School Plan for Continuous Growth 2020-2023 (year 2)

School Mission: Our mission as a faith-based Catholic community is to demonstrate love, acceptance, and guidance in a Christ centered learning environment, seeking every opportunity to teach our students to develop their unique gifts in order to reach their full potential.  At St. Elizabeth, we work as a team to create a positive, inclusive environment so all students can feel safe and accepted, and therefore be willing to take risks as life-long learners.   .
School Vision: All our students are welcomed to our school community to learn together to reach their potential as God intended.
School Charism: In the tradition of St. Elizabeth, our patron saint, our charism is compassion, mercy, service, and the nurturing of mind, body, and spirit.

Priority:  Growing in Faith
Our students and staff will learn and live the Word of God through worship, witness, and service.
Key Strategies:
F.1 Empower students and staff to express and share their gifts from God and explore the school’s charism and its importance.
F.4 Provide formation opportunities for students and staff that further their participation in our faith and enable them to discern the presence of God in their lives.
Actions we will take
Our charism surrounds the characteristics of St. Elizabeth and we have chosen to focus on the characteristic of service. The students at our school are often the beneficiaries of acts of service from other people and other agencies. Many schools donate money or items to our students. The Edmonton Catholic Foundation provides our students with the opportunity to have healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. However, our students are also willing and able to give back to others. We want to encourage them to share their God given gifts with others while participating in acts of service. Our staff has brainstormed many service projects our students can do in the school, in the neighborhood, and by reaching out in our greater community. We would like to see our students participate in grade level appropriate projects monthly. Ideas could be: making cards for the patients at the Stollery, visits to a senior's centre, community clean up, chalk art on the sidewalk, choir performances etc. All are activities our students can do to participate in our faith and help others feel great while feeling great themselves! Of course we will always welcome parents to join us on our projects and to have the opportunity to share their gifts with us as well. We will highlight these projects in our newsletters and submit them for the Division's Social Justice Report.
Performance Measures:
Our performance in this area will be evaluated using the following Local Measure:
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Catholic Identity.
  • Newsletter updates showcasing the projects
  • Publication of exemplars of our projects in the Division Social Justice Report
  • Participation of parents in our projects
Priority:  Student Success
Through a holistic approach, students will develop to their fullest potential through multiple pathways.
Key Strategies:
S.1 Identify and apply best practices for curriculum implementation to ensure student success.
S.2 Implement teaching and assessment practices to deepen students’ understanding and to increase ability to target teaching and improve learning.
S.4 Continue to support students’ diverse needs through best practice and responsive and flexible programming.
Actions we will take
Our school population has a wide range of academic needs. Our staff takes pride in meeting the needs of all students but there is always room for improvement! Our school will be embarking on two initiatives this year in order to enhance the learning of our students in the areas of numeracy and literacy and by meeting the students where they are now and taking them where they need to go. Science of Reading - this is a new program for K-6 that is a comprehensive reading assessment and plan. Our staff will be using the same standard assessments for our students and common language will be used. The idea is to gauge the ability of our students in reading comprehension and fluency and determine where each child is and what needs to be done to help improve their ability in reading. The focus will be on increasing phonemic awareness and using phonics to teach decoding, especially in grades K-3. The staff will then teach the students the necessary skills they need for them to achieve success in reading. MathUp - this numeracy program helps build teachers' knowledge and understanding of mathematics so they can better help their students. It is designed to increase student engagement and reach all learners. Our teachers will use data to inform and drive instruction to help students achieve greater success in their mathematical understanding. We will also be using a new online program called Reflex Math to ensure our students have knowledge of the basic facts required at their grade level.
Performance Measures:
Our performance in this area will be measured using:
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Student Learning (Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exam Results)
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of High School Completion
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Citizenship
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Student Learning Engagement
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environment
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Access to Support and Services
Local Measures:
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Access to Help, Support and Resources
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Student Engagement
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Safe and Caring Learning Environment
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  • Upward trend of data from the screeners across the entire school over the year
Priority:  An Excellent Place to Work and Learn
We will provide an optimal learning and working environment that fosters a culture of faith, trust, unity, inclusivity, confidence, respect, value and appreciation for one another.
Key Strategies:
E.6 Continue to create an excellent Catholic educational working environment through the provision of faith formation, health, and wellness opportunities and supports for all staff.
Actions we will take
This year we have spent the year as a staff reading Jody Carrington's book "Kids These Days". She is a child psychologist who focuses on trauma informed practices. One of her strongest messages is -- if we take care of the adults the kids will be alright. We want to focus our year promoting wellness in our adults in the building. After getting through Covid we need to reconnect with each other and provide opportunities for our staff to be together. We want to work on our culture and climate in the building by building strong and trusting relationships. We are going to designate a wellness leader to plan activities for team building that could also be used with students in the classroom. We want to do more social activities and provide more opportunities for collaboration. If the adults feel excited about what they are doing in the classrooms, so will the students!
