Spruce Grove Composite
High School (10–12)

Assurance Report

2017-2018 Assurance Report

Principal: Cheryl Otto
School Council Chair: Dale Stenback

Vision: Parkland School Division is a community of engaged learners where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams.

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Background
Inclusive Education
Quality Learning
Culture of Wellness
Universal Leadership
Engagement/Communication
Resource Stewardship

Background

As a member of the Parkland School Division family of schools, Spruce Grove Composite High School utilizes a robust Assurance Model to understand stakeholder feedback better. Working with an Assurance Model means that SGCHS, Parkland School Division and the Board of Trustees actively seek 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.

SGCHS 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?

SGCHS’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, and is presented on our school website.

Strengths are highlighted as areas that are working well in SGCHS. 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 areas 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 areas in need of growth.

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.

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 it is committed to fostering physical literacy, lifelong health and well-being at all levels. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student well-being 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.

Process

Getting feedback is important to us here at SGCHS. By examining information gathered through formal processes such as the Accountability Pillar, Tell Them From Me Survey and ThoughtExchange Questionnaires as well as feedback gleaned through less formal means such as conversations with students and parents, we can process where we are at from the perspective of our stakeholders and where we need to go to fulfill their and our own expectations when it comes to the goals we have created for ourselves. The ability to check whether or not we are meeting the target helps to keep us focused on that very target.

Because this is a living document, it is important that we constantly reflect on what it is we need to be doing and how we are doing it in order to meet our improvement goals.


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Inclusive Education

Strengths

All of the support that has been provided.  My Child is on the Autism Spectrum and is doing amazing.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

Seminar….love it when my child needs extra teacher time.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

Inclusive Education means making the most of the learning for all of our students.

The data collected through ThoughtExchange shows us that parents recognize our desire to provide education to all our students.  We provide a safe, caring environment which meets students where they are at and moves them forward in their learning.  We are pleased to be offering PLACE (Practical Living and Community Education) and LAWS (Life Academic Working Skills) programming for our students who require it, in addition to our regular and K & E programs.

The feedback we received also demonstrates that parents recognize the flexibility and support our seminar and personal learning time gives their children. The Accountability Pillar survey reinforces this value, as our students and parents agree that our teachers are available to help them learn when they are struggling.  

Our students, parents and staff all appreciate student choice and voice in determining where to spend their flexible learning time. By allowing for student input, we are helping our students to recognize their areas of strength and areas where they need improvement; they then, in turn, access the needed supports during regularly scheduled times in order to make the most of their education.

Opportunities

The addition of Practical Living and Community Education (PLACE) and Living, Academic, Work Skills (LAWS) has lent itself to much collaboration with our sister school, Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain.  This has allowed for both students and staff to meet together and expand both schools’ programming through various teas, socials and fieldtrips.  We are currently teaming with Memorial for a few professional development days in order to extend this collaboration to other staff members in both our buildings. Learning from and with our neighbours strengthens all our programs.

Aspirations

One thing we are working toward this year is finding real-life occupational experience for our Knowledge & Employability students.  Working with Memorial in our Inclusive Ed Pod, we have chosen to focus on how we gain practical hands on experience for our students in the current employment climate. 

Also, we are digging down into seminar.  We know that it works for students who use it but what about those who choose not to use it, who choose not to engage in learning this way?  We have a committed group of staff who are examining if there is a way we can connect to these particular students so we can assist them in using seminar and professional learning time to their advantage.

Results

What are we hoping to achieve? Ultimately, we want to have all our students engaged and in charge of their learning. We want to see that our flexible learning environment has served them well. We want our students to have practical skills they can take with them into the world of work when they leave high school behind.  

How will we know if they get there? Our data will be reflective of this; our various surveys, including ThoughtExchange and the Accountability Pillar, will continue to reflect the positive behaviours of our students towards their ownership of their learning.

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Quality Learning

Strengths

Great Teachers.  They are positive, available and set a good learning environment.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

Teachers work hard to engage students.  More learning takes place when it is made interesting.

-SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

Our staff love what they do - and this is evident in our data.

Our Accountability Pillar and ThoughtExchange survey results reinforce that our teachers, parents and students are satisfied with the quality of education provided at SGCHS.

The work students are expected to do challenges and interests them appropriately, and the teachers provide support necessary for these challenges to be met.

Our students tell us that they know what is required of them and that they are engaged in the relevant learning. They feel their teachers are advocates for them and their learning.

Opportunities

As stated previously, we see the need to connect students to the importance of their choice, and ensure they have a voice in their education. With this acknowledgement comes a recognition that we need to reflect on not only our students’ practices, but our own as well.

In engaging our students, we need to examine what we are doing well (e.g. building staff/student relationships) and what we need to work on (e.g. scaffolding critical thinking and metacognition into our lesson delivery in order to aid our students in becoming more independent, life-long learners).

