A pilot project to develop a secondary alternate report card was presented and approved by School District 57 trustees at Tuesday's public board meeting.
Lisa Horswell and Cherie Allen, teachers at the district's Centre for Learning Alternatives, were part of a learning team that developed the alternate report card. Designed to build self-esteem in students, the new report card is a customized user-friendly progress report for teachers that not only reflects the student's knowledge of the subject but positive behavioural steps taken to improve attitudes, work habits, effort, and social responsibility.
"We wanted to facilitate dialogue among the student, teacher and parents with regards to ways to support student learning," said Horswell. "Additionally, we wanted to build a platform to build discouraged learners' self esteem. So many students coming into our centre are discouraged about learning and are on the edge of giving up their academic career."
Staff will be better able to track student progress electronically, with the ability to produce printed updates to determine the percentage of work completed, letter grades, graduation credits needed, essential learning outcomes, estimated completion time of the course, and areas that need attention.
The new report cards are designed to appeal visually to students to encourage them to take note of their own progress. Eventually, Horswell said the centre will develop an alternate report card for elective subjects that would reflect indicators of student progress and the many essential learning outcome variables involved in those subjects.
n The district has approved 44 school-based learning team grants totalling $125,000 that will allow teachers to take part in professional development initiatives during regular school hours.
The workshops will on such broad topics as writing, numeracy, technology, literacy, assessment and project-based learning that will be available to 294 district teachers.
For example, two elementary school teachers from Westwood and Blackburn schools will study how to use media technology to stimulate student appreciation and awareness of First Nations cultures. At PGSS, eight teachers will determine how parents and students will respond to hands-on learning and practical concrete manipulative drills to learn math topics such as integers, fractions, and geometry.
"It demonstrates to our teachers in our district that the board and our senior leaning team value the work that's happening in our schools," said Cindy Heitman, district principal of curriculum and instruction, at Tuesday's public meeting.
Heitman said all learning team inquiry questions will be posted on the board website so teachers at other schools can get involved in the professional development activities of their colleagues.
n The board also approved a draft policy to provide schools with guidance on the care and display of flags on school properties, to be distributed to reference groups. All schools and each central administration office are required to display the flag of Canada on a flagpole as part of the School Act. The flag of British Columbia must be displayed on a flagpole or on a wall or beam in the school.
Superintendent Brian Pepper reported to the board there are 12 schools in the district with poles that lack halyards and pulleys which prevents staff from raising and lowering flags, as required during days of mourning the deaths of prominent people, when flags are flown at half-staff. To replace those poles would cost an estimated $10,000 each.