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 District Literacy Plan
MAY 1, 2014– APRIL 30, 2015
Prepared by: Joan Chambers
Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Literacy Now South Okanagan-Similkameen
June 2014
Contents Working together for literacy
The community literacy plan is one of the tools to support the process of literacy development throughout the community. It provides the blueprint and information about how community partners are working together to improve literacy. Working Together For Literacy ~ Decoda Literacy Solutions Contents 1. TASK GROUP ....................................................................................................................................... 1 2. COMMUNITY CONTEXT .................................................................................................................... 3 3. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND LITERACY COLLABORATION ...................................... 4 4. DISTRICT LITERACY PLAN GOALS AND ACTIONS MAY 2013-­‐APRIL 29, 2014 .............. 6 5. INDICATIONS OF SUCCESS ........................................................................................................... 14 6. CHALLENGES .................................................................................................................................... 19 7. FOR THE COMING YEAR: ............................................................................................................... 20 Appendix A: ........................................................................................................................................... 23 L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n | iii Reflections on the Current Year 1. TASK GROUP Over the past year, our task group meetings have included representatives from: •
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Interior Health o Public Health Nursing—Prevention Services Okanagan College o Instructor/Adult Learning Coordinator, Adult Academic and Career Preparation o Volunteer Literacy Tutor Coordinator o Continuing Studies o Aboriginal Recruiter School District #53 Assistant Superintendent School District #67 Superintendent Penticton Public Library o Public Services Librarian Penticton and District Community Resources Society o Child Care Resource & Referral Coordinator BC Schizophrenia Society, Penticton Chapter President South Okanagan Community Literacy Society Chair Person Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Family Support Worker Communities for Kids/Success by Six Coordinator Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce General Manager steward of the funds In addition to our task group, we have a Family Literacy Subcommittee. This committee includes some task group members, along with representatives from: • Strong Start SD #53 • Interior Health o Speech Language Clinical Coordinator • Penticton Public Library o Youth Services Librarian • Child Care Resource and Referral o Consultant • Lower Similkameen Services Society Family Literacy Coordinator • Community member from Okanagan Falls. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |1 We have a four-­‐person Executive Committee made up of: •
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Chamber of Commerce, General Manager Okanagan College Instructor/Adult Learning Coordinator, Adult Academic and Career Preparation School District #53 Assistant Superintendent School District #67 Superintendent At an executive meeting prior to each task group meeting, the LOC reports on the actions taken and seeks input as needed. The executive approves the Task Group agenda, reviews the financial statement and makes decisions regarding expenditures between task group meetings if required. This committee is responsible for hiring decisions, contracts, and guidance on the implementation of the DLP. Ad Hoc subcommittees are formed as needed. This year three subcommittees formed: 1. Sustainability: Representation by three members of the Task Group and the LOC. 2. Little Free Libraries: Representation from Raise a Reader, Interior Health, Downtown Penticton Association, Communities for Kids, a community member and the LOC. 3. Interagency Planning Committee: Representation from WorkBC, Job Options, Footprints to Technology and the LOC.. This subcommittee took the place of the Adult Workplace/Education Subcommittee, which we attempted to re-­‐establish this year, but lacked committed membership. The purpose was to host a community mapping event for adult education and service providers. Members of the Task Group, Executive and Family Subcommittees bring their perspectives and experiences to our meetings. Their contribution is invaluable in helping us understand our communities. All three committees meet bi-­‐monthly, in September, November, January, March and May. In April we hold a special meeting, when we review the goals and success of the current year, reassess the assets and needs in our communities and establish direction for the coming year. Guests representing the broader community are invited to this meeting to hear the progress made and to assist in determining the focus for the coming year. Prior to this year the LOC prepared the agendas, chaired the meetings and recorded the minutes of all the above committees. This year, chairpersons for the Task Group and the Family Subcommittee were established. 2 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n 2. COMMUNITY CONTEXT Literacy Now South Okanagan–Similkameen serves the region encompassed by two school districts. School District No.67 includes the communities of Summerland, Naramata, the region’s largest community, Penticton, and Kaleden in the south. The Penticton Indian Band is also included in this region. To the south, School District No.53 encompasses Okanagan Falls, Oliver, and Osoyoos, along with Cawston, Keremeos and Hedley to the west. This district has a significant amount of orchards, vineyards and agricultural operations. Many are owned or operated by immigrant families, primarily from south-­‐central Asia. Along with family members, temporary migrant workers from Mexico and Quebec provide much of the seasonal labour. School District No. 53 serves three Aboriginal bands, Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Osoyoos Indian Band. Developing strategies to involve Aboriginal bands and outlying rural areas of our region will be an area for us to focus on in the coming year. The economy in our area is based on forestry, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, wineries and the retirement industry. The area has experienced limited population growth. The median age of our population is 52. Employment opportunities for young people are not abundant. As a result many families have only one partner able to find work. There are families leaving the area to find work. Many fathers are working in Alberta, while the mothers and children reside here. This results in the effect of single parent families, where the mother is providing the daily care on her own. The focus of many of these parents is on meeting their basic needs of food and shelter. Family literacy is not a focus, when coping with daily challenges of raising children on their own. