2017-2018 Assurance Report
Principal: Bryn Spence
School Council Chair: Claire Ferguson
Vision: Parkland School Division is a community of engaged learners where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams.
As a member of the Parkland School Division family of schools, High Park School utilizes a robust Assurance Model to understand stakeholder feedback better. Working with an Assurance Model means that High Park, Parkland School Division and the Board of Trustees actively seek to reveal all avenues for stakeholders to tell us how we are attending to our goals and priorities. One important part of our Assurance Model is deriving stakeholder feedback through insightful comments made by parents, staff, community members and students.
High Park continuously gathers feedback from a variety of sources, including students, parents, staff, the school division and the greater community. In addition to surveys, conferences and day-to-day conversations, our school also uses an online assurance process called ThoughtExchange that enables participants to read and rank responses based on three questions:
- What are some concerns you have about our school this year?
- What are some things you appreciate about our school this year?
High Park’s Assurance Report captures the strengths, opportunities, aspirations and expected results that we gathered throughout last year. In keeping with an Assurance Model, this report provides the narrative for our achievements and challenges, and is presented on our school website.
Strengths are highlighted as areas that are working well in High Park. In our commitment to quality learning, we recognize that there will always be room for growth. We are proud of the strengths and accomplishments you have recognized in the work we do.
Opportunities are areas for growth or attention. As a school, we recognize these as areas in which we need to focus more attention, and we see that these areas are also important to you.
Aspirations are presented as priorities for a preferred future. Our stakeholders have shared a vision for where we need to go and what our world will look like when we’ve mastered our strengths and eliminated areas in need of growth.
Results capture expectations for measuring success. In other words, how will we know that we know we are successful?
In 2015-2016, Parkland School Division’s Board of Trustees approved an ambitious Education Plan that was generated through the Assurance Model. The Plan established enduring strategic processes (enduring priorities) that will always be considered in the generation of strategies (forward-thinking actionable plans). These strategies enable us to achieve our outcomes (goals).
Parkland School Division’s Ultimate Goal is Student Success and Well-Being. Students will be encouraged to explore, create, imagine and engage in lifelong learning as they develop competencies that prepare them to enter the world of post-secondary studies or work. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student well-being and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency, and is therefore committed to the development of the whole child at all levels of their education. The goals, outcomes, priorities and strategies identified in the Education Plan are focused on the achievement of the Ultimate Goal: Student Success and Well-Being.
Two enduring priorities continue to guide the work of the Division. These priorities are considered to be enduring since they are necessary priorities to consider in establishing any goal:
The Enduring Priority of Engagement: Engaging all stakeholders: students, staff, and the local and global communities. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will be shared and supported by all stakeholder groups.
The Enduring Priority of Resource Stewardship: Ensuring equitable and sustainable use of our resources and ensuring financial responsibility. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will utilize limited resources with maximum results.
In addition to the enduring priorities listed above, the 2015-2018 Three Year Education Plan includes the goals necessary to achieve student success and well-being:
Inclusive Education: Parkland School Division is an inclusive education system. An inclusive education system is one that demonstrates behaviours and decisions that reflect valuing all students. The Division is committed to achieving this goal and to fulfilling the provincial mandate for inclusion.
In Parkland School Division, everyone is accepted and experiences a sense of belonging. Every student - no matter their ability, disability, language, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity - has meaningful contributions to make.
Using the programs of study as the framework for learning, every student is engaged in meaningful and authentic ways. All students are treated equitably: they get the support needed when they need it, and for the intensity and duration of time for which they need it.
Quality Learning: Student success and well-being depends on quality instruction in an atmosphere that respects each learner’s independent spirit. Quality teaching practices promote the development of innovation and creativity while attending to meaningful assessment and reporting practices.
Quality Learning builds on the Division’s Inclusive Education goal in that all students are connected to the Programs of Study and all students have the supports and educational quality necessary to achieve success.
Culture of Wellness: Parkland School Division is committed to Student Success and Well-Being. The Division recognizes that, as a system, well-being must be present for all stakeholders, and therefore it is committed to fostering physical literacy, lifelong health and well-being at all levels. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student well-being and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency.
The development of citizenship and social responsibility contribute to wellness and are integral to the delivery of a broad and comprehensive program of studies. We are dedicated to the development of the whole child.
