English Parents' Committee Association (EPCA), Montreal, Quebec
Shares

Category Archives for Editorial

CAQ wants to close school boards and replace with administrative centers

Shares
Shawn Apel

CBC Daybreak with Shawn Apel Interview

On Friday, September 14, 2018, EPCA’s President, Rhonda Boucher participated on the “Daybreak” CBC Radio show at noon with Shawn Apel, as well as members from the four political parties, the new Director for QESBA, Russell Copeman and the Honourable Marlene Jennings.

The topic of the radio show was focused on the “CAQ” wanting to close School Boards and opening “Administrative Centers”.

Link to the show recording: https://bit.ly/2O6aeQp

Marlene Jennings and Rhonda Boucher were part of the “Election Systems Study Panel” (ESSP). The ESSP was put together to address the benefits of Universal Suffrage, the election of Commissioners and the practices of the English School Boards. Ms. Jennings brought up the Study and told Christopher Skeete, from the CAQ, that he obviously didn’t read the study.

Ms. Boucher promised to post the study on the epcaquebec.org website. Please take 20 minutes and read the study before you vote. You can send questions and/or comments to info@epcaquebec.org.

High school secrets to success

Shares

Middle-school-high-school

High school secrets to success: a closely connected middle school

When middle and high schools work together, it can have a big impact on student success, including higher graduation rates and higher GPAs.

A surprising factor in high schools’ success at preparing students for college is a practice that’s not available for all high schools, but offers useful lessons for all schools: having a closely connected middle school. While research exploring the impact of combined middle and high schools on college enrollment is lacking, several winners of GreatSchools’ College Success Award credit their combined sixth to twelfth grade models as a part of their success.

In schools where middle and high schools share space and their administrative teams work closely together, several things happen that contribute to students’ postsecondary success. Students get familiar with a school’s culture and expectations earlier, which is especially helpful when the school has high expectations for postsecondary success; students have the opportunity to build longer-lasting relationships with teachers; and staff can identify and intervene with at-risk students earlier. Implementing more 6-12 and 7-12 systems may not be an easy solution for every district, but all schools can learn from these benefits.

A head start on learning school culture
Combined middle/high schools offer students more time to learn and internalize aspects of the school’s culture that will affect their success, while the schools have the opportunity to expose students to college and career pathways in earlier grades.

At College Success Award-winning Young Women’s Preparatory Academy, a rigorous college prep magnet school in Miami-Dade Unified School District, students enter in 6th grade and immediately start taking advanced classes to get them ready for AP classes in high school. In addition to walking halls filled with posters from the colleges where their older schoolmates are headed, middle schoolers receive explicit guidance from their college-bound peers. Through a structured program they call Big Sister, Little Sister, the high schoolers mentor middle schools students, helping them with academic and social challenges. The seniors run the entire program, guiding the high school mentors.

“[Middle schoolers] need a lot of attention, they need a lot of direction, they need a lot of structure,” says Concepcion Martinez, principal of YWPA, adding that if they get this attention during these early years, their college-going identity is formed, something that is much harder to do with incoming 9th graders.

At Newbury Junior/Senior High School in semi-rural Newbury, OH, high school students work directly with middle schoolers through a peer mentoring program. Principal Michael Chaffee says the high school’s celebration of college and career plans gets middle school students excited about their futures and makes them more passionate about learning.

Teacher relationships
The development of meaningful teacher-student relationships is critical for helping students succeed after high school. The longer teachers spend with students, the more invested they can be in supporting the student’s long-term growth, and the better they can understand individual students’ needs.

Such is the argument for the practice of looping, in which teachers and students remain together for two or more years. Research suggests that looping in the middle school years supports the development of meaningful teacher-student relationships and impacts learning and student achievement. There were even gains for new students who joined a group of classmates who had been with the same teacher for more than a year. The effects may be even more pronounced for groups traditionally underrepresented in college. A recent study showed that looping in elementary school increased student test scores, and the effects were greatest for minority students.

When middle and high schools operate together, many teachers naturally connect with students multiple times in their middle and high school lives — from childhood to young adulthood. A student may take 6th grade English, 8th grade history and 10th grade journalism all from the same teacher. When teachers and students have more time to develop strong relationships, teachers can spend less time on “getting to know you” activities every year and focus on helping each student grow to their highest potential.

Identifying student needs earlier
Starting in middle school also means identifying at-risk students even earlier than 9th grade. At Newbury, Chaffee says the school’s strong connection between middle and high school grades helps ensure all students receive a strong and consistent network of support. Teachers collaborate across grade levels, which is especially important for students who need extra help.

