Cross Country Track
Track and Field Update: Unfortunately this year, due to scheduling conflicts Pine Street School students will not be participating in the Cross Country Track this fall.
2015–16 Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments Pilot
2015–2016 Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments Pilot
This fall Alberta Education will continue the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessment (SLA) pilot. An announcement was made recently by the Minister of Education, David Eggen, indicating that participation in the 2015 administration of the Grade 3 SLA Pilot is "optional at the school authority level" but he strongly encouraged school authorities to participate in this year's pilot. Elk Island Public Schools has carefully considered this and determined that we will proceed with the 2015 pilot as originally planned. Some of the considerations that influenced this decision included: The tremendous intrinsic value of the SLAs, which are more inclusive in their scope than PATs as an assessment tool; that the SLAs will accord teachers and parents important information early in the school year that will be of great benefit to learning and instruction, and that the Ministry acted upon detailed feedback
following the 2014 pilot provided by teachers and administrators throughout the province to significantly revise the SLAs and streamline the procedures, therefore reducing the time required to administer and assess.
The pilot will include all Grade 3 students in EIPS and will take place between September 14 and November 1. The assessments will focus on numeracy, literacy, and critical thinking, be digitally based, and offer an opportunity for students to show their learning in ways not possible with paper-based tests. The goal is to provide timely information to parents and teachers, help enhance classroom instruction, and ensure any student learning needs are identified.
Further information regarding SLAs excerpted from the Alberta Education Website is below.
What are Student Learning Assessments (SLAs)?
The Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) are digitally-based beginning of the year “check in” provincial assessment tools that Alberta is developing to enable both parents and teachers to identify student strengths and areas of growth at the start of the school year. The SLA3 is a new, digitally-based provincial assessment focused on "literacy and numeracy", which are defined as follows:
- Literacy is the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with language to acquire, construct and communicate meaning in all aspects of daily living.
- Numeracy is the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with quantitative or spatial information to make informed decisions in all aspects of daily living.
What are the purposes of SLAs?
The SLAs have three main purposes
- To improve student learning (primary purpose).
- To enhance instruction for students.
- To assure Albertans our education system is meeting the needs of students and achieves the outcomes of the Ministerial Order on Student Learning.
With these purposes in mind, the SLAs have been developed primarily as a tool for teachers and parents to help inform and support student learning.
Provincial assessment programs, including SLAs, are meant to complement, not replace, day-to day teacher observations and classroom assessment. They are sources of information that must be interpreted, used, and communicated within the context of regular and continuous assessment by classroom teachers.
Why the change to SLAs?
SLAs are designed to be a start of the school year “check in” or formative assessment tool. Knowing early in the school year, rather than at the end, what students know and are able to do and areas for growth will serve as useful reference and enable collaboration between parents and teachers to help students learn and grow during the year. Also, the SLAs are flexible and can be completed over a number of days rather than on a specific day and time, thereby giving teachers greater flexibility and students the opportunity to take the assessment “when ready”.
Also, as provincial programs of study continue to evolve to place a greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy development in all subject areas, as well as competencies (an inter-related set of knowledge, skills and attitudes), provincial standardized tests must also evolve.
What is the structure of the SLA3?
The four components of the SLA3 are:
- digital interactive literacy questions (45 questions)
- literacy performance task (4 activities)
- digital interactive numeracy questions (44 questions)
- numeracy performance task (2 activities).
The SLA3 is available in English and in French. The French versions are designed to meet the needs of Francophone and French Immersion students.
Further information on the 2015–2016 Grade 3 SLA pilot, visit www.education.alberta.ca/sla.
Grade 6 PAT's 2014-16
Grade 6 Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)
In February, Alberta Education announced Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) will be written by all Grade 6 students throughout the province in June 2015 and June 2016. This change will allow a second year of pilot testing of the Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) at the Grade 3 level before SLAs are introduced at the Grade 6 level. As such, all Grade 6 students in Elk Island Public schools will write PATs this school year and next school year.
We recognize this is a change in how our staff and families were expecting Grade 6 assessments to be delivered this school year. EIPS school staff will continue to work closely with Grade 6 students to ensure they are prepared to complete PATs in May and June 2015.
Alberta Education received feedback from stakeholders throughout the first pilot year of Grade 3 SLAs this past fall. This feedback indicated stakeholders felt more time is needed to ensure the Grade 3 SLAs are a valuable assessment tool for teachers, parents, students, and Albertans before transitioning from PATs to SLAs in grades 6 and 9. The second year of the Grade 3 pilot administration will allow further opportunities to ensure the SLA is a valuable tool. Alberta Education is committed to fully implementing new SLAs in the early grades, but removing or suspending the current achievement tests in the absence of a reasonable alternative would remove an important method of public assurance that the education system is performing well.
Additional key dates and important information from Alberta Education are available at http://www.education.alberta.ca/admin/testing/achievement.aspx.
Boston Pizza Fund-Raiser
Pine Street School Parent Society is participating in the “Operation Education” program initiated by Boston Pizza. Operation Education is a co-operative fundraising program designed to foster a sense of community where staff, students and their families can effectively raise funds to put towards specific school related ventures.
If you visit any Boston Pizza restaurant, (Dine-in or take-out) throughout Alberta, please keep your receipts and turn them into the school. Simply drop them off in the office.