Universal Leadership: Student success and well-being requires collaborative, universal leadership that employs calculated risk-taking and a determination to consider and implement new and innovative ideas. The Division’s Board of Trustees continues to embrace the direction set by Alberta Education to adopt a Generative Governance Model that demands public confidence in all facets of the system. The Division’s clear strategic direction will be maintained, administered and reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure true stewardship of resources.
As a learning organization, the Division recognizes continued improvement through a commitment to leadership at all levels.
Parents, students and staff at High Park were provided with several opportunities to provide input, in addition to our ongoing open door policy, which is always in place at our school. Survey instruments such as ThoughtExchange were used to collect data about how the school is doing and identify potential areas for improvement. An analysis of assessment results was also included as part of the ongoing assurance procedures within the school.
When there is a friendly and positive environment in the school, then the students feel a sense of well-being and they are encouraged to do their best work in the classroom as well. It encourages learning and better work habits.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
Welcoming Environment: the atmosphere at High Park is great. I always feel good coming to the school and knowing my children probably feel that too.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
Students at High Park have access to a wide variety of different activities which help to foster a culture of belonging. Through these and other opportunities, students have the ability to find ways that they can contribute to the school environment.
School is about more than books, pencils and erasers: through a focus on teaching the whole child and providing them with the supports they require to be successful, High Park is able to promote a sense of belonging within its halls, where all students feel valued and connected. This will again be an area of focus for us in the coming years.
Students are given meaningful learning opportunities, which provide them with a variety of ways to demonstrate their understanding. Teachers work with students to build an understanding and a strong relationship with them, focused around the idea that we want them at school and that they are valued. Students’ individual needs are always taken into account, and every effort is made to provide enduring supports at the level that is required for students to be successful.
I would love to have my child be mentored, or mentor a younger child. This would give them a confidence of value when they struggle daily with academics, socializing, [and] bullying.
- Quote from Stakeholder
Social-Emotional Regulation continues to be an area of focus for us in supporting our students with complex behavioural needs. Through programs such as the Zones of Regulation, Zen Den, Yoga in Schools and other social-emotional learning opportunities, we have worked to build a system that allows students to receive the required supports that they need when they need them.
We have also been working hard to implement positive behaviour support programs. These programs will allow us to be proactive in the way that we address and shape social-emotional learning over time.
Students requiring additional academic assistance receive timely access to supports and resources to address identified gaps in their learning. We have a dedicated staff who work hard to ensure that students are provided with multiple ways to demonstrate their learning. We recognize that there are a wide variety of different strategies and supports available, and we focus on connecting students to the ones best suited to their needs, aiming to improve student learning.
Open doors, open discussions. Praise and concern - all up for discussion at any time. Different teachers bring different things to the table for me, but none of them stir emotions of cause or concern. Our school has some of the most approachable, warm teachers I have ever encountered.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
In the coming school year, we plan to continue focusing on social-emotional regulation and the learning required to help students maintain a regulation. We know that for effective learning to take place, a student must be in a regulated state, as this allows them to use executive functioning skills to meet the demands of today’s classroom.
By ensuring that students have the required supports that they need to be successful, and providing ongoing modeling and coaching, we can provide students with the opportunities to demonstrate and engage in ongoing learning at the highest level.
- High Park School will continue to articulate a clear understanding of inclusion and communicate this to all stakeholders.
- High Park School will implement a Service Delivery Model developed by the Division.
- Aligned to the Service Delivery Model, High Park School will support the Classroom Profile Tool use by Inclusive Education Leads and school administration, and provide guidelines for the effective use of the Classroom Profile Tool.
- High Park School will contribute to a divisional understanding of school-specific strategies that promote inclusive education through the use of the pyramid of intervention.
- High Park School will implement the use of the Zones of Regulation and Mindfulness-Based Practice to support social-emotional awareness for staff, students and parents, which will promote inclusion and wellness.
We believe in the idea that students do well if they can, and it is our job to ensure that students who are not doing well are provided with the necessary tools and strategies to be successful, as they prepare for today’s classroom and tomorrow’s career.
Through this ongoing process of a focus on self-regulation, students will develop the skills necessary to help them stay calm in a variety of different situations. These skills are necessary to support the ongoing development of effective, ethical and engaged citizens, and they are a key focus of the work that we do at High Park School.
- A continuum of supports, services and environments is in place, as reported through stakeholder engagement.