Having a connected middle school eliminates some of the hazards of the 9th grade crisis. The transition to high school is associated with a risk of failure, particularly for low-income students. Research shows that in ninth grade, students are more likely to miss classes, earn low grades, and have disciplinary issues than at any other time in high school.

Middle and high schools that are not connected can help ameliorate this by being strategic about the transition process. Advisory programs, which match small groups of students with teacher or staff, can help students get to know at least one adult on campus more quickly than the typical high school model where 9th grade students have six to eight teachers, and every teacher has a roster of 100 to 200 students.

Jean Baldwin Grossman, a lecturer of economics and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, has studied a multitude of ways to help prepare middle schoolers for high school transitions, and notes that a crucial step is to expose middle schoolers to the realities of high school life.

“A good place to start is developing some bridging activities,” she says. “Like having middle schoolers visit the high school.”

Some strategies for that exposure include high school orientation and summer bridge programs, which let students spend extra time in their new school and get a feel for high school culture and coursework. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers can also take steps to collaborate across the district to ensure curriculum and expectations are aligned, and to identify students who may need extra support.

Original article: Greater Schools

Summer school

Summer School: The Enhanced and Extended Learning Project

Shares

Summer School Attendance as a means to enhanced and remedial education for all students. The goal is:

a) Better quality of graduate;
b) Increase the graduation rate.

As we take a look at our neighbours to the South:

“... As the final months of the 2016-17 school year unfold, the nation’s 4 million 9th graders—the Class of 2020—are entering the make-it-or-break-it final weeks of their first year of high school. And GradNation—the national campaign by America’s Promise Alliance to increase graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020—is entering its make-it-or-break-it years.

GradNation has a goal to reach 90 percent graduation.”
(https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/03/24/six-ways-to-improve-high-school-graduation.html)

... our own provincial government has a new goal:

“...Quebec seeks to curb slumping high school graduation rate
Premier Philippe Couillard wants to increase rate to 85% by
2030.”
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-education-couillard-proulx-1.4171106)

... Lester B. Pearson, our own school board as per a last year report:
“...The LBPSB recently posted a seven-year graduation and qualification rate of 87.8 per cent, which is higher than the seven-year average of public schools (74.9) and rates for all schools in the province (78.8).”
(http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/west-island-gazette/lester-b-pearson-boasts-top-public-school-graduation-rates-in-quebec)

In addition to these numerical goals, our students also face additional competition from foreign and out of province students in higher education.

So in addition to a new goal to increase the graduation rate, we also now require a qualitative factor.

In the United States some states have recognized that some of the major issues have to do with income disparity. The second is what is referred to as the summer learning loss, summer setback or summer slide.
(See report by David M Quinn AND Morgan Polikoff
https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/)

Based on the Brookings study referenced above, they found that students lost an average of about 20-30 percent over the summer. When socio economic factors are included, a gap starts to develop. While we do not have adverse socio economic factors as exists in the U.S., they do exist in our province and as such they present an impediment to our primary goals.

The solution is to use existing tools and facilities to run within our summer school project.

The Summer School Project
Common suggestions include blending academic learning with hands-on or recreational activities, professionalizing summer school staff, and forming partnerships with community organizations to leverage resources (cost as much as $1500 per student).

The Reading and Math Based Programs
READS for Summer Learning. In READS, which has been iteratively modified over several randomized trials, students receive eight books in the mail over the summer that are matched to their reading level and interests. Along with each book, students receive a tri-fold paper that leads them through a pre-reading activity and a post-reading comprehension check. Students are asked to mail the postage-prepaid tri-fold back; families receive reminders when tri-folds are not returned. (Cost as much as $700 per student.)

While investing in extensive school-based summer options may not be feasible, it may be cost-effective and strategic for School boards to begin to offer targeted out-of-school interventions to the students most at risk of backsliding. (Fusion Portal can help track certain metrics.)

Where is summer learning successful
The new term for Summer school is Summer Learning and some states have new names to change the stigma. In California it is called “Expanded Learning Strategic Plan” for enhanced student success.

Signed into law in California, in 2014, this program focuses existing resources on summer and year-round programs; requires data-driven local quality improvement plans; leverages state data systems to track outcomes; and streamlines program administration. Implementation is supported by new quality standards from the California Afterschool Network.

MASSACHUSETTS: After-School and Out-of-School Time (ASOST) Quality Enhancement Grant Program
Since 2011, the ASOST program has provided grants to enhance afterschool and summer learning programs in areas such as professional development and STEM; address barriers to participation and expand summer learning programs specifically. The program was appropriated $1.7M in 2014. (N.B.: This is the number one state in education in the US.)

Summary
Our solution identifies goals, and the reasons for this radical solution: Summer School and its new term: Enhanced and Extended Learning.