Welcome back! We hope that everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable break. Christmas can be an eventful and difficult time for families, but we’re glad to see everyone back. I thought for this Principal’s message, I would include a Christmas holiday memory from my past.
When I was little, my grandma had cancer. She and my grandpa were too tired from all the treatments and appointments to travel to our family Christmas dinner. So, instead, never one to accept that someone would be left out, my mom organized the whole family and my grandparent’s neighbours to meet outside my grandparent’s house on Christmas night. We gathered in their front yard (there must have been about 40 people) and started singing Christmas carols. I’ll never forget the look on my grandma’s face, when my grandfather opened the blinds, turned on the porch light and they saw all their family, friends and neighbours singing in their yard. While there were lots of tears, they were tears of joy and acceptance. The evening was filled with food, fun and neighbourhood stories. It was the best Christmas ever! My grandma died a month later, but my grandpa has always said how magical that Christmas was. He remained in the neighbourhood till his death at the ripe age of 91. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
So, here we are back at school for the shortest school term on record. Students have now had a few days to settle back into school routines and catch up with their classmates. We’ve hit the ground running and students are busy and engaged in all kinds of exciting projects. There is a definite buzz around the school as this short and compressed term is already well under way. So fasten your seatbelts as it promises to be a busy term as we continue to strive to maintain an environment that fosters care, hard work, dedication, kindness and inspired and engaged learning. Our mission is to create an inclusive, respectful and nurturing community in which the intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential of young learners can flourish. It is our mission, to engage students with their learning and for them to make a positive contribution to an ever-changing world.
Here are just a few items buzzing around the school these days. We have a number of research projects going on regarding Early Literacy and Early Learning. These inquiry projects involve a number of staff who are interested in learning more about teaching literacy to young children and the resources that are available for educators.
We are presently the lead school in the district regarding using Fresh Grade (a reporting software that is being evaluated by the Ministry of Education for its use as a reporting tool to work in conjunction with the new BC Curriculum).
Several staff will be attending a workshop with me on January 19th regarding new curriculum, assessment, reporting and resources available for teachers. These are indeed changing times with lots of uncertainty. That being said, the new curriculum will be mandatory starting September, 2016. Please note that the Ministry of Education has now authorized two ADDITIONAL Pro D days for teachers to learn more about the new curriculum, assessment, reporting and resources. These additional dates are: March 4 and April 15. What this means for parents is: There is NO SCHOOL on March 4 and April 15. (this was not reflected in our original school calendar… please see the update on our school website)
Presently, the Ministry of Education is auditing all schools in Vancouver for Special Education (low incidence designations). We are anticipating that we will have guests to our school in late January who will be combing through our files making sure we comply with Ministry standards of reporting. This is being done in all Vancouver schools and is not particular to Maple Grove.
Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)
The FSA is a set of annual tests for grade 4 and 7 students assigned by the Ministry of Education. The results of these tests provide a snapshot of how students in grades 4 and 7 are performing in relation to provincial standards in selected areas of reading comprehension, first draft writing, and mathematics (numeracy). A letter is being sent home to parents of students in grades 4 and 7 today. It is important for you to know the following:
- The FSA is a set of annual tests assigned by the Ministry of Education. Results may provide a snapshot of how your child is performing in relation to provincial standards in areas of reading comprehension, first draft writing, and mathematics (numeracy).
- The FSA is not a thorough examination over time of all desired learning outcomes for students. The FSA is one of many measures used to determine how students are progressing and should be considered along with the ongoing assessments and professional judgments carried out by teachers.
- FSA scores are not part of the evaluations normally included in students’ report cards.
- FSA testing consists of both multiple choice and written response questions. The writing portion consists of a long and short writing task. There is a booklet portion of the test and an online portion.
- The multiple-choice portions of the FSA will be done online. The written response portions will be marked within school districts.
- The FSA testing process takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete.
- The FSA provides a snapshot of specific skills only
- One of the purposes of the FSA is to help the province, school districts, and schools evaluate a variety of approaches to providing effective educational programs for a diverse range of students. Schools like to analyze and review FSA scores by professional educators, together with analysis of data from other sources to enable school districts to plan for improvements to educational programs.
- Small differences in results between grades, between parts of the assessment, or from school to school should not be regarded as significant. Comparisons of results between schools require that a variety of demographic, social, and cultural factors be taken into account.
- The marked written response booklets will be sent to the parents, along with the individual student’s results when marks are finalized in the Spring.
- The Ministry of Education expects students to write the FSA. Schools may excuse students with special needs who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) documenting a disability that significantly impacts their performance, and ESL students with insufficient levels of English language proficiency. In addition, schools may excuse a student in the event of a family emergency, a lengthy illness, or other extenuating circumstances of similar seriousness. Parents may also excuse their child from writing the test for any of the above, or other, reasons.
If you require any further information concerning your child’s writing of the FSA, please contact the school. Additional information is available on BC Ministry of Education website at www.bced.gov.bc.ca and following the FSA links; or by googling FSA testing or following the enclosed link:
Satisfaction Surveys will be going home in the coming weeks. These are surveys that allow parent, student and staff feedback as to a variety of school factors that relate to the school community and culture.
Thank you, Principal Evans
Our next PAC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th at 7:00 pm in the library. Please visit our PAC blog (click here).
We have one more big THANK YOU to extend for our very successful Holiday Hamper drive, and that’s to Buy-Low Foods at 370E Broadway. They provided $100.00 towards grocery gift certificates.
MAGEE MARKET FAIR
Friday February 12th
5:30 – 9:30 pm
6360 Maple St.
The Magee Community invites you to join us at
the annual Market Fair!
Come and enjoy a variety of culinary delights(ethnic foods, wonderful desserts, bubble tea to name just a few!), browse the used book stall, bid on an item at the silent auction, “shop” the merchants and crafters in the gym, visit Magee Club booths, play some games (for kids of all ages), take pictures with friends at our photobooth and enjoy the fabulous entertainment provided by Magee music
students and others. Admission by donation (minimum $2) Seniors, children 3 & under free! Free ticket to win the Market Fair grand prize for donations over $5 Please come and share this evening with
friends and family!
See you at the fair!
January 15 – 11:00 am to noon – Information session for Motessori Program – Kindergarten focus
January 20 – PAC Meeting (Digital Literacy)
January 25 to 29 – Turn off the screen week
January 27 – Family Literacy Day and Camp Read
February 8 – Lunar New Year and Family Day Holiday – no school
February 9 – Professional Development Day – no school for students