West Colchester Consolidated
September 2014-June 2015
Unique Characteristics and School Strengths
West Colchester Consolidated School
School and Community Context-Who We Are
West Colchester Consolidated School is located in the community of Bass River. The school covers a large geographical area from the Five Islands county line to the Folly Lake county line and Bowers Corner in Great Village. There are 137 students as of June 2015. Although the school has an age group that varies from 5-15, classes, separate lunches and breaks are scheduled according to age groups. Students in grades five to nine have three exploratory sessions per year with a variety of activities available during those times. Such exploratories include social justice themes, physical activities, art activities, and the integration of technology. Students also participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities such as the Lego club, run club, soccer, basketball, volleyball, archery, and fishing. A breakfast program is available, as well as nutritional snacks throughout the school day. At the junior high level, courses in ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, French, Music, Healthy Living, Technology Education, Family Studies, and Physical Education are provided. Through PowerSchool, parents can monitor attendance and student achievement. A newsletter is provided each month, featuring important dates, a principal’s message, and a cafeteria menu. Our school provides a meet the teacher night, and two parent conferences throughout the year. Most students travel by bus, so extra help is available at noon or after school when transportation is arranged.
Our school provides a variety of celebratory events throughout the year. There are monthly assemblies to recognize “students of the month” from grades P-9, as well as showcase student talent and develop school spirit. This year saw the first annual art and variety show highlighting student talents. Closing celebrations take the form of an end of year school dance, and a graduation ceremony/awards banquet/volunteer appreciation evening.
Our school is also a hub for community events. Through parent and community support, Mayflower Park, a new playground and walking trail was established in 2013. Students and staff are integral to Bass River’s Veterans Memorial Park, participating in contests and services. This year was the launch of our Blue Marble Initiative to raise student and community awareness of the importance of caring for and protecting the environment. As a part of the Blue Marble Initiative, the school integrated an SPCA fundraiser. Other fundraisers included Christmas Daddies, the IWK Children’s Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, and a local food bank.
Additional School Supports
At WCCS, we have people and programs assisting classroom teachers to improve student success. They include educational, community and operational support. Operational support keeps the building running smoothly and helps ensure the safe arrival of students. This includes supports such as:
- Administrative Assistant
- Bus Drivers
- Technology Support Staff
- Lunch Supervisors
Community members involved with the school help with safety awareness, extracurricular activities and learning experiences outside of the school. These members include:
- School Advisory Committee
- Home and School
- Parent Volunteers
- Public Health Nurse
- RCMP Liaison
- Local Fire Brigade
- Community/Child Welfare Services
People and programs are working with teachers to directly to support the education of students at WCCS. These educational supports include:
- Educational Assistants
- Speech Language Pathologist
- School Psychologist
- Program Support Teacher
- Literacy and Math Mentors
- Education Consultants
- Library Specialist
- Autism Specialist
- In Good Standing
Safe and Orderly Environment
Pebs has been in place at our school for several years. The “Code of Conduct” can be found in the school agendas and “Respect Four” guidelines are visible throughout our building. We have a secure building, which requires visitors to identify themselves before entering and checking in at the office. Our Emergency Management Plan (i.e. fire drills, code blue) is practiced regularly under the guidance of our RCMP liaison and our local fire brigade.
West Colchester has adopted the restorative approach and we were involved with Cohort 2 in the 2014-2015 school year. Restorative approach is based on relational theory wherein the fundamental belief is that behavior is rooted in relationships. We have begun a progressive approach in regard to building relationships using community circles. We begin by establishing a positive tone and inclusive classroom climate. Through community circles we build trust and build rapport with students. We have students work with each other in small group and whole group settings. In this cooperative environment, students get to know themselves and each other, recognizing and appreciating that all students have different strengths and areas that need improvement. The overall goal is to be able to work together and appreciate our unique differences, so students feel comfortable contributing and taking controlled risks.
