professional learning through PSD Learning Services, the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium and other providers to continue to develop our skills and expertise. Attendees of these learning opportunities will share their learning at these sessions with the whole team on our professional development days.
  • Blueberry School will be expanding our Friendship Club to provide structured, cooperative team building games in the small gym once per week. This allows for targeted specific teaching  practice of social skills.

Quality Learning

Blueberry School celebrated Quality Learning in our building on two formal occasions for the 2015-2016 school year.  Blueberry was highlighted in the spring by the LTPF (Learning and Technology Policy Framework) group.   Blueberry had a strong technology team represented at this cohort and in May 2016, several teachers from across Alberta toured a few schools in Parkland School Division including Blueberry to see how technology is integrated daily into intentional engaged quality learning.  Blueberry School was also highlighted in April 2016 when we were one of three schools toured by over 50 professionals from all over Parkland School Division to observe the quality learning in our school.

For the 2015-2016 school year, Blueberry moved to longer parent/student/teacher conferences replacing comments on the report card with intentions of improving communication and understanding between all stakeholders.   According to our parent survey administered in March 2016, 100% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that:

 "This conference provided me and my child with information about my child’s strengths, areas for growth and strategies for improvement." -  Blueberry Parent via Report Card Survey (March 2016)

Opportunities

  • Begin “Alternative Professional Development”.   Staff will be engaged in ongoing professional development.  Teams are comprised of teachers and support staff focused on quality learning in the following areas: Mathematics, Daily 3, Culture of Thinking and Project Based Learning. 
  • Continue with longer student/teacher/parent conferences replacing comments on report cards.
  • Advance Parkland School Division’s Quality Learning Framework
  • Encourage learning leaders from Blueberry to participate in Parkland School Division’s cohort partnership with the University of Calgary
  • Begin a Tinkerlab at Blueberry School where students have access to innovate, create and modify their thinking and learning in self-directed ways
  • Host an Innovation Week
  • Continue to offer Reading Room or L.L.I.  our Literacy Intervention Program (Grades 1-6)
  • Continue to offer Precision Reading (Grades 7-9)
  • Continue to offer Enrichment Programs in Mathematics (Grades 1-6)

2015-2016 PAT results were lower in many subject areas than scores in 2014-2015. We will look to analyze results and set goals for 2016-2017.

Scoring at the Standard of Excellence is a continued goal for Blueberry School in all academic areas. The province exceeded Blueberry School in all subjects except Math 9.

"89% of teachers, parents and students of Blueberry School are satisfied with the overall quality of basic education."

"The music program continues to be dynamic. So lucky to have the teacher we have there!" - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Extra help! Appreciate the extra reading help that my son receives on a daily basis. The help has been amazing and he really seems to enjoy learning." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

Culture of Wellness

S.W.A.T. Team - Blueberry School has a Student Action Wellness Team comprised of staff and students focused on initiating and leading wellness activities at Blueberry School.  In 2015-2016, students were responsible for coordinating and leading regular activities such as Just Dance, Coloring Club, Winter Walk and our Tower Garden. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated team of staff and students motivated to lead our school in many wellness areas.

Blueberry School revised its timetable for the 2015- 2016 school year.  One of the reasons for this change from 7 blocks to 8 blocks per day was to increase each class’s frequency in the gymnasium.  Each class received scheduled phys ed classes on 3 out of 4 days with this timetable change.  Blueberry School stakeholders believe that physical activity has positive impacts on students in all areas.  Feedback from all stakeholders has been very positive regarding this timetable change resulting in a similar timetable for 2016-2017.

Blueberry School would like to celebrate our staff and parent community for helping support and coordinate various activities throughout our school year such as; Ski Club, Art Club, Cross Country Running Club, Sun Run, team sports, Monster Mash and Coding Club.  These extra opportunities help students feel connected to others, increase self-esteem and provide active options for our students.

Opportunities

  • Implement Play Parkland.  Students will have access to the Tri-Leisure 8 times per school year to engage in activities in the water, on land, on ice and at Aerial's Gymnastics.  The community partners we have allow for us to work alongside qualified instructors in these specialized areas.
  • Continue to provide Middle Years Options focused around physical activity and nutrition through the FOODIES and SOUP Options.
  • Providing Middle Years students with an ACADEMIC SUPPORT OPTION offered once every four days.  Students are reporting they appreciate this targeted support for their academics with our staff reducing homework for them.

"I am so very grateful for the community we live in and the awesome staff of Blueberry school. Thank you from the bottom my heart. It takes a community to raise a child and we have an awesome one." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"It seems like every single teacher/staff member I've met since day one is positive and genuinely enjoys being there, which over four children, two decades, and now three elementary schools, I have not always found to be the case. The positivity and inclusiveness is a joy to include my children in." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

Universal Leadership

Blueberry School celebrates their involvement in Caring Kids for 2015-2016.   Grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Newby, founded the program Caring Kids in 2008.  This student-centered program meets the Grade 3 curricular objective of "Kids helping Kids".  It empowers students and teaches them they can, even at their young age, make a difference in the lives of others. Funds raised for 2015-2016 supported Children of Ecuador and the Parkland Food Bank.

