Literacy and numeracy support for all students continues to be the focus of the school district for the upcoming school year.
“We will continue our focus and expand our efforts and programs to support literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy,” reports Director of Instruction Carl Cooper.
“Every day in schools these skills are taught. From the first day of kindergarten when students start to recite the alphabet to grade 12 when students may be reading Shakespeare, preparing an in-depth research project about social justice or demonstrating sustainable environmental practices.”
Kindergarten starts with counting, building blocks, patterns and leads to financial planning, statistics, calculus, and even calculating distances and angles in prefabrication and assembly for a trades project.
“When our students graduate the need to be literate and numerate is critical to life success. Our team of teachers, CEAs and principals/vice-principals are working hard to provide all our students a strong foundation of literacy and numeracy skills,” he comments.
“Some of our students need assistance to get to grade level and these students may be helped by a certified education assistant (CEA), Aboriginal education worker (AEW) or an itinerant support teacher,” he adds.
Cooper notes the district has expanded its literacy intervention program to a seventh school for this coming year. “The program has highly trained teachers who work with some of our most vulnerable learners in grade 1 to ensure we ‘catch’ our students at a young age to get them on track.”
This September will mark the second year of the numeracy helping teachers who are providing support to their teachers in their school through sharing best practices, collaborative lesson planning and this year will also be providing direct service to individual students.
“This year we are excited to have six numeracy helping teachers in six schools working with all teachers to improve learning in math,” notes Cooper.
Individual schools have implemented programs to help students improve in literacy and/or numeracy. One example is at Shuswap Middle where the learning resource team, certified education assistants, the administration team and the district literacy teacher, are all working together to provide an intervention program for grade 6 and 7 students to boost them up to grade level. In Armstrong – Len Wood Middle, Armstrong Elementary and Highland Park are all working together to collect educational data and information on all students. They are also working together on teaching strategies for specific student needs, and ensuring all students are assessed and and then provided the best interventions and supports to ensure student success.
The District Numeracy Team is now in its second year and has already developed a district wide ‘big math idea’ which students should know in every grade.
The team has also developed weekly levelled problems for every grade and school.
Cooper explains the weekly problems use math to solve real world problems, including applying math thinking, solving (computation), analyzing and checking solutions and finally communicating mathematically.
“Problem solving also encourages the important skills of perseverance and creativity.”
He notes this year identifying a district wide standard numeracy assessment is a priority as they work to monitor the progress of all our students.
“This year is also the first year of the Provincial Numeracy exam and our numeracy team will be providing workshops, and support to all our teachers as we work to support our students in numeracy success.”
“I’m also looking forward to the Middle School Math Olympiad scheduled for this coming year. Thanks to Val Edgell for her leadership of our district numeracy initiatives.”