As part of their ongoing commitment to hear from one-third of our schools each year regarding their annual Education Plans, Trustees were treated to an informative presentation by Cayley School Principal Phil Irwin and Vice Principal Jill Alexander. They shared three goals and related strategies they will be focusing on this year to help improve student learning within the school:
Goal One – Plan and design for the intellectual engage-ment of assessment capable learners by utilizing the principles of backwards design (planning with the end goal in mind): Cayley plans to commit much of its profes-sional development time to this endeavor as it is at the heart of ensuring that their students are engaged in mean-ingful learning that will, in turn, make them better learners. Staff have built time into their weekly schedule to plan and collaborate, and they will also focus on this work at their monthly staff learning meeting.
Goal Two – Implement a systematic and collaborative intervention response to improve academic achievement for all students: During the November 28 PD Fri-day, Cayley’s staff spent the day with Kurtis Hewson from the University of Lethbridge, exploring and evaluating the most effective ways to work with students to address areas requiring child-specific interventions. The school is also building a partnership with the Calgary Reads Centre to support literacy development within the school.
Goal Three – Implement a comprehensive approach to attend to the physical, social and emotional well-being, and health of all school community members (students, staff, parents): Among some of the strategies already in place: 30-40 minutes of daily physical education, a hot lunch and healthy snacks program provided by Cay-ley School Council and Food for Thought; student and fam-ily counseling support services available through FSD; mul-ti-age “Cobra Families” a grade 7/8 Leadership Group; ex-tra-curricular activities ranging from sports teams to school clubs; an emphasis on the Arts through Violin Club, Mis-soula Children’s Theatre and Jazz Band; and a “fantastic parent volunteer base.”
Phil and Jill shared a comment from one of the parents on their school council: “How can you improve on such a great school?” Believing there is always room for improvement Cayley School’s three goals encapsulate their vision for student learning and the school as a whole.