Aspirations

Professional Development takes place in many different ways. Teachers shadowing their colleagues, working collaboratively within their departments, with other teachers who share common interests, with their sister school counterparts, and attending professional development workshops and conferences allows teachers to broaden their practice. Teachers at SGCHS engage in all of these opportunities as we are all striving to continue our practice of delivering Quality Learning to our students.

Results

As our teachers become more able to integrate their professional learning (acquired both independently and through their Teacher Collaborative Time (TCT)) into their practice, we should continue to see improved survey results in the areas of student interest and engagement and Quality Learning.


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Culture of Wellness

Strengths

I like that each grade has a coordinator. 

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

I appreciate the work that Student Services provides.

-SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

The options for kids to feel involved in school activities.  The sense of belonging is what makes or breaks high school years.

-SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

The care and attention our teachers invest in our students is recognized by our stakeholders, as our ThoughtExchange survey supports. 

Opportunities

When it comes to Wellness, areas of concern in the Accountability Pillar survey results are both our Safe and Caring and our Citizenship measures. Digging down, we find that our students and parents do not feel our student body is supportive of itself; peers are often seen as being a negative impact on student learning and overall well-being. 

Aspirations

We continue to encourage staff who have not yet received Mental Health First Aid training to complete it (Well over half our staff has it). We have established a team of students as mentors for the Red Cross “Beyond the Hurt” anti-bullying program.  These students have completed training and will be working with other students to assist in standing up to bullying.  Many of our staff members have designed their professional learning around positively impacting school culture.

Results

It is our hope, of course, that we can improve students’ sense of belonging and lower incidences of bullying behaviour. Having many staff trained in Mental Health First Aid and many staff working towards positive school culture will help us to establish a better system of support for our students. In addition, our work to uproot the bullying and bystander behaviour in our school will empower students to take a stand against these acts. Our data should reflect that our school is safe and caring and that our students are responsible citizens. 


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Universal Leadership

Strengths

Teachers involved in sports programs.  They have a great connection with the kids.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

Leadership can take many forms. Here at SGCHS, we believe that everyone is a leader, first and foremost, in their learning. As we discussed previously, our flexible learning time allows students to be the leaders of their own learning through their choice and voice during Seminar and Personal Learning Time.

We also provide many opportunities for our entire school community to explore various leadership roles. These opportunities may take the form of students joining clubs, like a book club or the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), or staff members volunteering to facilitate these clubs. It may mean a student leading the basketball team as their captain, or a staff member choosing to offer some mindfulness practice to colleagues. It may mean students choosing to participate in our Student Voice Forum started last year or teachers choosing to belong to the Superintendents Advisory Committee.

We are fortunate that so many members of our community have much to offer in the form of both extrinsic and intrinsic leadership.

Opportunities

As always, we need to be mindful in how to bring out the leader in all members of our school community. While there are many, many opportunities at SGCHS, we need to be open to alternate suggestions coming from our students and staff in order to ensure that we continue to grow. 

This year, we have encouraged staff to follow their why—why they are passionate about education—as they pursue what we are calling Buildership in their professional learning.  The staff is focusing on building student engagement cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally.

Aspirations

Our motto at Spruce Grove Composite High School is toBuild Excellence and Success Together. We are builders who aspire to be a place where all members feel motivated and empowered to make the best contribution they can. Universal leadership development of staff and students will allow us to improve the best of all of us.

Over the course of this year, staff will be working through the design process on their various “whys” and how these connect to student cognitive, emotional and behavioral engagement.

Results

By monitoring the data we collect, both formally and informally, we will be able to monitor the growth in universal leadership roles taken on by staff and students. As these roles become more embedded in the culture of SGCHS, they will reinforce the sense of belonging and connections we are working to build.

One direct improvement we hope to see is an increase in the Accountability Pillar’s rating of our students’ levels of citizenship, as they begin to transfer skills and knowledge they are acquiring as leaders here in our building into their lives outside of high school.


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Engagement/Communication

Strengths

PowerSchool is a great tool for sharing information with parents.  Easy to use, up to date information.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

I appreciate update emails I receive from the teachers.  

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

We feel very welcome.  The intro for first time parent of high school kids was very well done.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

Our ThoughtExchange data has informed us that our parent community appreciates communications they receive from staff via PowerSchool, School Messenger (our automated callout system), email, telephone calls, our website and information nights. 

Opportunities

The Accountability Pillar’s data indicate that our parents want more involvement. As there were only 37 parents who responded to the Accountability Pillar survey, it is hard to determine if this data is a true reflection of the majority of our parent community.

Our ThoughtExchange data indicates that parents like receiving the information regarding attendance, assignment completion, grades, etc because their students are not bringing home the information to share; by providing it, we are helping parents to be involved.  This contradicts what we heard in the Accountability Pillar and requires us digging further to find out when and how parents do want us to involve them.

Aspirations

Ultimately, we would like to see 100% participation by parents in the PowerSchool Portal. Currently, 92% (up from 88%) of parents are accessing their child’s PowerSchool data through the mobile app, 77% (up from 70%) are accessing it via computer and 46% (down from 61%) are accessing it through emailed progress reports.  This tells us that the ability to access student marks and attendance at any time has downplayed the need for a printed progress report.  