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |3 3. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND LITERACY COLLABORATION Literacy work in the community is all about building relationships and fostering collaborations. In January of 2013, to gain a better understanding of the needs of adults with multiple barriers in our communities, we began exploring ways to provide an introduction to adult literacy programs. We assisted with the planning and attended an event at the Penticton soup kitchen, which was structured like an agency service fair for their clients. Here we made connections with the South Okanagan Brain Injury Society (SOSBIS). This led us to sponsor six sessions of Writing Out Loud in the spring of 2013 at SOSBIS. Mary Kiviste, Volunteer Tutor Coordinator from Okanagan College, who is a trained Writing Out Loud facilitator, led the sessions. To promote sustainability of this initiative, the case manager Brian O’ Reilly attended these sessions. Brian found the process of Writing Out Loud fit with the goals he had for his clients in his healthy lifestyle program. So in November 2013, he began offering Writing Out Loud to his clients in Penticton and in Osoyoos. In 2014 he applied for Community Foundation funding to continue to offer these groups. What we learned: 1. Writing Out Loud is a great informal literacy program for adults who may have barriers to participation in traditional adult learning programs 2. By partnering with other agencies in the community who serve these adults, we could offer this program in the partners’ location, where the participants feel safe and comfortable. 3. Writing Out Loud participants reported increased self-­‐confidence. They felt their stories were heard and others listened to what they had written. They found writing was a way to explore ideas they felt uncomfortable talking about. They learned of free adult upgrading programs and tutor programs they could access. Some of them shared that they learned they could finish school, but it would take a long time. 4 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n 4. Writing Out Loud could be sustained without funding if personnel in partnering agencies were interested in running the program themselves after participating, and if they were provided with support and mentorship. This year we approached 4 new community agencies we had not previously worked with, who serve adults with barriers. (See Goals & Actions for the past year – page 6)Together we partnered to offer a six week session of Writing Out Loud at each location. We encouraged a staff member to attend and consider facilitating a continuing group in the future at their own agency. Once we completed the sessions, all of the agencies were interested in hosting the program again, yet none of the staff wanted to become the facilitator. This means that there would continue to be a cost for the facilitators’ time in offering these groups. To create sustainability in the future, we have approached a few community volunteers who assist with the adult literacy program who have an interest in more training to become volunteer WOL leaders. In the coming year we are requesting funds from the United Way to host two Writing Out Loud groups where a new facilitator can be mentored. In return, these individuals will volunteer their time to host a WOL group on their own. We are pursuing training that may be available through Decoda to provide instruction to these individuals. We will set up a facilitator mentors group. We will record outcomes for the purpose of evaluation. We will request funds from the Task Group to host 4 WOL groups in the 2014-­‐15 year. We will continue to seek new partnerships with agencies interested in offering this group to their clients. Writing Out Loud has helped us open the door to continued learning for adults who would not previously have sought out more formalized learning, but who through participation and validation are now interested in further literacy activities. Writing Out Loud Participant Feedback: L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |5 4. DISTRICT LITERACY PLAN GOALS AND ACTIONS MAY 2013-­‐APRIL 29, 2014 Over the past year good progress was made towards the six goals chosen by the Task Group in April 2013. Goal 1: To build more relationships to reach adult learners, through connections with businesses, employers and service agencies. Actions Taken:  We created community partnerships with four new service agencies that serve vulnerable adults in our community.. • Discovery House: an addiction treatment centre for men in Penticton • Birthright: an organization in Penticton that serves those affected by pregnancy related issues and those looking for support during this time in their lives • South Okanagan Women in need, (SOWINS) mature women’s group Penticton • CAPC: Community Action Program for Children and families in Osoyoos Together we co-­‐hosted six sessions of Writing Out Loud at each agency for their clients. As a result of offering this non formal literacy program, we increased both the clients’ and agency staff awareness of the available literacy programs in our community. A few participants took further steps and made contact with the Adult Upgrading program at Okanagan College.  We connected with several more agencies interested in partnering to host Writing Out Loud for 2014-­‐15 and began the planning process for this.  We created the Computer Tutor support program for adults and seniors in Oliver through a partnership with ORL Oliver Branch, Desert Sun Counselling and Literacy Now SO-­‐S. This program was well received by the seniors who accessed it. The individual hired to coordinate the volunteer tutors resigned and a replacement was not found for the April and May sessions. The program will resume in September. 6 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n  We held conversations with other libraries to establish a Computer Tutor program for 2014-­‐15  We hosted the 5th annual Adult Spelling Bee fundraiser (May 2014). For the first time the event was planned in partnership with Okanagan College. The City of Penticton, The Western News, and a variety of businesses sponsored the event. New participants from the community attended and we raised $2639. This amount was greater than any previous years.  We represented Literacy Now SOS at meetings of: Communities for Kids, Community Response Network, South Okanagan Community Literacy Society, Child and Youth Committee.  We created and distributed a monthly Buzz newsletter. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |7  We attended Ready Set Learn events, met parents at a variety of StrongStarts, and hosted a literacy activity at the Unplug and Play family event at the Outma Cultural School of the Penticton Indian Band.  We made presentations at the Flu Clinic and at a Rotary Meeting.  We mobilized community support for continued funding though meetings and letters to MLA’s.  We promoted the adult literacy programs from Okanagan College at the Soupapalooza event at the Penticton Soupateria (an agency fair for clients of the Soup Kitchen).  We connected Okanagan Boys and Girls Club in Penticton to a student group at Okanagan College that has developed a financial literacy curriculum.  We supported this group and Birthright to develop a proposal for funding that would be considered by our Task Group. Together we developed a sustainability plan; one of the key factors that needs to be addressed in order to receive funding. Goal #2: Explore ways to ensure current literacy programs are sustainable. These programs include: Family Literacy Day, the district coordination of the One-­‐
