Year in Review

Our children are entering a world vastly different from that of their parents. Avon Maitland Schools are preparing students for this world through engagement, inspiration and innovation. This year, we have identified two strategic priorities that are outlined in our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

Positive Inclusive Learning Environments

Maximize Outcomes for Students

Strategy #1

Positive Inclusive Learning Environments

  • Provide Mental Health & Well-Being awareness and literacy training with target being school staff.
  • Specific school teams involved, will engage in planning and implementing instructional lessons that effectively include the 5 essential elements of Cooperative Learning with support from a Learning For All Coach.
  • Specific schools will implement key elements of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions created by, Dr. Ross Greene, through support from Lives in the Balance staff.
  • Increased school team awareness and literacy of Mental Health and Well-Being from participation in a number of training sessions.
  • Teachers indicate an improved sense of confidence and efficacy in planning cooperative lessons that incorporate the 5 essential elements of Cooperative Learning.
  • School staffs will develop greater proficiency in the use of the Assessment of Unsolved Problems and Lagging Skills (ALSUP) as well as the use of a collaborative model of problem solving with students who have challenging behaviours.
  • Schools involved in the Cooperative Learning work focused on direct teaching and introduction of the five essential elements. Teachers were starting to plan and implement lessons, at the initial use phase using Cooperative Learning 10% of the time or at the beginning use phase using Cooperative Learning 10-20% of the time. Post survey results indicated that over 80% of the teachers involved were comfortable or very comfortable planning and delivering a Cooperative Learning lesson including the 5 elements.
  • A small number of schools received intensive support from Lives in the Balance staff to increase their proficiency in using the Assessment of Unsolved Problems and Lagging Skills (ALSUP). The specific school teams grew by adding from 1 to 3 new members, and all teams now include the Strive CYW. At the last in-service session with Dr. Ross Greene in June, data collected showed that approximately 70% of team members had experience with an Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP). All team members understand the Plan B (how you approach students) process but not all are proficient yet in its implementation.
  • Our schools survey was administered to students grades 4 to 12 to provide information on well-being and belonging.
Equity & Inclusivity
Inclusive Education is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected Ministry of Education, Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, p. 34, 2009.
  • Each school will develop a student voice team that will promote awareness and acceptance of social and academic inclusion of peers who represent the diversity among the student body, with support from staff.
  • Through a model of inquiry, a group of 14 resource teachers will develop an improved understanding of a collaborative, in-class model of support that aligns with inclusionary practices.
  • Learning For All Coaches will use the method of collaborative inquiry with classroom teachers K-12 who have students with exceptional learning needs as the focus of their learning inquiry.
  • Practices related to voluntary, self-identification of Indigenous students will be reviewed.
  • Student voice teams at elementary and secondary schools will develop a social equity plan. This plan will include regular opportunities to demonstrate student priorities related to social and academic inclusion of peers.
  • Resource teacher inquiry: Data from resource teacher surveys and the work samples in the group portfolio will track changes in thinking and practice.
    • Resource teachers are supporting in classrooms frequently and are engaged in higher levels of collaborative interaction
    • Resource teachers and their collaborative partners can identify positive benefits resulting from their partnerships
    • Resource teachers will identify partnership principles that contribute to positive/productive coaching relationships
  • Partnerships will identify a goal based on the student learning need and will realize steps towards the goal through the process of reflection and documentation.
  • There will be an increase in the number of students who self identify as a member of an Indigenous Nation.
  • Student Voice was analyzed using existing data sources identifying gaps and completing needs assessments. Schools also chose to solicit more data from students typically in the form of surveys but also some focus groups. Themes in the work included having staff determine an understanding of student voice, engaging students through the use of technology, universal use of accessibility features, common messaging around bullying, publicly celebrating positive and inclusive practices, student interests for extra-curricular activities, and caring relationships.
