Aanii gikendaaso bemaadizid!
Mick Staruck Ndishnikaaz. I serve as the Yaasgaabwitaaget (System Principal) for the Wikwemikong Board of Education. Guided by the Wikwemikong Board of Education’s vision, mission, values and goals, the Wikwemikong Binoojiinh Gshkiwewziwin works closely with educators to improve teacher and student learning in Language Literacy and Numeracy.
At the core of our work with principals and education managers is the development of school improvement goals and plans. Critical to the implementation and monitoring of these is the development of a School Improvement Team for each school. Each member of the Wikwemikong Binoojiinh Gshkiwewziwin participates on one of our school’s School Improvement Teams. The educators will collectively review data and student evidence of learning, and determine the goals for the school year. Each goal will unfold in four phases throughout the school year:
Once the school goals are determined, educators will then engage in a weekly collaborative inquiry together to address a specific student learning need that data has made visible. They will then determine and address the corresponding teacher learning need that will help address the student need and close the achievement gap. Teaching and learning walks, which will include both administrators and teachers, will be one mechanism to monitor these collaborative inquiry focuses, as well as to empower teachers collaboratively in their learning.
The Wikwemikong Binoojiinh Gshkiwewziwin is an integral support to the School Improvement process. They are available to support educators and principals in addressing the student needs within the school goals. The personnel on the team all serve as facilitators of one of the collaborative inquiries within the schools. Each of the coaches meet with teachers regularly, analyzing data, determining student learning needs, research best practices, co-plan, co-teach, debrief and then plan next steps, as just a few of the many supports they provide to improve student learning and achievement. They are also responsive in developing and delivering professional development to teacher and principals when needed. The Student Success Team is comprised of:
Candace Cheechoo Numeracy Coach Kindergarten to Grade 6
Teina Pitawanakwat Literacy Coach Kindergarten to Grade 3
Caroline Black Instructional Coach Grades 4 to 8 Literacy/ Gr. 7 & 8 Numeracy
Jayne Summers Education Navigator Grades 8 to 12
We feel very fortunate to have this program in our community now for the past eight years. We are always willing to share and network with other communities as well, to further develop our own capacity, and the capacity of others.
Components & Programs
The purpose of student learning assessments is to gather information to support the school success planning process. The results of student learning assessments are used to identify areas to be targeted for improvement. Results are aggregated at the provincial and national levels to measure and report on progress and outcomes.
The purpose of the Performance Measurement component is to support a First Nation school’s ability to monitor the progress of students, manage school and program-related information, and make it easier to gather, analyze and report on financial performance indicators.
In support of the FNSSP proposal, student retention is a priority of the program. Overall we want our students to succeed and graduate from grade 12. There are many ways that this issue is being addressed directly and indirectly.
Looking at direct strategies all three schools has implemented the School Success Period. This is a whole class period, where struggling students can receive intense support from teachers to deal with those problematic learning areas.This is a great opportunity for students to increase their knowledge and gain the one-on-one or small group direction that they need.
Another direct strategy is through the SMART goals set by school improvement teams and professional learning communities. They may set a student retention goal to deal with a driving issue within their own school, apart from the other two schools.
Indirectly student retention gets addressed through strategies related to differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction may be accompanied with new teaching strategies that create a deeper engaging learning environment for every student with different types of learning needs. Both of these frameworks create a learning support for all students including issues relating to the different learning needs of boys and girls.
Student retention has many facets of issues that are deep and rooted or on the surface and easy to address. When dissecting the problem, some reasoning relates to student engagement in the classroom, personal problems, at home stability, late or absenteeism, learning disabilities, etc, etc.. There seems to be many issues that impact students from kindergarten to grade 12, each school is addressing their own problems in a way that is progressive, timely and requires its own strategy or multiple strategies.