To-­‐ One tutor program in schools, Plain Language workshops, Spelling Bee Challenge, Writing out Loud, public presence at events, adult literacy provider connections. Actions Taken:  We formed a subcommittee to address sustainability of the Family Literacy Day, the One To One Program, Writing Out Loud and Plain Language workshops.  We met with United Way to explore a grant application to host 2 groups of Writing Out Loud for 2014-­‐15. The grant application submitted in May 2014 is a partnership between Birthright, South Okanagan Women in Need, the Writing Out Loud facilitator and us.  We had conversations with Decoda to develop training to create more Writing Out Loud instructors  We explored merging the Family Literacy Committee with the CFK Penticton Table to sustain Family Literacy Day events in the future  We explored community capacity to take on some of the initiatives  We collected $10 per person (a suggested donation) at the Penticton plain language workshops as a step toward cost recovery. 8 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n Goal #3: To evaluate our new and current initiatives with regards to the results they are producing. Actions Taken:  All new initiatives that we approved for funding contained a plan for sustainability and evaluation. Goal #4: To increase community awareness of adult literacy programs offered in Penticton and the South Okanagan so that individuals who want to increase their literacy skills are referred to the program that best meets their needs. Actions Taken:  We convened an interagency committee of adult literacy service providers in Oliver, Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Keremeos to enhance communication. We developed a brochure for the Southern communities which maps: •
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who the providers are what they offer and to whom where they are located and how their programs are provided  We provided this brochure to the community and to agency staff who serve adults, so that more adults are referred to these services. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |9  We cohosted a Community Mapping Forum drawing participation from 34 agencies with over 50 participants. This forum brought together literacy, education, service agencies and employers for interagency sharing and to discuss issues, network, and disseminate information. Planning and hosting this event was a collaboration with Work BC, Footprints to Technology, Job Options and us.  We provided an agency fair at Family Literacy Day that included adult literacy program providers.  We hosted a booth at the Healthy Living Fair, where we connected with potential volunteers and adult learners.  We met with the ACCESS Centre staff regarding available adult literacy programs and ways we could orientate their volunteers to support referrals at their fall (2014) training. 10 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n Goal #5: To provide organizations and businesses with the information they need to publish materials in plain language so that people can: find what they need, understand what they find and act appropriately on that understanding. Actions Taken:  We provided five Plain language workshops: three in Penticton, one in Oliver, and one in Keremeos. Total participants: 61  We offered follow-­‐up assistance to participants to reword their printed materials if requested. “Prior to attending the Plain Language workshop, I had asked for feedback from Literacy Now SO-­‐S on the newsletter I write monthly for our Co-­‐op. At the workshop I was shown how the newsletter could be formatted to become easier to read for everyone. The board liked the new plain language model I presented following the workshop and now I am using it for the next newsletter. In addition to this change, the day after the workshop, I also revamped the income tax intake form we use with our volunteers when we assist with the preparation of returns for clients with limited incomes. I had tried to keep the form simple, but crammed it onto one side. Now it is way better, and easier. This plain language form will be used every time from now on, and we assist with over 900 returns" Brigid Kemp. "The plain language workshop helped clarify how people need to see things visually. The best part for me was realizing no matter what our educational background, everyone responds better when we keep things simple. Keeping that in mind it's easier to edit things. For the ACCESS newsletter now, I go through what is given to me and omit all unnecessary words, narrowing it down to as few words as possible. I also redid the rack cards for all our programs. Now they are simple and clear." Keleah Strack L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |11 Goal #6: To have successful One To One tutor programs offered in district schools that desire the program, so that the reading levels of the children participating improve significantly over the course of the intervention. Actions Taken:  We started the program at three additional schools in SD#67 this year. All schools in SD #67 now host the program.  We trained five tutors at Youlearn.ca, the distributed learning site in SD #53. They plan to adapt the program for their use through on-­‐line One To One tutoring. Five of six sites in SD #53 host the program.  We trained a total of 81 new community volunteers as One To One tutors, and sent them to the various schools needing additional tutors.  We trained and supported three new school coordinators for the program.  To address sustainability, and reduce the amount of time the LOC devotes to tutor screening and training, we contracted two individuals to create on line tutor training, and on line orientation and guidelines for School Coordinators. This is currently being developed. The following are additional actions taken to create a range of literacy programs and resources for community members.  We supported the development of a free summer reading library at Queens Park Elementary School in 2013 with the donation of books.  Books for Babies was sustained through 2013-­‐14. The Kiwanis, Kinettes, Friends of the Naramata Library, Valley First, the Penticton Herald, Argus Carriers and Raise a Reader continued their financial and in kind commitment to this program.  We hosted an annual book drive in conjunction with Family Literacy Day. As a result of this, and a partnership with The Book Shop, a used bookstore in Penticton, we established seven free lending libraries. One at every Strong Start.  We hosted Family Literacy Week activities  We developed an Unplug and Play passport for the week that was promoted by schools, agencies, libraries and the Western News.  We hosted a successful Family Literacy Day event at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. Attendance exceeded previous years. 