  • All resource teachers in the Inquiry regularly used an in-class model supporting students and teachers based on goals set in collaboration with teacher partners. 70% of both classroom teachers and resource teachers reported consistently co-planning and reflecting on student progress with one another.
  • Both indicated positive benefits as a result of this professional collaboration in relation to teacher and student learning as well as to the school community as a whole. Areas of learning included new teaching strategies, new points of view, the benefits of co-planning, collaborating and open dialogue and focusing more on student’s unique strengths and needs. Over 80% of the classroom teachers reported a changed view of the role of the resource teacher as a result of their partnership.
  • Seven partnership principles were valued by the resource teachers with equity and dialogue rated as the two most valued.
  • Learning For All Coaches regularly engaged in goal setting, tracking and reflection with collaborative partners. During bi-weekly Learning For All team meetings, coaches consistently worked to refine documentation and build capacity using the cycle of inquiry.
  • The number of students who self-identified rose to 183 by the end of the 2016/2017 school year.
Safe & Welcoming Learning Environment
Avon Maitland DSB schools should be places where everyone - children, students, staff, parents and community - feels welcome, safe and respected.
  • Safe School Teams in all schools will examine results from the 2016 Safe Schools Climate Survey and implement a plan to respond, with particular attention paid to targeting bullying based on the responses received.
  • Safety Culture:Move to a learning framework, where continuous learning from experiences is shared and strategies enhanced and communicated to achieve a sustained downward trend in accidents and incidents, and create and sustain a culture of safety-mindedness.
    • Move to an enterprise risk management approach to create and sustain a culture of safety-mindedness.
    • Establish a scorecard of leading and lagging key performance indicators to monitor and support our Safety Culture focus.
    • Employ ongoing monitoring and analysis of incident trends for implementing strategies to prevent and minimize loss (human and property).
    • Expand peer engagement model to include designate programs and services, moving from Tech to Science and Phys Ed, the Arts and EA supports. Expand this engagement model to student injury prevention in these areas, as a beginning point.
    • Use existing and emerging technologies to leverage our prevention strategies.
  • Schools will be given an opportunity to request resources/support as required, specifically to target bullying.
  • Schools will see improved results on their Safe Schools Climate Surveys, particularly with the data pertaining to students' perceptions of bullying in the school.
  • Downward trend in accidents and incidents in various areas are sustained over time.
  • Subsequent Safety Culture survey results improved from 2 years' baseline data and reflect heightened awareness of Safety Culture in AMDSB.
  • Risk assessments completed for all employee groups.
  • The OurSchool Student Survey provided schools with specific data related to "Positive Sense of Belonging", "Bullying" and "Feeling Safe at School". Schools examined baseline data to incorporate results and strategies for improvement into the SIPSAW and safe school plans.
  • The board results were used to establish a BIPSAW goal related to "Positive Sense of Belonging".
  • In terms of moving to a learning framework where continuous learning from experiences is shared, monthly "Leading with Safety" newsletters, which include learnings and prevention tips from reported incidents in the district, are sent to all Administrators (begun September 2016).
  • In addition, a case study of actual events that have occurred in AMDSB was used as part of the Emerging Leader Development Training on October 25, 2017.
  • Regarding ongoing monitoring and analysis of incident trends for implementing strategies to prevent and minimize loss (human and property), the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) reviews incident trends at JHSC meetings (4 times per year). Learning Services reviews aggression incidents monthly to prioritize resources for employee safety and support and student success. As a result, work has begun to create standard templates for Assessment Tools, as well as, Support Plans and Safety Plans for Students.
  • Student Management training for bus drivers and Behaviour Management System (BMS) training for Bus Operator Safety Teams and Staff was made available in Spring 2017, as one more support for drivers and principals.
  • A long-term student injury prevention plan was developed and submitted to CODE in spring 2017 as part of the overall Student Injury Prevention Initiative, a key focus of the Ministry of Education. The 2017/18 (year 1) focus is physical education, with work in progress.
  • We continue to enhance the eBase (our computerized maintenance management system) module for workplace inspections.
  • Many schools promoted anti-bullying in November, although the emphasis is on daily activities, role modeling and promotion of respectful behaviour.
  • Ongoing monitoring of anti-bullying activities in schools.

