Working together for students
This new feature will allow each of our Superintendency teams to share some of their current priorities and provide clarity on the projects under their responsibility. We invite you to visit this feature regularly, so that you can gain an insight into the level of commitment and priority we place on the services we provide to students throughout Chinook’s Edge!
Friday, January 20, 2012
For Immediate Release, January 20, 2012: Many students who are starting Kindergarten in Chinook’s Edge this fall will already be familiar with school staff, thanks to a network of community programs that prepares children as young as three for the opportunities waiting for them in school.
“Chinook’s Edge makes connections with these young children early, through our involvement with pre-schools and playschools in each of our communities,” said Dawn Weststrate, Early Intervention Coordinator. “We work with an effective network of professionals, including Community Health Services and other medical professionals in each community, so that we can provide coordinated services to meet developmental needs of young children and their families. It’s a priority for us to build relationships with these kids as they come through playschool, so that we already know them when they arrive in our classrooms. That way we can build on their strengths and respond to their needs, to ensure they are firmly on the road to school success.”
Some pre-schools in Chinook’s Edge are housed in traditional schools, making the transition to Kindergarten seamless for young children. In other communities, Chinook’s Edge staff works together with playschool and pre-school professionals to assist children with diverse needs.
“We determine their current learning goals and then connect them with services and resources to meet their needs. This might involve professionals who assist with speech and language delays, or vision or hearing impairment, or emotional and physical difficulties. We make these connections early, and provide opportunities for these kids to enhance literacy, numeracy and social participation skills with other children they will be going into school with. These are play-based learning experiences in a setting that is supportive of their young age, and it introduces very young children to the collaborative learning communities they will benefit from in Chinook’s Edge,” said Weststrate.
Pre-Kindergarten is another service offered to the youngest learners in Chinook’s Edge. This programming is now offered formally in three elementary schools, including École Steffie Woima School in Sylvan Lake, Jessie Duncan School in Penhold and École Olds Elementary School. Other Chinook’s Edge Kindergarten programs work to accommodate four year-old students with specific needs. As with three and four-year olds in playschools, pre-kindergarten students have access to all early childhood services while they learn and acquire new skills through play.
“All students who register for Kindergarten receive a bag of literacy materials and resources, which is geared for students and parents to share in their homes,” said Weststrate. “Our Kindergarten bags include items that promote literacy, such as crayons, scissors, Playdoh and books, including a book that was designed specifically for Kindergarten students in Chinook’s Edge. It all helps prepare children for the exciting time waiting for them in Kindergarten. Literacy has been identified as a fundamental building block for all other learning, so many of our activities help build literacy skills.
“We invest in our students very young by building high quality programming, caring relationships and strong connections in our communities. With all of these priorities in place, young children can make a smooth transition to school and embrace learning early for benefits that last a lifetime.”
Kindergarten registration is underway in all Chinook’s Edge schools. Contact your community Chinook’s Edge school for information.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Any physics professor who thinks that lecturing to first-year students is the best way to teach them about electromagnetic waves can stop reading this item. For everybody else, however, listen up: A new study shows that students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor.
The research, appearing online today in Science, was conducted by a team at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, in Canada, led by physics Nobelist Carl Wieman. First at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and now at an eponymous science education initiative at UBC, Wieman has devoted the past decade to improving undergraduate science instruction, using methods that draw upon the latest research in cognitive science, neuroscience, and learning theory.
In this study, Wieman trained a postdoc, Louis Deslauriers, and a graduate student, Ellen Schelew, in an educational approach, called “deliberate practice,” that asks students to think like scientists and puzzle out problems during class. For 1 week, Deslauriers and Schelew took over one section of an introductory physics course for engineering majors, which met three times for 1 hour. A tenured physics professor continued to teach another large section using the standard lecture format.
The results were dramatic: After the intervention, the students in the deliberate practice section did more than twice as well on a 12-question multiple-choice test of the material as did those in the control section. They were also more engaged—attendance rose by 20% in the experimental section, according to one measure of interest—and a post-study survey found that nearly all said they would have liked the entire 15-week course to have been taught in the more interactive manner.
“It’s almost certainly the case that lectures have been ineffective for centuries. But now we’ve figured out a better way to teach” that makes students an active participant in the process, Wieman says. Cognitive scientists have found that “learning only happens when you have this intense engagement,” he adds. “It seems to be a property of the human brain.”
The “deliberate practice” method begins with the instructor giving students a multiple-choice question on a particular concept, which the students discuss in small groups before answering electronically. Their answers reveal their grasp of (or misconceptions about) the topic, which the instructor deals with in a short class discussion before repeating the process with the next concept.
While previous studies have shown that this student-centered method can be more effective than teacher-led instruction, Wieman says this study attempted to provide “a particularly clean comparison ... to measure exactly what can be learned inside the classroom.” He hopes the study persuades faculty members to stop delivering traditional lectures and “switch over” to a more interactive approach. More than 55 courses at Colorado across several departments now offer that approach, he says, and the same thing is happening gradually at UBC. Deslauriers says that the professor whose students fared worse on the test initially resisted the findings, “but this year, after 30 years of teaching, he’s learning how to transform his course.”
Jere Confrey, an education researcher at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, said the value of the study goes beyond the impressive exam results. “It provides evidence of the benefits of increasing student engagement in their own learning,” she says. “It’s not just gathering data that matters but also using it to generate relevant discussion of key questions and issues.” She also notes that “the attendance results remind us of the importance of providing the right opportunities to learn.”
Monday, November 21, 2011
Please visit this linked invitation from our new Minister of Education – Our Children, Our Future: Getting It Right
Friday, November 18, 2011
Click on the following link for a video showcase of our new Chinook's Edge Mission and Vision Statements!
Monday, October 3, 2011
In Chinook’s Edge, a great deal of support for teachers comes from school and division leaders who share the priority to engage every student in meaningful learning. To achieve this, we need to not only support our teachers in their professional learning, but we also need to support our school-based administrators as they focus on enhancing their instructional leadership skills.
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Monday, August 29, 2011
Chinook’s Edge provides an extensive New Teacher Orientation program for teachers who are either new to the profession or new to the division, to ensure they have the best start possible to their exciting career. The program is highlighted in an Alberta Education video called Promising Practices, which profiles exemplary mentorship programs.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 2, 2011
Chinook’s Edge Superintendency Team… Working together for students!
Current research in education could not be any clearer in pointing out that, if we want to improve student learning and change the experience of the child in the classroom, we need to rely on the skill set and the mind set of our teachers. In Chinook’s Edge, I am extremely proud of our caring, progressive, and deeply committed teachers. With help from a dynamic group of support staff and a highly professional group of school based administrators, our teachers are set up for success across our division. At the Division Office level, we are service-oriented and aligned behind our entire staff and their efforts to ensure that every student is achieving at the highest levels possible. Each of our Associate Superintendents are responsible for wide-reaching areas within our organization that support our mission and our vision for the future. At the same time, they are interdependent and as a unit their synergy allows Chinook’s Edge to be the best it can possibly be. I am convinced that our Board of Trustees have assembled one of the highest quality Superintendency teams in the province of Alberta, and I am honored to be a part of that team.
Our new ‘Working together for students’ feature on our website will allow each member of our Superintendency team to share some of their current priorities and to provide clarity on a variety of projects they are working on. We invite you to visit this feature regularly, so that you can stay in touch with how we are moving forward with our division vision for a preferred future.
The Chinook’s Edge Superintendency Team:
* A separate media release was issued on each of these announcements, and can be accessed in the news archives at www.chinooksedge.ab.ca.