There is no better indicator of student learning than to know that our school is full of teachers and admin who are also learning along side them. We want to share the excitement of all the new learning going on through our reflections on our teacher and admin blogs. Our writing for a public audience through blogs has been growing as the year progressed. You can view our teacher’s blogs at: fhsslearn.blogspot.com We hope this will give you a flavor of what we have been doing in our school and classrooms. Next year we hope to move to a multi user wordpress platform for teacher and student blogs. Our grade 8 students will be developing digital portfolios that they will be able to use throughout their high school years. We will also be using the school district new surreyschools.ca web space for students and staff. You will have a chance to view our new school website on surreyschools.ca after August 20.
This past year our school received a $25,000 grant from the Surrey School District for what we refer to as the Innovative Learning Design Grant. A group of teachers have been meeting all year to develop collaborative projects that involved more innovative teaching and learning. The teachers first learned Backwards Design as a way of planning their lessons. They also tried some cross curricular projects that involved project based learning. This has been an exciting time with lots of new learning. We also purchased an ipad cart with 30 ipads and these were used in many of our classrooms and in our Learning Commons. In addition, next year 4 of our Social Studies 11 classes students will be using ipads to access an electronic version of the Social Studies 11 textbook. We really appreciate the support of the Surrey School District to make these projects possible.
Recently we have also applied to the Ministry of Education to be considered an innovative school and to have permission to waive some of the Ministry of Education regulations that might be getting in the way of our becoming even more innovative. We are wanting to pilot a grade 8 and 9 loop that would have a cohort of 60 students take Humanities 8 and Math and Science 8 with 2 teachers for 1/2 day for all of grade 8 and then again in grade 9. The teachers would be using inquiry based learning in their classes and would have lots of opportunity to team teach and collaborate. Research tells us that this looping makes a big difference in student learning. Next year we hope to get approval to pilot a Senior Science Academy that would involve many Advanced Placement courses (eg. AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Physics for example) with 2 teachers for the first year and 2 more teachers the second year. This would also be a cohort of 60 students who would apply for the program. We would also be using inquiry based learning and field studies in this senior pilot project. We are very excited about the possibility of beginning this work for the senior science pilot for the 2013-14 school year. These two pilot projects are both very innovative but otherwise not connected. Our conversations have been rich and stimulating and while we acknowledge that we have an excellent school that is getting excellent results we also know that we can get even better. We look forward to sharing our learning with our school and community in the year ahead. It promises to be an exciting learning process.