2013-14 Community Report for Rockingstone Heights School At Rockingstone, the staff has used the Continuous School Improvement process to examine student achievement and teacher practice as we focus on increasing academic success in our building. During the last 5 years, learning and teaching have changed in our school community and a culture has been created where education is collaborative, flexible and student centered. The 2013-2014 school year was the last with our current plan and after presenting our results to an External Review team, we earned “Improving School” status. This year, we maintained our focus on improving student performance using the following strategies: Data Collection and Analysis While teachers reviewed all major sources of data throughout the year, particular attention was paid to the information provided through our individualized assessment plans. These plans are created by classroom teachers and provide support for struggling learners. Daily Classroom Instruction This year, we continued with our major classroom strategies of using Reading and Writing Workshops during ELA and the three part lesson plan and parallel and open ended tasks in Math. It is also important to note that daily classroom instruction was closely linked to the discussions in weekly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings and our individualized assessment plans. Professional Learning Communities Classroom teachers continue to meet for an hour each week in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to examine classroom data and create individualized assessment plans to support students. These plans allow teachers to identify students who are struggling, plan specific instructional steps to support them and assess their success on an ongoing basis. Support Blocks In each of the last 4 years we have used support blocks in ELA and Math classes at all grade levels. This strategy involves having additional teachers scheduled into classes to support students during their off blocks. The key parts of this approach are flexibility (the supporting staff member was used in a variety of ways) and small group and one on one instruction. Professional Development This year, there were two main areas of focus in professional development for the staff at Rockingstone. The first was the implementation of the new math curriculum, something our staff worked very hard on. We also chose to shift our focus to the school’s climate this year and engage in a significant amount of professional development on Restorative Approaches and Cultural Proficiency. These areas will remain priorities for the coming year. In addition to our Literacy and Numeracy goals, the staff at Rockingstone committed to improving the school’s climate through the implementation of two additional major initiatives that we believe will have a significant impact on student success. The initiatives are: Restorative Approaches As with all schools in the JL Ilsley Family, we began a journey to become a Restorative Approaches school. The Restorative philosophy places a focus on building positive relationships and resolving conflict in a manner that restores those relationships and values all people in the school. The result is a stronger, more positive community where disruptive incidents are few. Teachers have embraced this philosophy and implemented a variety of supporting classroom and school wide activities. The Rockingstone Hub Our vision of a “wrap around” or hub school is to create a place where the families of the children who attend Rockingstone will find the supports and programs they need to overcome the many barriers that confront people in this community. When we address these challenges, students will be healthier and happier and more likely to reach their academic potential. Our partners include: Board Staff Halifax Police Department Schools Plus MSVU - Department of Education (Psychology) Dalhousie Faculty of Law Dalhousie Department of Psychiatry Dalhousie School of Medicine Family SOS Primary Health, IWK Public Health Chebucto Family Centre With the support of these partners and others, we brought many programs to the school this year. For example, in April we opened the only Early Years Centre in a school in Halifax. The Centre is a place for children and families from ages 0-6 and provides specialized programs for infants, toddlers and their parents. We also established a Health Center with a full time nurse and a doctor who sees patients once a week. Recently, a pediatrician began working from the school one day a month. It is important to note that although we earned our “Improving School” status this year, the staff at Rockingstone recognizes that we have not completed our work. While many students have made significant academic gains in Numeracy and Literacy, too many are not achieving in line with the Board’s overall trends. In the 2014-2015 school year, we will undertake a full school review and identify new goals and strategies to continue improving as a school and support our students in reaching their full academic potential.