Pedagogical News Vol 11 Edition 1
Here are some of the frequently asked questions that I answer at the beginning of every school year…
When does resource start for our special needs students?
Right away! Ok…The schedule might be flexible the first week back, but by the time you have gone through a full cycle it should become consistent. The Teacher Council should have recommended the orientation (grade level distribution, subjects covered) last year, so the schedule can be created. The resource schedule can change a few times throughout the year depending on the changing needs.
Are resource teachers responsible for testing the whole school twice a year (DRAs)?
No! This has been repeatedly discussed at the Parity special needs committee at the board level. SWLSB and LTU representatives agree that resource teachers can use the DRA tool to monitor the progress of their students (the special needs students receiving resource time), but that they should not be used to assess all students. There are limited budgets to support the integration of our special needs population, so let’s not remove any precious time from them.
When do the IEPs go out to parents?
The IEP from the previous academic year is in place until reviewed by the current team. Please review your students’ IEPs and start taking notes of the accommodations/adaptations that work or don’t. If the student is working on a modified level of instruction, please ensure that the student continues to follow their modified level.
Schools will be receiving an allocation to release teachers for IEP purposes, so discuss as a staff the most effective way that this will work at your school. IEPs should be reviewed as a team either by: (1) releasing teachers (2) using common prep times (3) during certain staff meetings (4) utilizing portions of your ped days.
Although there is no deadline by which the IEPs need to be sent home, you want the parents to be on board and the document signed for your records. When the first term report card goes home, the parent should be aware that it is based on the IEP adaptations or modifications.
When is the SLSNC workshop?
The SLSNC workshop is on September 16th from 9 to noon at the School Board. I will be presenting with Stephanie Krenn (Director of CSD). All principals have been invited and the SLSNC chairperson is also to attend. If the chairperson cannot attend, please send a replacement (another SLSNC member).
I am attaching the Standards and Procedures and the MESA information in case you haven’t read it…
STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES IN EVALUATION
Every year school teams meet to review the “Standards and Procedures in Evaluation” document before the end of June. It is essential that this discussion takes place on the parameters for evaluation at your school to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It is possible that your school reviews it during the first weeks of the new school year. If you have not reviewed this document yet, it is not too late! There is nothing which prevents modifications during the school year to account for changes that occur, as long as parents are informed of these changes. This document does not need to be extremely detailed. You should give teachers leeway by stating the types of evaluations (i.e. oral presentations, quizzes, tests, end-of term/year evaluations, etc.), not the specific number for each.
There are different types of year-end exams:
- Optional • Highly Recommended • Board Mandated • MEES Uniform Exams
As per the Education Act, article 231:
Every school board shall ensure that each school evaluates student achievement and administers the examinations imposed by the Minister.
A school board may impose internal examinations in the subjects it determines at the end of each cycle of the elementary level and at the end of the first cycle of the secondary level.
This means that teachers MUST administer and correct: • Board Mandated AND • MEES Uniform Exams
All other exams (i.e. optional or highly recommended) are not imposed. They do not need to be in your Standards and Procedures document. If you chose to include them, they then become compulsory for you.
There are responsibilities for both teachers and principals in a school. Ideally, developing the standards and procedures should be a collaborative effort between both groups. The process should involve dialogue between the teaching staff and the principal so that the final proposal will have the agreement and support of both parties.
Let’s recap…Your document should include:
- Will the document be per teacher, per level, per department?
- What are the main evaluations for each subject?
The document does not have to include a detailed description of every single evaluation that you use.
- Are there end of term or year exams? How much will they be worth?
- What happens when a student is absent for an exam (teacher created, board or MEES mandated)?
- How will the information be sent to parents?
The Management and Educational Success Agreement (MESA) is an agreement between each school or center and the Director General of the School Board. This agreement runs for a period of one year and must be renewed each year upon the consensus of the parties. This agreement must reflect the objectives and indicators of the School Board strategic plan and partnership agreement (swl website). It must elaborate the strategies and actions that each school will undertake to reach their targets and thereby support the targets of the school board.
The MEES expects an increased graduation/ qualification rate by the year 2020. Priorities are, aside from increasing graduation rates, to address special needs students, to improve the quality of written and spoken language, to increase the registrations and number of programs in vocational education, and to keep promoting non-violent and healthy schools.
At the school level, you have been probably working on updating your MESAs. MESAs are data driven and include a component of accountability. Schools should not be identifying too many priorities at a time, but rather a limited number that will be addressed more efficiently.
We sometimes receive calls regarding data teams. Please know that this is NOT an official recognized committee in our collective agreements (provincial and local).