- Learning occurs through collaborative practices at High Park School, as reported through survey and engagement processes.
- Administration and staff demonstrate a sense of confidence, as reported through engagement measures.
- Evidence of parent satisfaction and confidence is reported through engagement measures.
My son's teacher hosts a math club after school twice a week. It is his willingness to put in extra time that has been a big factor in my son achieving better in this subject this year.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
One of the themes which emerged in reviewing the data from last year was that the ongoing commitment of school staff was an overall strength of High Park School. Because of this commitment, students feel that our school is a safe place to come each day, and a place where they belong.
Staff members consistently model and practice skills and characteristics of citizenship and social responsibility. Students engage in activities that embrace the entire school community, such as student leadership, volunteerism and service to others in the school, community, province and country, and throughout the world. Involvement of all school community members in supporting the education of students through Human Sympathy Association (HUSA) continues to be one way in which we inspire ethical citizenship.
Students will be prepared to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.
It is important that we continue to explore ways to provide our students with a variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom environment.
Our Career and Technology Foundations courses focus on providing students with an opportunity to get a glimpse of what potential careers might be, and allow them to experience success through the application of skills different than those typically used in a classroom environment.
While every effort is made to provide students with a variety of different options to choose from, we find ourselves limited by space and infrastructure, which limits the available choices for students as a result.
I can’t say enough positive things about the staff at High Park School. The staff is friendly, present and active in the lives of the kids, and [they] are really accommodating and easy to approach.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
Teachers have provided a learning environment where students are actively engaged in their learning. Students are asked to self-assess and be part of peer assessment: they are engaged in project-based learning, and exchange ideas with classmates, which allows them to make personal contributions to the learning process.
Students are encouraged to be reflective and critical by analyzing a variety of learning situations. Teachers have provided extended opportunities for learning and sharing of knowledge to occur, such as the replacement of the year-end “one shot” exam with a cross-curricular project that assessed student learning.
The ways in which learning occurs have changed, and these changes are ensuring that students have the flexibility to be engaged in their learning and to develop the skills needed to continue their learning throughout the rest of their lives.
- High Park School will explore, share and promote improvements to instructional practices that increase success and mindful student engagement using the Alberta Programs of Study.
- High Park School will promote exemplars that capture the process of using the Programs of Study through competencies as opposed to content.
- High Park School will explore, share and promote improvements to engage in literacy and numeracy teaching practices across curricula and for all students in K-9.
- High Park School will research, reveal and share technology approaches to remove barriers to learning.
- High Park School will continue to make improvements to encourage increased engagement of First Nations Métis & Inuit Elders and families.
- High Park School will support First Nations Métis & Inuit students using culturally relevant and responsive education practices and strategies.
- High Park School and the School Council will be encouraged to establish strategies that increase parent and community engagement.
- With respect to resources, High Park School will endeavour to support staff initiatives to stay current with, and apply educational research to, learning and teaching.
- High Park administration will encourage staff to participate in professional learning opportunities offered at Parkland School Division’s Centre for Education and implement that learning in the classroom with students.
- As we continue to implement programming at a high level, we will continue to see students demonstrate excellence, both academically and as exceptional citizens.
- Students, parents and staff will continue to identify the learning opportunities offered by our school as an area of strength, and feel comfortable bringing concerns about this forward to be addressed.
- Students will have access to a wide variety of learning tasks, and will have different ways to demonstrate what they know based on their individual needs.
- Parents will feel connected to the school, and will be well-informed about the things that are happening in their child’s education through effective, ongoing and regular reporting processes.
I love the collaboration between younger and older children. My son in Grade 7 read to my daughter in Grade 2 last week. It was wonderful to hear that they got to spend time together.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
The staff's willingness to go above and beyond to create extra curricular activities for all age/grade levels. My girls feel like an important member of the school community because they participate in ski club, chior, cross county and math clubs.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
The focus for all of us at High Park is to develop our students into active, principled citizens who conduct themselves in a manner that contributes to the culture and climate of our school.
Staff members have consistently modeled and practiced skills and characteristics of citizenship and social responsibility. Students have been provided the opportunity to be engaged in activities that embrace the entire school community, such as volunteerism, service to others in the school, in our community, in our province, country and globally and through student leadership.