440 free books were given to children by Raise a Reader. Thirteen agencies participated in an agency fair in conjunction with this day. 12 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n What adjustments were made to the plan? Were there new opportunities? In the summer of 2013, Queens Park Elementary School hosted a free summer reading library two days per week. It was designed for the families who do not access the public library due to multiple barriers. Access to free books was meant to prevent the loss of reading skill during the summer for these children. In the fall of 2013, the principal of the school mentioned talked about the success of the summer program. To continue on the idea of providing free reading materials he talked about his intention to establish a Little Free Library that would be attached to the school by the StrongStart entrance. On hearing the idea of a Little Free Library, Literacy Now convened a subcommittee to further explore the idea. We now have two Little Free Libraries in Penticton, with two more in the construction phase. Okanagan Falls is planning to create two as well. (See more information on page 16) We are in the process of establishing a sponsorship program and have a vision to have more of these libraries in communities throughout the South Okanagan. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |13 5. INDICATIONS OF SUCCESS HOW DO WE KNOW THAT ACTIONS TAKEN ARE WORKING TO SUPPORT LITERACY? WHAT IMPACT HAVE THE INITIATIVES HAD? 1. This year we established new partnerships and working relationships with several organizations who serve vulnerable adults. Our objectives were: •
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To increase the awareness of learning opportunities for adults in the South Okana-­‐
gan To encourage participants to experience the benefits of writing and to write more often To help participants look at their lives in a more positive way (connect with oth-­‐
ers, identify their values, hopes and goals, validate their stories and move forward in their lives) To improve literacy skills To have participants make writing a part of their home life for the benefit of their families and children. Four of these new organizations partnered with us to offer the Writing Out Loud program to their clients in their own facilities. All of them found their clients benefited from participating in this introductory literacy activity. Three of these organizations are interested in hosting the program in the coming year and are willing to assist in applying for grant funding, and to facilitate the training of prospective volunteer WOL instructors, to create sustainability in the years to come. The participants reported that their confidence in their writing improved. That they were writing more often, and that the group helped them express their thoughts. Three participants followed through with meeting a representative from the Adult Upgrading Program at Okanagan College. In the coming year we will: •
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Expand the program to offer it in 6 locations. Pursue steps to make the program sustainable. Measure the outcomes of this program for the participants. 2. Last year we learned of the need for computer assistance in the Oliver area, for individuals who have no computer experience. In Oliver, the library is the only place that offers free computer access. However, they do not have the personnel to assist these patrons with the help they need. Together with the Oliver Library, Desert Sun Counselling, and support from the LOC we created a Computer Tutor program for seniors. The Task Group provided some start-­‐up funds for Desert Sun to hire a coordinator who then developed the program. Two volunteer tutors provided a tutoring service for individuals who booked an appointment at the library on Wednesdays from 5-­‐7pm or Saturdays from 12-­‐2pm. The program that started in November and ended in May, eventually developed a waiting list of individuals who were 14 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n seeking help. When the coordinator resigned in March the program experienced difficulties. We are working together to get this program running again in September. Tutor Bruce Wright and Student Shenaz Parmar Quotes from learners: “I couldn’t even open my computer when I first came here. Now I can check my email and stay in better contact with relatives around the world.” Shenaz Parmar “I thank God for this program! My tutor makes it exciting. He makes me want to come back to learn more. I keep telling people, come try it out. It seems hard at first but it gets easier” Quote from the high school student tutor Andi Lantz: “A woman came in because she had lost an email that had all these pictures of her mother. I was able to retrieve them and she teared up she was so happy. I find it really rewarding when I get to help people like that” See appendix A for an article published in the Oliver Chronicle. 3. There is strong community support for our Family Literacy Week activities. Businesses provided donations and prizes. The Western News promoted the event and printed the Unplug and Play passports for families several times. Learning organizations hosted tables with activities for kids, and information for families. Community agencies, libraries and schools provided Unplug and Play passports. This year we saw an increase in the number of families participating in our family literacy day event. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |15 •
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Number of books collected from the Heap the Honda Book drive: 398 compared to 249 in Jan 2013 Number of new books given out to individual children from Raise a Reader: 453 compared to 409 in 2013 and 300 in 2012 Children and families participating at booths from 13 agencies increased this year. Last year the Strong Start booth reported 80 children created bookmarks. This year 180 bookmarks were made. Comments collected from families about the Unplug and Play Challenge: Dad: We unplugged and got out the sports equipment, went outside and played. It was a good reminder to do the things we enjoyed as kids. Grandmother of 5 grandchildren: We have all the games, the Nintendo, the x box, when the kids brought this home, I locked up the electronic things and told them we would unplug for the whole week. They went outside for 2.5 hours, I had them making necklaces before breakfast, we all went out for dinner and no one was allowed to bring their phones. We played board games. It was great. This shouldn’t just be one week of the year, it should be more often. Dad: We unplugged and it was much harder for my 9-­‐year-­‐old son than my 7-­‐year-­‐old daughter. Mom: Last year I came to the event with my daughter and we had a good time. This year when I saw it advertised we planned on coming again. We will stay for the whole event. It is so great. 4. For our 5th annual Adult Spelling Bee fundraiser, Okanagan College partnered to help organize the event, and the City of Penticton became an event sponsor. This event raises the profile of literacy issues in our community and the programs and services that are offered to address them. As a result of these partnerships this event was the most profitable one to date. 16 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n 5. In October we began planning to bring the concept of Little Free Libraries to the South Okanagan. We have two existing now in Penticton and have five more interested community members who are now planning their Little Free Libraries. Robin and John Robertson, community members who put up the first Little Free Library in Penticton in their front yard, have many heartwarming stories to share about their experience. “This Library has fulfilled our goal of community development and sharing our love of reading. Penticton doesn’t have neighbourhood associations. We don’t have a central place in the neighbourhood where people can gather and get to know each other. There are no socials, or projects or a body that shares information.” This library has helped us get to know our neigh-­‐
