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Granum school staff works to engage, inspire, empower students

There is a lot going on at Granum school, and trustees with Livingstone Range School Division recently had the chance to learn more about it.
Trustees heard a presentation from Granum school principal Jacqueline Kark, who discussed the school’s school improvement plan.
The mission of Granum school is to engage, inspire and empower students to become lifelong learners who seek excellence in their endeavours, relationships and in their contributions to the global community.
Kark discussed the data provided by several measures.
The first is the accountability pillar, which is the provincial government’s report of the school.
It identified strengths in the school including a high safe and caring level; a high education quality level; high parental involvement; very high school improvement; and intermediate levels of citizenship.
Concerns that were identified include low satisfaction with the program of studies; very low levels of acceptable standard and standard of excellence scores in provincial achievement tests; and a very low level of work preparation.
The Tell Them from Me survey identified strengths at the elementary level, that is Grade 1-6, appropriately challenged; student engagement; positive relationships; advocacy at school; and positive teacher-student relationships.
Concerns included a sense of belonging; and moderate or high levels of anxiety.
At the secondary level, that is Grade 7-9, strengths included relevance; feeling safe attending school; positive-teacher-student relations; and a positive learning climate.
Concerns included valuing schooling outcomes; positive behaviour; students planing to finish high school; and students planning to attend college or university.
Kark noted extreme care must be used in interpreting the secondary results as the only data available was provided by five Grade 7 students.
Four goals were then identified in the plan.

  • Improve numeracy skills and number sense in all students.
  • Improve student ability to decode, comprehend and read fluently in all subject areas.
  • Create an increased sense of school community and citizenship.
  • Focus on transitions from Granum school to other programs.

Kark then identified several strategies used to meet each goal.
Kark concluded by highlighting some of the things worth celebrating at the school.
Every student improved in literacy. Some may still not be where they need to be but they all improved.
“We saw growth from every single one of our students,” Kark said.
Teachers all use the data to help students, and all use a balanced literacy approach.
Granum participated in Four Schools, One Book in collaboration with elementary school in Claresholm, Stavely, and Nanton.
Teachers use more games, including Mathletics, to teach numeracy.
To address transitions, this year four out of five Grade 9 students went to registration night at Willow Creek Composite high school in Claresholm.
In order to increase the sense of belonging for students the school has started cross-graded synergy groups where, every Friday, students would learn more about a subject they are interested in.
Staff also cooked breakfast for students before Christmas, there was a welcome-back breakfast to start the year, and assemblies are student led.
The school is also beginning to work with Alberta Health Services to host sessions for parents.
Kark also talked about addressing other areas of concern.
With low provincial achievement test scores in science, the school is doing more review and breaking students into more groups.
Higher levels of anxiety are addressed partly through the use of Sadie, the school’s therapy dog.
Active citizenship is being addressed with a variety of activities including the Terry Fox Run; filling Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes; decorating flower pots and delivering them to service providers in the community; Pink Shirt Day to stamp out bullying; and beautifying the playground in the fall.
Chair Brad Toone commended Kark on all the efforts in the school.
“You’ve exceeded all expectations,” he said.
“We have an amazing staff,” Kark responded.

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