In reviewing the data, we noted a strong appreciation for a culture of learning within High Park. While many comments indicated that our school culture and sense of belonging was appreciated by parents and students, they also indicated that they had some concerns about negative peer-to-peer interactions, including conflicts, mean behaviour and/or bullying.
Often conflict and mean behaviour can be reported as bullying. Student conflict is when mutual disagreements arise, while mean behaviour is isolated to a specific event. “Bullying” describes a situation where there is ongoing conflict between students, which is further exacerbated over time by a difference in power.
High Park School continues to focus developing students’ citizenship and social responsibility, and will continue to ensure that students learn appropriate conflict resolution strategies to help them find more effective ways to deal with disagreements.
Staff recognize that students must be physically and mentally ready in order for them to achieve optimum learning. Maintaining our focus on mental health, with the assistance of our school-based and school-linked teams, will continue to help us support the well-being of our students.
High Park will also continue to promote wellness outside of health and physical education classes by offering extracurricular activities for Grades 1-9.
- High Park School will seek clarity with regards to the causes and symptoms of mental health concerns that exist for students and staff.
- Supported by the Division, High Park School will seek to improve access to emotional and mental health supports for students and staff.
- High Park School will improve community education of the context of bullying, aggression and mean behavior to reveal research-backed strategies to reduce these behaviors.
- High Park School will continue to support the establishment of a Wellness Team and Health Champions, as well as strong community partnerships that promote the initiatives of the Team and Champions.
- High Park School will establish a focus on physical literacy, and engage students in becoming involved in an active, healthy lifestyle.
- We want to create strong relationships that inspire students to strive to do their best, to want to learn and to participate in our athletic program, extracurricular activities and clubs.
- Promoting a culture of student health and well-being is our priority as we reflect on our ultimate goal of student success. Staff will have the opportunity to attend professional development that focuses on mental and physical literacy.
- When any staff member feels that a student is struggling, either academically or socially, they alert the administration team, who bring that name forward to the School Collaborative Team. All staff who work with the student come together in a collaborative meeting to brainstorm steps that can be taken to support the child. The meeting may result in staff seeking assistance from outside agencies, meeting with parents or developing internal strategies to aid the student in question.
- High Park School will host Tutti Fruity Tuesday, where fresh fruit is purchased and prepared on platters for students to enjoy.
- High Park School will continue to give students the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables on Wednesday Taste Day.
- The school will continue to search for initiatives to improve and supplement the health program.
- The school will provide news articles and professional development opportunities for parents regarding nutritional meals and snack choices.
The school community communicates that “healthier students are better learners”. They also understand that we believe the combination of a positive, caring staff and a health-conscious community will help support students by creating an encouraging environment that promotes risk-taking while learning.
Our staff believes that students’ mental and physical well-being promotes their achievement. Through our engagement processes, High Park School recognizes that wellness remains a key concern for parents, students and staff.
- The level of concern regarding student and staff wellness is reduced, as reported through engagement processes.
- Partnerships supporting youth are expanded, as reported through engagement processes.
- Programs that recognize and support wellness are nurtured, as reported through staff engagement processes.
Mindfulness - Fantastic for kids. Gives them an opportunity to quiet their minds and tune into themselves.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
High Park School strives to be a community of leaders, as staff put development of students’ physical, social, emotional and moral competencies, as well as academic achievement, high on their agendas.
By creating a cohesive and collaborative school culture that supports staff in taking risks and assuming leadership roles, administration is able to recognize the gifts and talents of staff members and encourage them in various leadership roles.
Students need to have opportunities to explore their learning and to be engaged in the process through ongoing exploration.
- Quote from Stakeholder
It is important that we look for ways to provide students with ongoing opportunities to engage in leadership activities at the level at which they are comfortable. Through this ongoing focus on developing the leaders of tomorrow, we are able to foster leadership in each of our students.
It has been amazing to see students take on leadership roles in activities that are meaningful to them and in which they feel personally invested. By providing a broad base of different activities for students to explore and engage in, we are able to give them opportunities to demonstrate their leadership on an ongoing basis.
High Park staff will continue to look for opportunities to provide students with ongoing experiences to take risks, in a safe and supportive environment where they will have access to necessary resources to experience success.
Students are empowered to have influence over their education, and are encouraged to have a voice in the programming that they receive. Through ongoing collaboration between home and school, we can provide students with the opportunity to try new things and “fail forward”: learning from previous attempts and getting further as a result.