Strategy #2

Maximize Outcomes for Students

Continuous Learning for All
Steven Katz defines “learning as the process through which experience causes permanent change in knowledge or behaviour”. Learning can transform an individual's life and allow for more success at school, work, home and with their families.

We share the articulated belief and commitment of the Ministry of Education’s PPM 159 “Collaborative Professionalism”, that all stakeholders in the system will work together to learn so as to further improve student achievement and the well being of staff and students. In order to foster a continuous learning environment:

  • All principals and vice principals will be co-learning within their respective principal or vice principal networks and using the competencies of the Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF) as the foundation for their leadership learning
  • Regional Supervisory Officers will support principals and vice principals' collaborative inquiry work through school visits and as co-learners at the learning networks
  • All employees will be provided the opportunity to further develop their skills and abilities through professional development
  • The Succession Planning Program will be formalized. This includes Performance Management, Employee Development, and Leadership Development for all staff within the AMDSB
  • Through the Succession Planning Program, we will identify and invest in employees capable of advancement to key posititons within AMDSB
  • Conditions will be optimized for students and staff in the system to learn, by fostering the development of trusting and respectful relationships in our classrooms and schools, encouraging reflection and evidence based decision making
  • Principals and vice principals can articulate how their leadership moves support student achievement
  • Principals and vice principals will identify leadership moves and reflect on the impact of the moves as they relate to the competencies of the OLF
  • The Aspiring Leaders Program will be revised and relaunched in the spring of 2017
  • Human Resource Services will formalize the Performance Management system for all employees within the Board
  • A Leadership and Staff Development Program Calendar will be provided to staff on an annual basis outlining training available to all employees with the Board
  • Elicit input and feedback related to the strategies from staff and students throughout the learning process
  • Principals reflect in PLNs and school visits on their moves and their impact.
  • Principal and Vice-Principal Learning Networks All Principals and Vice-Principals are members of a Principal or Vice-Principal Learning Network. Within these networks, leaders are given the opportunity to develop individual inquiries to support student and teacher learning needs in their buildings. This form of professional development allows Principals and Vice-Principals to work together and support each other in small groups, while connecting their individual learning inquiries to their School Improvement Plans.
  • The Aspiring Leaders Program Revision and Relaunch AMDSB launched a new program called the Emerging Leadership Development Program (ELDP) which has replaced the Aspiring Leaders Program April 2017. The ELDP is a leadership development program open to all employees interested in taking on further Director’s Annual Report 2016/2017 9 leadership roles within AMDSB. The purpose of the ELDP is to align our leaders with both our strategic plan and the Ontario Leadership Framework. Upon completion of the ELDP, employees will have a better understanding of what it means to be an effective leader and allow for potential advancement to key positions within our Board.
  • Year one of the ELDP is currently underway. Participants in year one are to attend a minimum of three leadership sessions offered by AMDBS. These sessions are facilitated by the various departments within AMDSB.
  • Formalizing the Performance Management System for all Employees As part of the first steps in formalizing the Performance Management system, the Human Resource Services department has worked with a group of Principals and Vice Principals to create the AMDSB Teacher Performance Appraisal (TPA) Document. The purpose of the TPA system is to provide teachers with meaningful appraisals that encourage professional growth and learning. This process promotes the development of the teacher and identifies opportunities for additional support where required. By supporting our teachers to achieve their full potential, the TPA process allows us to ensure we are focused on our vision to create positive, inclusive learning environments and maximize outcomes for students.
  • We have officially launched this document to the system as of December 2017. We will use the remainder of this year to use the document for our TPA’s and feedback will be provided to improve as necessary.
Progression of Skills

Collaboration - Sharing responsibility in pursuit of a common objective

Critical Thinking - Using purposeful, analytical, reflective processes in various contexts

Creativity - Developing a product, process or idea by integrating original thinking with existing knowledge

Communication - Expressing and interpreting meaning through a variety of forms

Problem Solving - Exploring a challenge for which a resolution is not obvious

The transformation of teaching and learning in AMDSB, through consolidation of effective pedagogy, leverages the opportunities that are derived from maximizing the 4Cs and P (Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Problem Solving).