bours. They have a reason to walk by the house and stop and talk. The library has become a destination. It’s a library that belongs to all of us and it has created a sense of neighbourhood pride. People care for it, they bring books, they stop and get to know the neighbours. People say to us “You’re the ones with the Little Library” Some leave notes in a book and tell people who they are. The other day I found a piece of foolscap ripped from a notebook that said ”I love your Little Library-­‐ age 21” “I have so many stories to share”, says Robin, “ A retired couple moved here from Christina Lake to be closer to health care. One night the woman said to her husband” I’m going to the library” He said” Oh honey, the library is closed”. She said” My little library never closes.” Now they bring books to share. They live 2 blocks down the street. I would never have met them if we didn’t have the Little Library”. “A young man working on our floors took 2 books for his three year old and was going home to read with her. These may become her introduction to the world of literacy.” Robin's library was created in memory of her mom, Irene, who loved to read and encouraged her children to appreciate books. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |17 6. Books for Babies which was established in Penticton, Naramata, Kaleden, Keremeos with the help of community groups in 2013. Raise a Reader, Penticton Herald, Kiwanis, Kinettes, Friends of the Naramata Library, Valley First and Argus trucking have continued their commitment of funds and in kind contributions to create book bags for babies born in 2014-­‐
2015. 7. Eighty-­‐one new volunteer tutors were trained this year to help with the One To One Program. Four new schools chose to start the program. Students who participate in the 10 week program at their school receive up to 40 individual 30-­‐minute reading sessions with a tutor. Almost all of the children show an increase in reading confidence and ability. Tutors tell us regularly that reading with the kids is one of the most rewarding things they do. “When you see the child you are working with light up, because they “get it”, it makes you feel so good. My time spent here is one of the highlights of my week.” 18 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n 6. CHALLENGES WHAT ARE THE DIFFICULTIES? WHAT WOULD HELP? Our greatest challenge is the sustainability of the literacy initiatives and activities of Literacy Now SO-­‐S. At the time when we learned of the loss of funding for our region, we reacted wondering which initiatives would be sustained and through what mechanism. The Task Group members felt defeated, and they expressed their frustration at having put the time into the development of the literacy plan and initiatives, that would be ending. It was difficult to form a group who would be willing to address sustainability. Eventually 3 persons from the Task Group met to begin the process. The work of the LOC ties the community together. Programs that are initiated by the Task Group are carried out by the LOC. Without the dedicated efforts of one person to bring the groups together for meetings and to share information, the work would not continue. We need the Ministry of Education to provide sustainable funding for the LOC position through Decoda, into the years ahead. In addition to sustained funding, our challenges are: •
The large rural nature of our region. We have not been reaching out to outlying communities as effectively as we could be. We do not have a real understanding of the community literacy needs, or the connections to address them in Hedley, Cawston and Keremeos. The aboriginal communities are also not serviced well. There are a large number of families living in poverty who are not getting the supports in these smaller communities. We see the poverty level increasing. A community literacy needs survey would help, and we have identified this, as well as outreach, as an action for the coming year. •
Poverty remains one of the biggest barriers to participation in programs to improve literacy. When adults are struggling to obtain safe housing and food, there is little likelihood that they will even be able to think about learning programs. When they do enter programs, the stresses associated with poverty make it difficult for them to attend, engage and learn. •
Having enough time to address all of the identified goals while maintaining our current activities and programs is an ongoing challenge. Our LOC works 24 hours per week, 44 weeks of the year and covers the geographical area of 2 school districts. •
Evaluation of our initiatives is lacking. We know we are doing good work, however we have not pursued any systematic mechanisms to measure success. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |19 •
Our Task Group has representation from agencies and services in our community. Meeting attendance has been sporadic by some members. The Task Group has become an information sharing group rather than a working group who tackles the District Literacy Plan goals together. We lack specific skills of marketing and business management among our membership. In the coming year we have a plan to address this challenge and revitalize the Task Group. 7. FOR THE COMING YEAR: 1. ARE THERE NEW OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES OR ISSUES IN YOUR COMMUNITY? The Task Group and additional community members met on April 3, to review the goals and actions of the past year, and to brainstorm the needs of the community, the needs for the Task Group and the directions and priorities for the coming year. The goal and actions identified in this plan are the result of the needs identified. 2. GOALS AND ACTIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR: 1) Revitalize the Task Group to become a working group responsive to community needs. Actions Planned: 1. Adopt a new Terms of Reference with detailed roles and responsibilities. 2. Fill the executive roles on the Task Group 3. Broaden membership of the Task Group to diversify the skills the Task Group members offer the group 4. Create succession planning for the Task Group executive positions 5. Individual Task Group members will be encouraged to assume more roles and re-­‐
