When it all comes together

Back in September we set out a plan or vision for school improvement. We communicated this vision and plan with our staff and documented and identified implementation strategies on our School Improvement Plan.

Despite the daily challenges in our building with behaviour, discipline and the interruptions of daily school life we worked diligently to keep the focus on both student and teacher learning. Part of the challenge of ensuring that we are staying on track with school improvement is monitoring our progress.

This week I had the pleasure of working with my staff to analyze student work. In November, teachers implemented a number line task that focused on ordering and comparing numbers on the number line. The follow up task teachers implemented last week focused on students’ ability to use the number line for operations, specifically subtraction. This was a cold task and we wanted to see if the work we had been doing on number lines had impacted students’ learning. We were also looking to see if students were applying the other models that teachers had been intentionally focusing on.

We followed a protocol and identified criteria to analyze students’ work. The discussion was very rich and we uncovered many trends across and among grades. We uncovered incredible growth in student learning and alignment in our work. Teachers were able to make connections with their grade partners and between grades. They were able to see the progression of student thinking, common misconceptions and gaps in students’ understanding. Teachers were able to identify next steps for their students and for their teaching and professional learning. Our math facilitator who was at the table with us was able to connect with individual teachers to offer differentiated support based on individual student and teacher needs. As administrators we were able to analyze the data collected across grades to identify school wide trends and intentional next steps in our school improvement planning.

What did this process reveal to us? It validated the hard work teachers have been doing in their classes to improve student learning. Their intentional focus on models (Parts/Whole, Number lines and decomposition) is working! Students are making connections between models and are implementing them in order to solve problems. It reassured us that we are on the right track and that what we had initially identified as our plan with implementation strategies

and monitoring has made a difference.

As a leader it is very satisfying to see that the vision you have communicated has been operationalized and made a difference in student learning!

How do you ensure you are on the right track with your school improvement planning? How do you monitor your work? How do you respond to what you uncover?

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