Blueberry School would like to celebrate student, staff and parent leadership for 2015-2016.  Parents took on leadership roles to lead our school council and fundraising committees and community building events.  Staff took on numerous roles in the areas of acting administration, divisional leaders, technology committee, professional development committee and contributed to specific events such as Terry Fox Run, various assemblies, Jump Rope for Heart and the Kinsmen Hamper Campaign.

Opportunities

  • Begin Alternative Professional Development.  Each team includes a leader who facilitates goal setting and reporting on new learning.
  • Begin Grade Level Team Time at Blueberry School.  Each Grade Level will receive 40 minutes of Team Time per week to work on agreed upon goals.  Leaders within each grade level are responsible for communicating back to administration.
  • Participation of learning leaders in Parkland School Division cohort with partnership with the University of Calgary
  • Continue Book Buddies. Students in grade four and five read with (and to) students in grades one and two once a week.
  • Begin Tinkerlab at Blueberry School.  Students will have regular instructional time under the expertise guidance of Mrs. Kleparchuk to lead themselves and peers in inquiry based learning.
  • Begin Buddy Bench-  Grade 6 students will lead younger grades in accessing and using a Buddy Bench at recess time  supporting young children in seeking out play opportunities with each other.

"I love that Blueberry teaches the kids compassion and encourages them to give back to our community." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"The gr5 helpers that come to Kindergarten is a wonderful idea. It is important because it shows empathy and compassion for the smaller children and hopefully they can return the favour when they reach gr 5." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Multiple Age Interactions. Both of my boys really enjoy doing things with their older 'buddies' through their class work when the opportunity arises." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

Engagement/Communications

When surveyed, Blueberry parents reported to be very satisfied with our 2015-2016 Reporting Structure.  99% of parents surveyed agreed (21%) or strongly agreed(78% ) that our 20 minute parent/teacher/student conferences were an effective way to provide valuable information about their child and their progress at school.

While these results are strong, focusing on next steps in the learning process will be a focus for our conferences for 2016-2017.  We want all stakeholders to be aware what the next steps are in the learning process for each student.

Blueberry School works hard to reach all stakeholders through newsletters, classroom blogs, facebook, twitter, email communication, Remind etc.  We are committed to exploring ways to sustain and improve communication allowing all stakeholders to be informed.

Opportunities

  • Continue providing longer  student/teacher/parent conferences in replace of report card comments with the intention of increasing parent understanding of student progress and next steps.
  • Continue communicating with a variety of communication tools and regularly seek feedback on their effectiveness.

"I appreciate the teachers, staff and general positive vibe of the school.  The teachers and staff are always ready and willing to stop and talk to you if you have any concerns. It seems that the school has a positive atmosphere." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"I find the communication between the faculty and parents to be very open." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"86% of teachers and parents are satisfied with parental involvement in decisions about their child's education." 2015 – 2016 Accountability Pillar Survey

Resource Stewardship

For 2015-2016 School Year, Blueberry School was able to maintain classes sizes averaging: 

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3 = 19.7 students per class
  • Grades 4-6 = 24.6 students per class
  • Grades 7-9 = 23.7 students per class

The majority of grade levels had smaller classes however due to space and resources we were not able to maintain small class sizes at EVERY grade level. 

Opportunities

  • Begin Tinkerlab- A creative innovative process to design learning through the process of planning, implementing, modifying and reflecting.
  • Continue B.Y.O.D (Bring your own device) in Grades 4-9.  We will be exploring B.Y.O.D. in Grades 2 and 3 and continue with our technology evergreen process.
  • Continue our evergreen process for replacing classroom furniture.

"Some class sizes are still too large in some grades" - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Number of students per class.  This is important to me because it lowers the quality of education all the kids get. One teacher cannot possibly spend one on one time with all of the children. The TA's are an excellent idea to alleviate this but it would be best to just have smaller classes." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

"Electronics - There is a large emphasis on the use of electronics but it would appear that the school has insufficient devices to provide every student the opportunity to use one in the course of their studies." - Blueberry Parent via Thought Exchange

Parents and Guardians Celebrating Blueberry

"Thank you to the dedicated staff of Blueberry school for helping  to instill compassion, confidence, leadership, perseverance and many other qualities in our kids over their years at Blueberry." -  Parent of Blueberry School

"So from the bottom of our hearts…..please know that the tough job you each do everyday is really really important and you impact kids…..positively!!!!  Our family is very grateful for you all." - Parent of Blueberry School