sponsibilities as determined by the Task Group. 6. Continue outreach to outlying communities. 2) Maintain and enhance the current programs that address the literacy needs in our community Actions Planned: 1. Offer 5 Plain Language workshops 2. Host a variety of literacy focused events. 3. Increase the number of Little Free Libraries available in all of the communities in the South Okanagan 4. Provide district coordination of the One To One tutoring program 5. Develop and implement an evaluation mechanism for each of our activities. 6. Support the further development of the Computer Tutor program for seniors in Ol-­‐
iver 20 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n 3) Determine procedures to create sustainability for the current literacy programs offered. These programs include: Family Literacy Day, the district coordination of the One To One tutor program in schools, Plain Language workshops, Spelling Bee Challenge, Writing Out Loud, and adult literacy provider connections. Actions Planned: 1. Review each of the above initiatives and propose actions to make them sustaina-­‐
ble. 2. Convene a subcommittee, or to take a portion of each task group meeting to do this. 4) To build more relationships to reach adult learners, and enhance awareness of adult literacy programs, through connections and partnerships in the community. More adults and seniors will have the essential literacy skills to function in life. Actions Planned: 1. Support 6 Writing Out Loud sessions as an introduction to literacy activity through a partnership with agencies that serve vulnerable adults. 2. Support financial literacy sessions. 3. Conduct a community Adult Literacy Needs Assessment to determine the literacy needs in the communities of the South Okanagan. • Develop a plan to target the needs identified. 4. Support computer literacy programs. 5. Broaden and establish new connections with businesses’ and service agencies to support employees/clients with literacy challenges. 3. WHAT WILL BE REQUIRED TO MEET THE GOALS AND EFFECTIVELY EMPLOY ACTIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR? •
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Committed and passionate leadership Skilled coordination Strategic use of the LOC hours Learning and networking opportunities for the LOC A dedicated Task Group with active members. Skills among the members that bring marketing, benchmarking, and financial goal setting knowledge. Realistic framework and timeline for implementation of the goals Shared responsibility and collaboration to implement the identified goals. Relationships with more service agencies, businesses and community groups. In Kind contributions. Lots of Volunteers. Communication through media and partner promotional support. Funding Input, participation and feedback from the community, partners and learners. L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |21 4. HOW WILL WE MEASURE SUCCESS? •
We have identified specific goals and actions for the coming year. A work plan that is constructed with input from the Task Group with specific timelines, responsibilities and measurements of success will assist us in the evaluation of the goals and actions that are producing results. •
We have identified ways to measure the success of the Writing Out Loud programs we will offer in the coming year by asking targeted questions of the participants. •
Feedback on our programs will be solicited from participants, volunteers, and community partners. •
More of our programs will become sustainable. •
The Task Group is revitalized and works together to achieve the goals we have identified. 22 | L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n APPENDIX A: •
Website: www.literacynowso-­‐s.ca •
BUZZ: http://www.literacynowso-­‐s.ca/pdfs/buzz%202013%2005.pdf •
Oliver Chronicle Wednesday March 19, 2014: http://www.oliverchronicle.com/ •
SOSBIS: http://sosbis.com/files/2014/04/Brainwavesnewsletterspring20142pub1.pdf L N S O – S D i s t r i c t L i t e r a c y P l a n |23 Princess Margaret Secondary School 120 Green Avenue West Penticton, BC V2A 3T1 Principal: Terry Grady Vice‐Principal: Sandra Richardson Vice‐Principal: Trevor Robinson ______________________________________________________________________________ School Improvement Plan 2013‐14 PLANNING FOR STUDENT SUCCESS Description of Princess Margaret Secondary School Welcome to Princess Margaret Secondary School ‐ “Home of the Mustangs”! Princess Margaret officially opened its doors in September 28th, 1958 with 200 students enrolled in grades 8‐10 along with 19 staff members. Our ‘new’ Princess Margaret Secondary School opened in October 28th, 2002 with our first graduating class in June 2004. Today, our school enrolls approximately 580 students in grades 9‐12 with an excellent teaching staff comprised of 3 administrators, 2.5 office staff, 35 teachers, 12 educational assistants, 4 custodians, a library assistant and a Child Care Worker. Our school community includes a significant first nation’s population and is located within the traditional Okanagan Nation territory. Our school is fed from four elementary schools and one middle school. Name: Princess Margaret Secondary School Address: 120 Green Avenue West, Penticton, BC, V2A 3T1 Telephone: (250) 770 7620 Fax: (250) 492 7649 Website: http://sd67.bc.ca/schools/pm INQUIRY QUESTION(S) If our school places increased emphasis on improving student engagement and work completion rate, will it result in increased grades, graduation and school completion percentages? RATIONALE (Why are we asking this question?) Seven years ago we began to analyze the factors that were preventing students from having success in school and ultimately graduating. We came up with two primary indicators: a) the lack of school engagement which often results in, b) inconsistent attendance patterns, and the resulting missing assignments. We began to structure our school to address these issues. STRUCTURES AND STRATEGIES (What are we going to do?) We realized that the impact of missing work had a dramatic effect on academic performance. Assignments not submitted result in zeroes in the teacher gradebooks. We began to research grading and assessment practices. This resulted in the following changes: 1.
Work assigned is work expected. Don’t include zeroes in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement or use “I” for Incomplete or Insufficient Evidence: • Resist including homework in the gradebook • Resist reducing scores for late work • Resist using a mark of “zero” for work not handed in • Consider allowing students to re‐write tests and quizzes • Consider exploring different grading practices and Assessment for Learning strategies • Intervention strategies were developed to support teachers and students in efforts to see required work submitted. The most successful and broad‐based of these interventions has been the development of the lunchtime “Homework Club”. Staffed by a CEA, this club has been extremely successful in helping students complete missing assignments. (see Home Work Club Stats 2013‐14) • Expertise continues to be developed at the staff level to support growth in assessment and grading practices. We have had the opportunity to share our experience with colleagues at a number of workshops and conferences. We continue to make excellent progress in the areas of fair and equitable grading practices and assessment for learning strategies. 2.
