What is Literacy For Life?
Early Learning and Literacy was identified by the Board of Education as a strategic priority for Saskatoon Public Schools in 2004. This learning priority is popularly known as Literacy for Life. We are committed to the goal of all students, K-8, reading and writing at or above grade level in multiple subject areas so they can act upon their potential in school and in life - ultimately creating a healthier democratic society for the 21st century.
What Difference Will Literacy for Life Make?
Ask any child or adult who struggles with reading what a difference it would make if they could successfully read and you'll have your answer to this question. The difference that learning to read can make for a child cannot be merely stated in words. To be a successful and independent reader means that school is easier, self-esteem is higher, and life success is greater.
How Will We Know That We Have Been Successful?
The overall goal of Literacy for Life is to have all students, K-12, reading at or above grade level. While this outcome includes all students, we recognize some students have severe learning challenges and for them, this outcome may not be possible. We expect, however, that students with learning difficulties will make significant improvements in their literacy skills as a result of Literacy for Life.
Measuring our results allows us to identify and celebrate our successes and ensure our public that targeted resources and effort produce great results for our students. To determine our success, we gather data, specifically student achievement data, and report to our staff and our public about our results. Since we began Literacy for Life, our students have made significant gains in literacy. Check our progress reports here.
In 2006, Literacy for Life was awarded the Premier's Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education. In 2010, Kim Newlove, Superintendent of Education who leads work in Literacy for Life, was awarded the Council of the Federation's Literacy Leader Award. These are just two indications that Saskatoon Public Schools is being recognized for its efforts to create powerful learners!
In the strategic implementation of any plan, it is critical to have baseline information, as well as an ongoing monitoring process that relies on data. We are monitoring progress towards identified outcomes and indicators of success. Data collected focuses on the measurement indicators, with an emphasis on student achievement and teachers' instructional practices in literacy. For more information on the data we've collected so far, check our progress reports above.
With the support of a variety of external consultants, we are developing our leadership capacity so that our students can sustain high levels of achievement in literacy. This leadership development includes the following:
- focusing on instructional leadership;
- aligning our administrative structure to support our two learning priorities;supporting school-based collaborative inquiry teams; and
- developing internal capacities to lead staff development.
External Consultant Support
The effective development and implementation of a literacy plan of this magnitude requires the support of external consultants Over the years we have been supported by:
- Dr. Bruce Joyce and Dr. Emily Calhoun - researchers and instructional leaders in the areas of literacy and staff development. (Georgia
- Lisa Mueller - Instructional Consultant (Alberta),
- Nicole Simons - Instructional Consultant French Immersion (Alberta)
- Dr. Anne Davies - Assessment for Learning Consultant (British Columbia)
- Debbie Miller - Primary Reading Consultant (Colorado)
We are currently supported by:
- Dr. Lyn Sharratt - Professor and Author (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)
- Dr. Gerald Duffy - Professor and Author (Washington)
Identifying Partnerships with Our Community
We are very fortunate to have a number of partners and sponsors who are working with us at the Division level to promote literacy. Our major sponsors over the years have included: Grand & Toy, Rawlco Radio, Adams Lumber, Saskatoon Blades, Canwest Raise a Reader Program, Scholastic Books, Juxtapose Productions, The Sound Lounge, Saskatoon Co-op, Market Garden IGA, Safeway, Market Mall, Midtown Plaza, The Centre at Circle and 8th, the Saskatoon Soccer Centre, and McNally Robinson Booksellers. We are a fortunate school division to have so many partners stepping forward to support the literacy levels, and ultimately the health, of our students!
We are using a number of different ways to communicate about Literacy for Life. Some of these include: posting information on our website; news releases and media advisories; school newsletters; school assemblies; classroom conversations; focus groups with staff and the larger community, school signage; and satisfaction surveys.
Celebrations re-energize and motivate us to continue our efforts to make the learning of our students a priority in our community. We are celebrating our successes and building pride in Saskatoon Public Schools. Celebrations large and small occur throughout the school year. Watch your school's newsletters for details about celebrations of literacy in your area!