Performance Measures:
Our performance in this area will be measured using:
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Education Quality
Local Measures:
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Teaching and Assessment Practices
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Staff Engagement and Respect in the Workplace
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Overall Satisfaction with Edmonton Catholic Schools
Priority:  Building Our Future Together
We will engage in good stewardship of all resources through principled governance and engagement.
Key Strategies:
B.2 Continue to walk together recognizing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
B.4 Continue to nurture collaborations, relationships and partnerships to provide programs and services for students from Pre-K-12.
Actions we will take
We have planned for a whole-school, collaborative approach to focus on helping our students and staff grow in our understanding of our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students and the value they bring to our community. Our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit designate will implement "Climbing the Mountain: Educating for Reconciliation in Canada" by involving every classroom in an age-appropriate monthly lesson to help our St. Elizabeth community develop new understandings and healthy relationships with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. St. Elizabeth School has many partnerships we utilize for a variety of reasons. Naturally, during Covid, some of those connections have been put on hold. We want to focus next year on rebuilding those connections with outside agencies and bringing more opportunities to our students through these agencies. We also want to foster relationships between students. In the past, we have had partnerships that provided extra curricular activities for our students (Free Footie, Jays Care, Running Club), academic focus (EISA, Big Brother/Big Sisters), and some that were just for fun (Jump Rope for Heart, WE Day, Terry Fox Run)!
Performance Measures:
Our performance in this area will also be measured using:
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Parental Involvement and,
  • Alberta Education Assurance Measure of Budget-Actual Comparison
Local Measures:
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Parent/Guardian Involvement
  • ECSD Assurance Survey of Theme - Implementing Frameworks and Procedures
November Review:
Each class has signed up for a month in which their students will perform an act of service. We will then report that on the social justice report for the division. Two students in grade 5 also shared a presentation with their class on Diwali. They created an informative powerpoint, planned a craft and provided a traditional Diwali sweet to share. The following day we shared the story on the announcements of an example of how two students shared their gifts with others. Our literacy and numeracy goal is being led by the information we got from our screeners. Phonemic Awareness and Phonics are being systematically taught at all grade levels. We have watched videos from the Literacy Learning Series on how to analyze our data and what Phonemic Awareness is. Some teachers are participating in a Community of Practice and reading "Shifting the Balance" . We have had Consultant Erin Hart Basualdo in to meet with each teacher to analyze their screeners to see what the next steps in instruction is. We are also participating in the Write On pilot this year. So far we have collected and assessed a writing sample and attended PD on what to do now. We are using Math Up as our main resource this year. Our teachers are still finding it a bit too difficult for our students so they are supplementing as needed. We also had Amy Swinkels, our math consultant, in to help us analyze our screening data and figure out where our focus needs to be in math! We are trying to find opportunities to make sure our staff stay healthy and happy. If the staff is feeling great they will help the students feel great! We have been conscious of work demands and making sure we provide lots of dialogue time so our staff feel connected to one another. We have some fun activities planned for December as well! The first two lessons of "Climbing the Mountain" have been taught in every classroom. The first lesson focused on ideas about what it means to be alive. The students learned about how Indigenous peoples and colonists from Europe viewed the concept of "ownership", and how those differences led to misunderstandings between the two groups. In the second lesson, students explored ideas about what makes a home and discussed how it would feel to not have all of the things they need to make a home. They connected this to the experience of Indigenous children in the residential school system and child welfare system. These concepts are approached from an age appropriate level. Our EISA team is hard at work with two afterschool programs running online right now. One is more of a fun, social opportunity for our students to practice speaking English. The other is a more academic program for grades 4-6 focusing on creating and practicing speaking orally in public. Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentorship has started online for our students in grades 4-6. We have 33 mentors from Holy Trinity who meet weekly with our students and get to know each other, have discussions, read, and work on academics. Our students love the program!
February Review:
We have continued on with our acts of service. Some classes made cards for seniors at Christmas. Many classes have sent notes to our staff. This month we are collecting food for St. Theresa Food Bank as our school act of service. Our goal this year is 400 items. We continue with our numeracy and literacy goal. Our intervention teachers were both able to stay for another round of intervention so that is positive! They are now both working with our grade one students who showed up on the January screeners as needing some extra support. We continue with our Math Up! implementation as teachers explore more of the website and supports in there. Our second round of writing samples was completed and now we will analyze the data and recognize the improvements from October until now. We will also look at the next steps for instruction. Our staff continues to feel overwhelmed with the job and our students. We are dealing with discipline constantly and trying to figure out how best to address the needs of our students so our teachers are able to teach! We continue to try to provide time to connect. Now that we can be in person for our staff meetings that should definitely help! Joan continues to teach the "Climbing the Mountain" lessons to each class. Our EISA team is back in our school as of last week which is valuable in terms of being able to connect personally with the students they serve. Our mentorship program continues to remain online for now and the students are thoroughly enjoying it! Maybe sometime this year they will get to meet their mentor in person!