• • • • • • • • We need to develop a culture of support at school that leads/emphasizes mutual respect and trust. In doing so, we hope to improve student engagement and therefore improved attendance: Review protocols, processes and communication regarding attendance policy to ensure that we develop partnerships with students and parents in emphasizing the importance of being in class and on time. Four times each semester the administration conducted an “administration sweep” of the hall way, collecting all students who were late to class. Students were reminded of the importance of punctuality and are sent back to class. Letters/phone calls are then sent home to parents outlining the number of lates the student has accumulated. As well, parents are asked to speak to their child about the importance of punctuality. Reduce the use of “approved study” and encourage all students to assume a full course load. Leadership/Grade 9 Transition – Semester one grade 9 Leadership students meet as a group. In semester 2 we bring together our grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 Leadership students. This focus of transition is providing our “new Leadership 9 students” with transition support. Fostering relationships between seniors and incoming students eases the transition from middle school to high school. Peer Mentoring, Peer Tutoring, Peer Counselling is a course widely subscribed to by our grade 11 and 12 students. This helps to enhance the culture of support that is so critical to student success. A.I.R. (Accountability, Integrity, Respect) are our core values. We teach our expectations in the area of social responsibility by delivering AIR lessons on a regular basis. These are short lessons with themes that reflect our core values. Many of these lessons are developed and delivered by our students. Leadership course credit is available to all students at Princess Margaret. The focus is on providing services to others. This can include anything from running a student activity to raising funds to travel to Tanzania to help the needy in that country. We have a strong history of being service providers. Our instructional practices are evolving to create more student engagement in lessons. More student‐directed learning would increase value of attendance for students. We are experienced in SMART learning concepts and the uses of differentiated instruction. • Our two collaborative groups, Through A Different Lens (TADL) and The Happiness Advantage (a book study), focus on students who are deemed “at risk” of failing, dropping out or simply not being as successful as they could, by a teacher. • We offered a series of the Be the Change workshops to 80 grade 10 students and 40 grade 12 students. The workshop is designed to increase personal power and self‐
esteem, to shift dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support and to eliminate the acceptability of teasing, bullying, violence and all forms of oppression. This day is designed to unite the students of the school and to empower them to carry the themes of the program back to the greater school population. We hope to successfully address the issues of violence, teasing, social oppression, racism, harassment, conflict management, suicide, peer pressure, alcohol and drugs. • We have identified a number of “at risk” grade 9 and 10 female students. A CEA, Youth Care Worker and a Vice‐Principal meet with the girls weekly. The girls participated in a variety of activities designed to help better connect them to school staff and ultimately to school. As well they have participated in activities that will help them prepare for the work force, skills that they are often lacking. • We have identified a number of “at risk” grade 9, 10 and 11 aboriginal male students. Two CEA’s, the Aboriginal Education teacher and the Principal attended a training workshop by West Coast Empowerment Training. The workshop was on hosting effective boys group, specifically for First Nations boys. This boys group met approximately two times per month during the second semester. The boys participated in a variety of activities and events, including activities with cultural significance. All events/activities were designed to help better connect them to school, school staff, their behavior and heritage. • An Aboriginal Leadership group consisting of students from the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) was assembled to build connections between the Outma School (the PIB Cultural school) and students at Princess Margaret. These Aboriginal Leadership students participated in a number of cultural activities such as traditional mat weaving. • Our staff is continuing to refine their understanding and practice of Response to Intervention (RTI). They are developing and refining preventative strategies to assist struggling learners in class rooms before the student becomes disconnected from their learning. This occurs at level one of intervention (early interventions). They continue to explore strategies at level two of the intervention pyramid. This consists of more intense service in the classroom with fewer students. They continue to refine more personalized service (IEP’s) for students who are at the top of the RTI pyramid of service. • We continue to seek ways to increase the engagement and school connectedness of our First Nations students here at Princess Margaret. During the past year, the following initiatives have been undertaken: • A new school sign has been installed in front of the school with Syilx language written on it. The school sign in the Common Area that once read AIR – Accountability, Integrity and Respect now has these words written in Syilx. • In 2013/14 English First People’s was offered at Princess Margaret – two classes at grade 10 and one at grade 12. • We have staff members on both the District Aboriginal Education Advisory Council and on the District Aboriginal Education Council. • In 2012‐13 our Aboriginal Education service model has moved from a student resource room model to a model that encourages students to stay in their assigned classrooms. • In September 2013 our school hosted a parent‐teacher evening at the PIB in the Outma Cultural school. The evening featured a potlatch dinner with food provided by PIB parents and school staff. Our hope is to establish a trusting relationship with parents from the PIB so together we can work at educating their children. • In February 2014 a Dry Grad parent function, the traditional school spaghetti dinner was moved from Princess Margaret to the Outma language and cultural school on the PIB. Again this was an opportunity we created to promote good‐will and trust between the school and the PIB. • In 2013 at the Grad ceremonies, the Principal of the school spoke a number of words in Syilx. 3.