We need to continue to target parents so that these numbers go up and parents feel they are more connected to their child’s learning progress.

We also have chosen to start a monthly school newsletter to highlight the goings on here at SGCHS so that parents can know what is happening in our school.

Results

Our PowerSchool report should indicate an increase in portal use, as it has this past year. As well, data collected through ThoughtExchange and the Accountability Pillar should demonstrate an increase in the percentage of parents who are satisfied with their level of involvement in decisions about their child’s education.

We will continue to explore options to try to increase the number of parents from whom we can gather relevant data, as we would like a more realistic and accurate portrayal of our parent community.


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Resource Stewardship

Strengths

Love the variety of classes and options which are provided.  The variety is great to meet the needs and interests of different students.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

There is access to facilities that other schools do not have.  Example:  gender neutral washrooms, isolated study rooms in the library.  This gives kids comfort knowing the proper facilities are available for their needs.

-SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

We have always strived to deliver a range of programs to satisfy and equal our students’ range of interests. We offer multiple second language classes, a variety of fine arts programs, almost all the Career & Technology Studies (CTS) strands, work experience opportunities as well as regular academic programs. We have many clubs, teams and events, which give all students an opportunity to contribute to and be a part of SGCHS.

We have been working with Parkland School Division's Facilities Services department to modernize the building the last two years. This has brought us new rooftop units for our heating system, a complete ventilation cleaning, new lino on the second and third floors, new paint in the main floor hallways, a new greenspace outside the north, now main, entrance, two new classrooms and a new breakout space, our gender neutral washrooms, our new Academic Achievement Centre (InReach), and our new cosmetology lab.

Opportunities

Overcrowding.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

This school is in desperate need of repairs, quite discouraging and unhealthy for our kids.  Something needs to be done ASAP.

-SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange

….and something has been over the last two years but we need to continue to work with Parkland School Division's Facilities Services to get our building back to top shape.  Our ThoughtExchange data is starting to reflect that our parent community recognizes we are methodically working our way through a list to modernize SGCHS as there are fewer parents who state this as a top priority.  

The data collected through ThoughtExchange also tells us there is a strong belief among stakeholders that our school is overcrowded. The actual statistics still do not support this belief. Last year, our student population peaked at 987 in September; currently, it sits at 1005, while capacity is 1,260.

Aspirations

Knowing that our enrolment is going to exceed our capacity in as little as 4 years, we have been working very closely with Facilities and the Division.  We are now the Division’s number one priority for major modification as suggested by the many modifications which have taken place the last two years.  These are continuing.  Currently, Facilities is modernizing one of our Chemistry classrooms on the third floor.  Once this is complete, second floor classrooms will begin to receive paint and flooring updates.  These updates are projected to continue for the next few years until all second and third floor classrooms are complete.

Results

Again, we are looking to see positive changes in our data, especially that collected through ThoughtExchange, as this is where we saw the most evidence of concern for the state of our building. Instead of hearing that our building is past its prime, we hope to renew a sense of pride in its appearance and maintain interest and support for the variety of programs we are able to offer in our mid-sized Alberta High School. 


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Wellness Focus

Excellent transitional planning. Our family really appreciates how the SGCHS staff have worked to transition the children from middle school to high school. Our daughter has made the transition seamlessly and is really enjoying her time at SGCHS.

- SGCHS Parent via ThoughtExchange
 

As a staff, we are still concerned about the high levels of depression and anxiety experienced by our students. We know that the transition to high school can be difficult, so we have done our best to alleviate the stresses it can cause.

For several years, we have maintained a staggered start to the school year, with Grade 10s attending their first day at SGCHS without Grade 11s or 12s present. This year, we’ve taken it a step further, having the Grade 10s participate in team-building games that encouraged them to engage with peers they know from their own feeder school, as well as new peers coming from other feeder schools. The entire staff was involved in various ways, from leading a group between the various activities to hosting the activities themselves. We were supported by key members of our student body through the Students’ Union. The intent was to expose the Grade 10s to as many positive people and experiences as possible in a very short time, so they would feel welcome and could share in our Panther Pride. The feedback we received from students, parents and staff was positive.

Of course, these kinds of initiatives do not guarantee that our students won’t experience anxiety or depression, but it is our hope that through them we are able to convey to our students that SGCHS is filled with adults who care about their well-being.

As we continue our professional learning regarding our students’ well-being, over half our staff now have Mental Health First Aid training, and all our administration has VTRA Training Level One. We also have two Health Champions advocating for healthy choices for our students.

Our Health Champions are working hard to remind us that it is not solely our students’ wellness that we need to keep in mind. In fact, they are now starting all Teacher Collaborative Time days for interested staff with either a mindfulness session or physical workout. Our October professional development day also incorporated opportunities for staff to focus on their personal wellness.

Personal wellness is important to us all. Being able to have a balance between life and learning makes for better learning for us all. 


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