All kindergarten to Grade 8 students will achieve at or above grade level in reading, writing, and mathematics. They will be engaged in their learning and graduate as active participants in lifelong learning and as responsible, caring, culturally responsive citizens in the community, nation, and world. In pursuit of this goal, we will continue to focus on the engagement, achievement and graduation rates of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students.
Literacy for Life, a focus on early learning and literacy in Saskatoon Public Schools, is one of two strategic priorities adopted by the Board of Education. The second division priority is Collegiate Renewal.
Learning to read makes a profound difference in the life of a child. To be a successful and independent reader means that school is easier, self-esteem is higher, and there are greater opportunities for success. Students with learning difficulties will make significant improvements in their literacy skills as a result of Literacy for Life interventions.
Measuring our results allows us to identify and celebrate our successes and ensure that targeted resources and effort produce great results for our students. To determine our success, we gather student achievement data and report the results to staff and our public. Since Literacy for Life began in 2004, our students have made significant gains in literacy.
Saskatoon Public Schools continues to strengthen the instructional skills of our teachers, so students can sustain high levels of achievement in literacy. Initiatives include: a focus on instructional leadership; alignment of our administrative structure to support our two learning priorities; support for school-based collaborative inquiry teams; and building our internal capacity to lead staff development.
Highlights of Literacy for Life work during the 2015-16 school year include:
Literacy consultants supported new prekindergarten to Grade 8 teachers with professional learning from a culturally responsive perspective. Prekindergarten teachers focused on gaining an understanding of essential learning experiences, play and exploration, and oral language development. Kindergarten to Grade 3 teachers developed insight into the five phases of the Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM) and reviewed the Saskatchewan Reads document. Grade 3-8 teachers received professional learning guided by the Assessment for Teaching Framework.
Our strategic work in prekindergarten and kindergarten focused on elevating oral language development as research indicates that some children are arriving at school with significant gaps in language exposure and acquisition. As part of our effort to close the gap, prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers have created classroom environments that are rich in language acquisition.
French Immersion staff are actively addressing diversity in student needs and ability by differentiating instruction and applying appropriate instructional interventions. Each of our seven elementary French Immersion schools have implemented peer tutoring to support readers who are reading slightly below grade-level.
Support for mathematics focused on key areas including strengthening mathematics learning communities as a model for distributed leadership with attention to the concepts of computational fluency, number sense, mathematical mindset, and differentiated instruction. A computational fluency pilot project in five was initiated in five schools, and work began on a new early learning initiative that serves to create living examples of Reggio-inspired mathematics.
For more information on Literacy for Life and how we are engaging students in inspiring learning please read our Literacy for Life progress report.