We have created predictable opportunities for our staff to engage in professional, reflective dialogue designed to improve the performance and connectedness to school for of all of our students, but especially for our “at risk” students: • In 2013‐14 we have created 13 structured 60 minute Collaborative Planning Meetings for staff. They are pursuing forms of action research or School Inquiry that are self‐
selected. These meetings take place during the bell schedule. Minor adjustments to the regular bell schedule have provided us with this opportunity. This year there are two different groups active in this process. • The progress or experiences staff had with the students each respective staff member chose to follow was discussed during the collaborative group meetings. Many members of the two collaborative group blogged their respective case studies throughout the school year. The two collaborative study groups were: 1. Through A Different Lens (TADL) – One of the barriers to success that many of our vulnerable learners face is the limited opportunities to demonstrate their level of proficiency in any subject area; students are disproportionately asked to demonstrate their learning through pen and paper assessments that force an over reliance on reading and writing. TADL seeks to capitalize on students’ interests, talents and strengths. 28 staff members participated in this group. 2. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – a book review. If we choose to be happy despite our circumstance, we tend to be successful at what we do. Choosing to be happy can be a choice that gives one an advantage at becoming a successful person. This group looked at ways we could help students choose to be happy despite their trials and circumstances. • Be the Change Team ‐ This group that was formed in 2010‐11 continues to meet outside of collaboration time. We acknowledge that students who feel connected to school are likely to be more successful. Can connectedness to school be positively impacted by exposing students to a workshop designed to build bonds between individuals and across the greater school community? This year we held two workshops for a total of 80 grade 10 students and one workshop for 40 grade 12 students. Next year we plan on holding three workshops simultaneously for all our grade 10 students. RESOURCES: • This year the staff had 13 collaborative planning days – predictable 60 minute meeting times to meet in a collaborative group with colleagues. Collaborative planning time provides opportunities for staff to engage in reflective dialogue regarding best practice. We believe that privacy of practice produces isolation and isolation is the enemy of improvement. We subscribe to the theory that all the knowledge and skills we require to improve student achievement rests in the hearts and minds of our staff. This year we had two collaborative Planning groups. Through A Different Lens (TADL) and a book review group who review the book, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The TADL group and it’s 28 members continued to build capacity and acceptance of alternate forms of learning by both teachers and students at all levels in the high school. The Happiness Advantage focused on empowering students to “see the glass is half full and not half empty”. By empowering students to be positive even during challenging times, students could become more resilient. • • • • In September 2012 our staff spent one school improvement day looking at ways we could support our “at risk” students, particularly the ones who struggle with anxiety. A guest speaker was brought in to the school who shared ways we can help connect these “at risk” students back to school. The staff identified the students they have personal connections with. The ones who had no or very few staff members that connected with them tend to be our vulnerable students. This year our staff will be doing a book study. The focus of the book will be helping teenage students recognize for themselves symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression as well as reacting proactively to these symptoms. We have a number of staff members sitting on the Aboriginal Enhancement work group, looking at strategies that will better engage our vulnerable First Nations students. We offered the Gateway to The Trades Program in the second semester at Princess Margaret. Primarily students who are at risk of not earning enough credits towards graduation, as well as having an interest in the trades, attend this program full time. 16 grade 12 credits are earned when they complete the program. In May 2014, two staff members and an administrator attended the International Reading Association Literacy conference. As part of a school district 67 team, our hope is to start some conversations with vertical teams regarding literacy. Our hope is to work with our elementary and middle school colleagues at identifying struggling readers and address the issues with consistent and common strategies. Next Year: While we believe what we are doing is making a positive difference in the success of many of our at risk students. We also believe there is a population of at risk students who we have not yet addressed their specific needs. Specifically these are students who struggle with mental health/wellness issues, anxiety, avoidance and depression. We are going to identify a book that addresses teen anxiety, depression and metal health/wellness issues. As a staff, we are going to read and review the book. We are going to teach all students in grade 9 the coping strategies the book suggests students use when dealing with anxiety, depression and mental health/wellness issues. Our hope is to teach students how to cope and self‐regulate themselves so when they are faced with the difficult and tumultuous times teens experience, they will have some tools to help them successfully navigate through those difficult times. By doing this, our hope is that students will stay more connected to school during the difficult times rather than avoid and check out. Our Key Findings: GRAD RATES First time Grade 12 Total Grade 12’s
Graduates
Percentage
2005/06 157
145
92% 2006/07 140
111
79% 2007/08 136
126
93% 2008/09 147
143
97% 2009/10 117
109
93% 2010/11 167
159
95% 2011/12 136
127
93% 2012/13 134
133
99% Grad Rates Home Work Club Stats 2013‐14 Completed assignments means the student is not receiving a zero for the incomplete assignment. As well, because the student worked on the assignment rather than take a zero for not doing the assignment, some learning has taken place. Date Oct 7 Oct 8 Oct 10 Oct 11 Oct 16 Oct 17 Oct 18 Oct 22 Oct 24 Oct 25 Oct 28 Oct 29 Oct 30 Nov 4 Nov 5 Nov 6 Nov 7 Nov 8 Nov 24 Nov 26 Nov 27 Nov 28 Dec 2 Dec 3 Dec 4 Dec 6 Dec 11 Dec 17 Dec 10 Dec 18 Assigned Attended School Absent Work Done elsewhere or Before HW Club 5 5 4 3 1 9 6 1 2 6 6 12 7 3 9 9 8 5 2 5 5 13 11 2 12 10 1 1 15 10 3 1 9 7 2 8 6 1 11 10 12 10 1 1 14 11 2 1 18 16 2 21 17 1 3 7 7 12 10 2 15 14 11 11 16 10 3 2 9 7 1 6 2 1 2 10 4 1 3 22 15 2 16 15 12 5 5 9 6 3 2 NS Assigned in Reassigned school suspensions
2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 1 2 1 1 1 1 Date Assigned Jan 8 Jan 9 Jan 25 Jan 21 Jan 23 Feb 12 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 19 Feb 25 Feb 28 Mar 4 Mar 5 Mar 6 April 1 April 2 April 4 April 8 April 23 April 24 April 25 April 30 May 2 4 14 6 11 8 9 2 8 7 11 13 9 8 21 21 23 18 20 3 5 11 9 7 Attended School Absent Work Done elsewhere or Before HW Club 3 1 11 1 1 0 3 3 3 3 2 4 1 7 1 1 1 1 7 2 1 4 3 5 2 3 7 3 1 1 8 3 5 7 3 11 15 2 4 12 2 7 4 5 2 4 1 7 1 1 6 3 6 NS Date 1 3 3 1 2 3 2 1 3 2 4 3 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 
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