- High Park School will endeavor to provide relevant and meaningful leadership opportunities and experiences for students and staff.
- High Park School will explore strategies to support the Division to expand partnerships with post-secondary institutions.
- Staff and students will utilize professional learning and collaborative strategies to enhance leadership.
- High Park School will nurture opportunities for students and staff to engage in reflection and generate personal portfolios.
- High Park School staff members will identify strategic improvements to increase collaborative capacity.
- High Park School will explore the practice of mentorship at all levels: staff will promote student collaboration with adults and across grades.
- High Park School will support the Division’s deliberate study of successes and failures to explore the necessity of calculated risk-taking that promotes learning.
- High Park School will continue to focus on leadership development for all staff and students.
- At all levels, High Park School will seek to find ways to synchronize individual aspirations with organizational opportunities.
Staff, students and parents will be able to provide ongoing evidence of universal leadership at all levels of the school. From ongoing opportunities for mentorship between older and younger grades, to student leadership activities, students will have the ability to make changes in their school that will have a positive impact on everyone.
We will continue our focus on providing students with the ability to leave their mark on the school. Students should be able to look back and say “I did that” with pride.
- Administrative staff report that administrative processes are more efficient and effective, as reported through leadership engagement processes.
- Strategic planning and budgeting reflects leadership development and growth.
Our teachers - Open doors, open discussions. Praise and concern - all up for discussion at any time. Different teachers bring different things to the table for me, but none of them stir emotions of cause or concern. Our school has some of the most approachable, warm teachers I have ever encountered.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
At High Park School, we have an open door policy: if a parent, staff member or student has a concern about something that is happening in our building, they are encouraged to share it so that we can find resolution.
Teachers use a variety of digital communication tools to ensure that parents have access to ongoing information about their children’s school activities. Through technology such as Google Classroom, the Remind App, blogs, email and other communication, we provide regular updates to students and parents alike.
Through the use of these digital technologies, students have ongoing access to the information and tools they need to engage in their learning on an ongoing basis, no matter where they are.
We have been working hard at rebuilding our School Council over the past two years. We continue to look for ways to involve parents in the school in a more formal fashion.
We have hosted a few parent engagement evenings where we have a speaker come in to talk about relevant issues with parents and provide them with opportunities to engage as part of a school council meeting. We will continue to host these evenings on a regular basis to help provide ways for parents to engage with the operations of the school as a whole.
I love how I'm invited to join the classroom anytime I'm able. This allows me to see how my child interacts with his peers and in a classroom setting.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
Communication is always something that we can improve on, and as we continue to move forward, we aim to provide information to parents in a variety of ways.
We have been focusing on using our website to share information, and update it with new information for parents on a regular basis. We will continue to do so as the year goes on.
We will continue to focus on ensuring that parents, students and staff have access to the information they need when they need it.
- Through the use of internal communication systems (such as the Monday Morning Memo), staff meetings and other technology, staff will know what is happening in our building each day.
- The use of electronic media, such as the televisions in the school and the daily announcements, will ensure that students are provided with similar information.
- We will continue to use the above mentioned electronic media, including our website and other digital technologies, to keep parents informed as to what is happening in the school and to share important information.
The school wide focus on Mindfulness and Zones of Regulation really makes me feel like the school sees my child as a whole person and has their best interest at heart. Mindful and zones strategies are life-long tools that impact wellness, self-regulation and success.
- Quote from Parent Advocate
High Park staff has embraced opportunities to work collaboratively with each other, colleagues from other schools, students and parents in an effort to encourage and support engagement from one another when making decisions that are prudent to our student’s education.
We are committed to student success and work with parents, students and each other to ensure that students are achieving goals and developing an understanding of their individual learning styles. Staff members understand that students learn in many different ways, and therefore make use of differentiated instruction to ensure that different learning styles are addressed in an inclusive educational setting.
There are a variety of supports available for students to access, such as individualized programs focused on identified needs, behavioral support through internal and external agencies, the use of assistive technology and balanced literacy.
At High Park we pride ourselves in the ability to provide students with a varied and exciting learning environment. Using things such as our new Makerspace in the library, a variety of Career & Technology Foundations options and access to other learning experiences, students receive a rich learning environment where they are encouraged to explore and ask questions. We will continue to use available resources to provide students with these opportunities and will look for ways to expand them beyond their current levels.