H.J. Cody School shares success strategies on provincial High School Redesign web series

H.J. Cody School shares success strategies on provincial High School Redesign web series

School-wide efforts underway at H.J. Cody have set the Sylvan Lake school at the forefront of high school redesign and has resulted in a special invitation to share their strategies with educators across the province.

Schools in Chinook’s Edge are well underway with work on high school redesign. At its core is the goal of ensuring students take ownership of their own learning by creating a school culture and expectation that they master concepts along the way through a variety of methods. Alberta Education recently launched a ‘Moving Forward with High School Redesign’ initiative to ensure the resulting increase in high school completion continues to grow.

“We’ve seen many great things for years in Chinook’s Edge and their approach to Instructional Leadership is used as a model across the province,” said Myranda Shepherd, Coordinator with Central Alberta Regional Consortium – the group planning the web learning series. “Each school in Chinook’s Edge is unique and the leadership team allows them to be flexible so they can make this initiative their own, to create empowered and inspired learning communities in their schools.

“Certainly Olds High School has been a pioneer in this work for many years and now we are thrilled to have H.J. Cody on the frontlines sharing their incredible work. Their thoughts on assessment and learning need to be heard by as many educators across the province as possible. Principal Mike Garrow, and Vice Principals Alexandra Lambert and Darcy Marshall, have been so intentional about creating sustainable growth in quality learning and setting a culture where these high expectations are modeled and lived. There is nothing more important to students than the quality of learning in the classroom, and H.J. Cody has taken that priority to a powerful level.”

Shepherd was involved in organizing four network meetings across the province, where H.J. Cody administrators presented their high school redesign strategies and goals. Their approach and determination were so highly regarded, it quickly led to the invitation to participate in the web series.

“A lot of prior work had been done at H.J. Cody, which helped created the quick successes we have seen since we began moving forward with high school redesign in 2014,” said Principal Garrow. “Our focus is meaningful assessment, because to us it provides the most direct impact on student success. Our goal is to be a school where all students learn at high levels.”

The teaching team at H.J. Cody unpacks the complex series of instruction, testing, assignments and other tools that results in a grade, to ensure each student clearly masters the knowledge and understands the topic all along the way. This represents a massive systematic transformation, and involves multiple facets including regular staff observation by peers and the admin team, with formalized feedback that is guided through templates the admin team created and will share as part of the webinar.

“Our entire school is devoted to this and we are so proud of our team,” said Vice Principal Lambert. “Students are speaking differently about their learning, teachers are collaborating to improve their own teaching methods, the learning that is taking place in classrooms is guided by clearly defined outcomes, and everything that takes place in every classroom is designed to impact success for all students. We want to increasingly be known for the academic work we are focusing on.  This invitation confirmed that we are on the right track!”

The live webinar will be shown across the province on May 9 from 3:30 – 4:30 at http://abhsredesign.ca/ It will also be recorded and available as a professional learning guide through the website.