Students have choice and voice within circles; circles are an opportunity to be heard. The circles include a gradual release of responsibility; the restorative circles were introduced in all classes and there has been an increasing number of student led circles, which lead to students taking ownership for problem solving within class. Encouraging healthy discussions and taking accountability for ones actions is the root of the community circle approach. When conflicts or concerns arise, students are able to discuss what is occurring, what the impact is on those involved, and what actions need to be taken to appropriately resolve the concerns. After discussion and thorough reflection, a consequence may be a loss of earned privilege(s) as we are moving away from punitive approaches. Over the coming years, it is our hope that students maintain and build positive relationships using this approach.
As a school, we are also involved in the ongoing professional development surrounding social justice. We value and respect the dignity of all people and strive to create a safe, equitable environment for students and staff regardless of gender, race, abilities, class or sexual orientation.
The staff at WCCS engages students in a variety of ways. We develop interests, skills, and talents as an extension of classroom curriculum. Teachers use outcome based planning and incorporate the ideas and interests of students in the development of assignments and establishing rubrics for project evaluation. Teachers offer a variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate that they are able to meet curriculum outcomes. This involves tailoring lessons to address a variety of learning styles on a consistent basis. Teachers try to provide prompt feedback in order for students to reflect on their work.
Students have many opportunities for leadership and personal growth. This includes student led assemblies where students organize necessary technology and provide entertainment. A particular highlight throughout the year is the Student of the Month Awards. The awards offer a wide variety of students, with many different talents and abilities, the chance to be recognized by staff and peers in a monthly assembly. Students often assist with tasks in the office, organize exploratory groups, produce a variety show, plan prom and create and publish the yearbook.
Students are provided with the chance to gain athletic experience and practice good sportsmanship through intra- and interschool sport activities. All of our athletic teams including soccer, basketball, volleyball and track and field have had successful seasons. Students also enjoy playing in teacher/student sporting events. Additionally, there is always a large turnout for lunchtime intramurals.
WCCS has gone on numerous field trips to appeal to a variety of interests. Junior high students went to The Bounce Radio Station, The Cougar Dome, Neptune Theatre and the Emera Skating Oval. The elementary classes went to The Museum of Natural History, Victoria Park and Farm Safety Day. Other events that occurred at the school include the Spelling Bee, participation in the Gauss Math Contest, NS Math Circles, Terry Fox Run, Disc Golf and The Blue Marble Initiative.
SAC REPORT 14-15
This year West Colchester’s SAC met several times throughout the school year although several meetings were cancelled due to severe weather and lack of decision over the SAC chair. Many members on the committee completed their two year term and notice went out to acquire new members and an SAC chair. Midyear Tanya Harnish became our new Chair while we are still looking for members in the great village and Londonderry catchment area. Items discussed throughout the year included the Gideon Bible’s being delivered to grade 5 students, the community park and the grade 2/3/4 configuration. Again, members of the SAC agreed that they would send a letter to board members expressing their frustration with the triple grade. Overall, the SAC is rebuilding its membership and we look forward to the 2015-2016 school year.
Number Sense encompasses number meaning and size, number relationships and operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). At WCCS, we consider number sense to be the basis for building a solid understanding in mathematics. Number sense outcomes are embedded throughout the year and to some degree, influence all strands of mathematics (Patterns, Measurement, Geometry, Data Management and Probability).
If students do not have a conceptual understanding of the basics then it is difficult for them to cultivate more advanced skills. We are hoping to move students from the level of basic knowledge to having success with application and analysis problems. Improving understanding of number sense and operations should increase the student’s fluency, flexibility of thinking and efficiency in solving math related problems.
Through the analysis of data collected from each student’s most recent provincial mathematics assessment, we discovered that a large percentage of our students may require further attention in numbers and operations (refer to graph). By focusing on number sense and operations in our Continuous School Improvement plan, we hope to better support these students and increase the percent of students that are meeting number sense outcomes.
The intention behind our goal is that by targeting the number sense outcomes we should see an overall improvement in all strands of mathematics as well as have more students reaching a higher level of understanding.