To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
– Anatole France
One of the cornerstones of our school community is our dedicated group of teachers – Design Team – who commit time, regularly, to keep building on the Greystone dream. Over the years, it has been these teacher leaders who have pushed our school’s vision of exemplary teaching and learning forward. Teachers, representing all grade levels from our school, have come to the table to share successes, hopes, frustrations and challenges in our work of leading a school community with vision, passion and creativity. When this group comes to the table, the expectations are made clear:
- we construct and de-construct our knowledge and understanding together
- everyone’s voice is heard and respected
- decisions are made collaboratively based on what’s best for our kids
- the work is often messy, the conversations tough, but there is trust in the process and in each other
- no idea is too crazy and this is a safe place to make mistakes and figure things out together
Our Design Team has been instrumental in pushing our school community to take on projects, pilot new initiatives and share our learning with others. Here are some examples of what we have accomplished:
– highly collaborative learning teams at every grade level that have adopted an inquiry approach to teaching and learning via the Galileo Educational Network
– assisted all staff develop a balanced assessment program that focuses on Assessment AS, FOR and OF Learning. This means our school practices align with best practices in assessment – no awards assemblies recognizing the accomplishments of a few; growth is the goal for each and every learner and is recognized and celebrated by all teachers, students and parents.
– continued development of excellent home/school communication and partnerships through classroom blogs, student-led conferences, development of student portfolios and sharing other evidence of student learning
– submitted a proposal and were awarded with a Community Project Grant to purchase additional technology for use in supporting a school-wide inquiry into our Spruce Grove Community
– job embedded Professional Development opportunities where we meet in subject discipline groups to generate authentic learning tasks that see students focus on the process skills of thinking like a Scientist, Mathemetician, Writer or Historian.
– planned yearly Staff Retreats to focus on collaboration and professional learning with colleagues
– piloted new outcomes based report card focused on performance assessments and process skills
– shared examples of exemplary teaching practice with school board and senior executive guests on several occasions
– developed open practice of feedback/feedforward loops, professional dialogue and looking at student work; shared this practice at an international conference in New Zealand
– regularly evaluated, designed, adjusted our school’s focus related to our School Education Plan – and continue to look for meaningful ways to measure success
This past week we had our first meeting of our new school year and welcomed a number of new teachers to the table. It is inspiring to see so many individuals wanting to contribute to the growth of our school community as we continue to work towards bringing the best learning to our students. We have a number of school initiatives starting up this year along with lots of support and ideas coming from our School Division. Our first task was to make some sense of it all for our school community and continue our conversation (and ACTION) around engaging all learners at Greystone. We’re livin’ the dream, building on the dream and pushing forward…always!