  • Two elementary (K-6) and five secondary (7-12) schools will engage in New Pedagogies for Deep Learning collaborative inquiries focused on transforming teaching and learning through the progression of AMDSB’s skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and problem solving. By expanding learning partnerships and learning environments within and outside of the classroom, reflecting on and implementing effective pedagogical practices and the use of technology, school teams will develop, implement, monitor and reflect on strategies that lead to more successful outcomes for students.
  • Students in grades 7 to 10, and grade 11 students at 2 secondary schools, will be provided with a portable tool to support their learning.
  • Teachers in the elementary and secondary panels will be supported by technology coaches, through professional learning opportunities and the use of a coaching model, to use innovative strategies to improve communication with students, to create learning spaces, and to continue to increase the engagement and use of rich tasks for students.
  • Technology coaches will follow the coaching model in all of their partnerships, and model the use of effective pedagogy while using technology.
  • External researchers will monitor the implementation of a portable tools for students in senior grades to determine which technology tool best supports their learning.
  • External researchers will continue to monitor the impact of changes in assessment and pedagogy for teachers of students from grades 7 through 11.
  • Student voice will provide additional evidence as to how students are using technological tools at school and how they feel their learning could be improved through the use of a tool.
  • Technology Coaches in all secondary schools formed successful partnerships, modelled effective use of pedagogy and collaborate with Learning For All Coaches and STAR teachers to align support for the use of technology for students with special needs.
  • Researchers from University of Western Ontario monitored the use of portable tools in 2 secondary schools.
  • Students told the researchers that choice of device and provision of rich tasks were more important for their learning and engagement than a particular device.
  • Each teacher selected and targeted a learning progression as evidenced in their artefact. Over 50 teachers submitted Deep Learning Artefacts for moderation in Avon Maitland. Of these, 5 were provided to the Canadian Cluster for moderation. Two of our artefacts received recognition and were selected to represent Canada on the Global Hub.
Accelerated Growth in Literacy and Numeracy

K-6 and K-8 school goals will focus on identifying and supporting student learning needs in numeracy and 7-12 and 9-12 school goals will focus on identifying and supporting student learning needs in literacy.

School staff will identify group(s) of students who represent the targeted area of need, will implement evidence-based responsive practices and then reflect on the impact of the practice on those targeted group(s) of students.

  • Each School Improvement team will develop, implement and monitor a responsive school learning plan that is derived from the identified urgent student learning need.
  • Elementary administrators and Math Lead teachers will engage in professional learning facilitated by Dr. Marian Small with foci on leading learning and numeracy content.
  • Teachers of Junior and Intermediate mathematics will be given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of effective math instruction through subsidized Additional Qualification courses, Summer Institutes and other professional learning sessions.
  • Teachers of grade 9 Applied mathematics in five secondary schools will participate in networked learning opportunities connected to enhanced understanding of responsive practices in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Teachers of grade 8 and grade 9 and 10 Applied mathematics and administrators in four secondary schools will participate in cross-panel networked learning hubs which will focus on identifying targeted student learning needs, applying evidence based practice and reflecting on the impact of the practice for the target students.
  • Each School Improvement team will develop, implement and monitor a responsive school learning plan that is derived from the identified urgent student learning need.
  • Every secondary school will administer an OSSLT practice test to all grade 9 students in the fall and spring and cross-panel, cross-discipline teams of teachers will moderate the completed tests. School teams will use this formative data to inform their school literacy goal.
  • Secondary administrators and Literacy Lead teachers will engage in professional learning regarding leading learning in developing literacy skills across the curriculum.
  • In three secondary schools, cross panel school teams will utilize the Collaborative inquiry cycle to identify, implement and monitor gap closing strategies for target student groups.
  • We will see a 5% increase in the percentages of students rising to standard between administrations of EQAO. Therefore, 19% of students who were unsuccessful on 2014 Primary EQAO math assessment will rise to standard on the 2017 Junior EQAO math assessment. And 47% of students who were unsuccessful on 2014 Junior EQAO math assessment will rise to standard on the 2017 Grade 9 EQAO math assessment.
  • We will see a 5% increase in the percentages of students rising to standard between administrations of EQAO. Therefore, 65% of the students who were unsuccessful on the 2013 Junior EQAO Reading and/or Writing assessment will rise to standard on the 2017 OSSLT.
  • Of the students who did not meet the standard on the 2014 Junior math assessment, 50% rose to standard on the 2017 Grade 9 math assessment.
  • There was no change in the percentage of students who rose to standard between the 2014 Primary math assessment and the 2017 Junior math assessment.
  • There was an increase of 3% of the students who rose to standard from the 2013 Junior reading assessment to the 2017 OSSLT