Receipts will be sorted by store location and totaled based on the pre-tax amount. After validation of the accumulated receipts, Pine Street School will receive a cheque for 5% of the total pre-tax receipts submitted to our school to subsidize programs at our discretion.
This is a simple way to help raise funds for our school. Just eat, save and submit those receipts. The funds raised will be used by Pine Street School Parent Society to support school based initiatives.
Thank you for supporting our school.
Kalyna Idol Talent Search
Kalyna Country and the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village are teaming up to launch the 9th Kalyna Idol talent contest.
Registration deadling is Friday, May 15th.
More information and an application form can be obtained at the office.
Connect to Respect
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) would like to thank all of our parents, students, and families for the role you play in ensuring our schools are safe and respectful working and learning environments. EIPS is proud to have a policy in place, Board Policy 19, Respectful Working and Learning Environments, that prohibits harassment and discrimination of any kind in our division. We all play a part in creating a safe, caring, and violence-free environment that fosters and maintains respectful and responsible behaviours.
One such example of this work in action is the recent Pink Shirt Day that took place in late February. We know a number of our schools were involved in Pink Shirt Day activities, and we thank you for being involved and taking a stand against bullying.
If you would like more information about the policies in place within EIPS, please review Policy 19, Respectful Working and Learning Environments on our division website at http://www.eips.ca/policies/535.
Video Surveillance on School Buses
Elk Island Public Schools Student Transportation would like to inform our parents and students using bus services that all EIPS buses are equipped with video surveillance equipment, which is in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The equipment records and stores several days of data and is reviewed regularly by Student Transportation staff who monitor both student and driver conduct. All video and audio recordings of individuals on school buses are for the safety and security of passengers, drivers, and property, and may be used as evidence in a disciplinary matter.
If you have further questions about the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, please contact the FOIP co-ordinator at EIPS by calling 780-417-8204.
Tips and guidelines for home-school communication
To enhance communication between families and schools, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) has recently developed a Communication Protocol for Schools document to provide a framework for communication between the school and our families. The purpose of this document is to guide, manage, and improve home-school communication by offering a standard format, structure, and sequence for regular, ongoing communication.
The document is a useful tool that outlines how schools within EIPS use a variety of communication formats, such as face-to-face meetings, email, Synrevoice, and social media. It also provides a process for parents or guardians to use if they need to bring forward a question or concern. We encourage families to review the document so they know what to expect and what we expect of families.
As communication changes, this document may also evolve. Pine Street School will work to keep parents informed as any processes evolve and change.
The full EIPS Communication Protocol for Schools document is available by visiting http://www.eips.ca/parents.
Update: Kindergarten Programming Survey
As many of you are aware, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) has been exploring the community’s interest in a full-day Kindergarten program operating on alternating days. Over the past year, some parents within Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan have posed questions regarding bus-ride times and transportation fees for Kindergarten students attending half-day Kindergarten programs, which are the predominant options in these communities. These questions led to discussions within the division about current Kindergarten programming offered within EIPS.
In late 2014, the Board of Trustees directed administration to complete public consultations within Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan to determine the community’s interest in a full-day Kindergarten program operating on alternating days. In the spring, the division conducted a series of focus groups—comprised of both teachers and parents—discussing the advantages and disadvantages of both a half-day program and an alternating full-day Kindergarten program. A survey followed, which gathered additional feedback from teachers, parents, community members, and staff within Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan.
Overall, more than two-thirds of the 1,517 survey respondents agreed EIPS should explore offering more alternating full-day Kindergarten options in their communities. Close to two-thirds of the respondents indicated the division shouldn’t eliminate the half-day program and only offer alternating full-day Kindergarten.
Based on all of the responses and suggestions gathered, the Board of Trustees has asked EIPS administration to further explore offering more alternating full-day programming in Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan. As such, throughout the 2015-2016 school year, EIPS will be reviewing where additional alternating full-day programming possibilities may exist. EIPS will continue to keep families updated on any new developments.
Communicating Student Learning: update
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) is pleased to announce it is piloting a new elementary report card this year. The pilot is taking place in 11 EIPS schools and will be fully implemented in all elementary schools in the 2016–2017 school year.
As many of you know, EIPS established a Communicating Student Learning committee in 2014. The committee was made up of parents, teachers, administrators, trustees, and central office staff. Using feedback from close to 1,000 parents and 400 principals and teachers, the committee worked to create an innovative system, which reports academic achievement levels and learner attributes. The report card is exceptionally designed and intended to clearly communicate student achievement to parents and guardians. Long-term, the new report card will help to enhance the quality of education within EIPS by building strong partnerships among students, teachers, and parents.
Similar to the previous report card, students will still be assessed in all areas of the current programs of studies. However, what will be new is the way student learning is reported. The current EPAL scale will no longer be used. Instead, teachers will be using a clear and parent-friendly five-point numeric scoring scale to indicate student achievement. Additionally, the report card allows teachers to share personalized information about each student in relation to learner attributes, areas of strength, areas for growth, and next steps.
Pine Street School is looking forward to implementing the new report card next year. We will be sending more specific information about the new reporting system later in the school year. In the meantime, we plan to send the first of this year’s report cards home on Friday, November 27, 2015.