Over the past year, Maple Grove has been engaged in conversations around Learning Environments
Last year I had the opportunity to visit two unique learning/ working environments– Norma Rose Point School and Hootsuite in Vancouver. I had a tour of both facilities and they were unique and wonderful in their own ways. My session at Hootsuite was for a technology sharing night, but the spatial layout and organization was wonderful in its collaborative nature and set up. Norma Rose Point, a K-8 school that is designed with the BC curriculum in mind, is all about providing collaborative space for teaching and learning- I was there on several occasions this year for various admin functions.
What was interesting was that both places exemplified “flexible learning spaces”. As Maple Grove is heading into the seismic upgrading process over the next few years, it begs the question, “How do students and adults work in these teaching and learning spaces”? “Is there really value in sharing space, or, is it a quick fix to a larger issue of underfunding building projects?” It certainly struck me that while the spatial construct is beautiful, unique and interesting, I’m not sure it would be ideal for all teaching and learning situations- so why do it? I don’t know the answers… I just wondered to myself.
I also wondered about furniture. Hootsuite is all wood. It was stellar, organic and calming. I’m not sure if that would (no pun intended) be practical in a 21st Century school. And, while NRP is gorgeous, any school moving to that spatial design would likely have to discard most of its existing furniture and purchase new furniture to fit the space and shared-purpose: this would be a huge expense! I get all the arguments that through collaborative teaching and learning and the value of choice that innovative learning spaces allows for the growth of ideas- but I’m just cautioning:
- One size does not fit all. Spaces at both facilities were created for specific and individual needs.2. No dead space allowed. In both Norma Rose Point and Hootsuite, there was no dead space meaning every corner or alcove was used for some type of learning or working opportunity. Benches were placed down corridors or backs of couches were used as desks. By having ‘Flexible Learning Spaces’ those sparks of creativity, curiosity and innovation can happen anywhere.
- Noise is a good thing. What struck me at both places was the amount of noise. It was positive, animated, engaged and controlled. Noise can be an indication of learning, conversation, sharing ideas and listening to each other.
- Everyone is an equal. In both facilities it was hard to tell who was admin/management and who was a student/employee. What I appreciate about this philosophy was that it creates an environment of openness and removed boundaries. But I’m not sure its appropriate in all situations.
- Community Engagement. The space created in both facilities, seemingly creates positive learning interactions, collaboration, creativity and a sense of community.
There will be more to come on this when Maple Grove reaches a place of consultation in the seismic process and timeline. You can anticipate that we’ll be having conversations on what options are available to the school, whether or not we’ll be a retrofit, or a rebuild (no options have been decided upon that I’m aware of). At this time, I have no further details or updates, but you can expect that in the fall we’ll be talking more about this.
School-Wide Initiative: Social Emotional Learning
Staff at Maple Grove have spent several Pro D days this year examining and learning about Social Emotional Learning (SEL). We’ve been investigating topics such as educational programming, character education, restorative justice, peer mediation, bullying prevention, anger management, violence prevention, school climate, school culture, ethical-decision making, harassment prevention, positive behavior supports. This past Pro D Day, we agreed that we would approach next year with INSERT HERE
SEL teaches mental skills that lead to understanding and managing emotions, setting positive and realistic goals, building long-lasting relationships, showing empathy for others, and problem-solving constructively and ethically. The following 15 skills listed are involved and promoted in SEL:
- “Recognizing emotions in self and others”
- “Regulating and managing strong emotions (positive and negative)”
- “Recognizing strengths and areas of need”
- “Listening and communicating accurately and clearly”
- “Taking others’ perspectives and sensing their emotions”
- “Respecting others and self and appreciating differences”
- “Identifying problems correctly”
- “Setting positive and realistic goals”
- “Problem solving, decision making, and planning”
- “Approaching others and building positive relationships”
- “Resisting negative peer pressure”
- “Cooperating, negotiating, and managing conflict nonviolently”
- “Working effectively in groups”
- “Help-seeking and help-giving”
- “Showing ethical and social responsibility”
The Maple Grove staff view these as appropriate and positive behaviours and attributes that make our school special.
Enjoy your weekend,
Technology Initiative: We Want to Hear From You!!!!
Our Need: We want to hear from you regarding students bringing their own iPad, mini, touch device to school next year (in September).
Context: One of the substantial hurdles we’re wrestling with is managing the new curriculum next year and the dependency on internet access, access to information, technology in the classroom, and presentation of material and student learning. Last week I wrote of a number of educational initiatives that are underway at Maple Grove. There is a thirst to get more technology at the school and in the hands of Maple Grove students. While we have a computer lab; and it serves its purpose brilliantly, we are in agreement that mobile technology within the school is both necessary and important. We have many circumstances throughout a school day when students need access to technology in the classroom, library, activity room, gym, and learning hub but there is not enough to go around. Staff have agreed that the iPads provide a portable, fool-proof, relatively inexpensive manner to provide such a resource for our students. With the required implementation of BC’s new curriculum and the emphasis on online resources and learning, we are anticipating a growth in the need for iPads at the school. Further, with 5 more Maple Grove classes moving on to FreshGrade reporting next year, we see an additional need to have portable devices handy for students. Half our school will be involved in the pilot project in one way or another.
What we’ve done: At this point, we have investigated the notion of leasing; school purchasing; and BYoi (Bring Your Own idevice). We have had the Western Canada rep for Apple at Maple Grove twice since Easter. We’ve had the Director of LIT for the VSB, and the District Principal for LIT at Maple Grove numerous times this year. And we believe we’ve reached a place where we need to ask for parent input before we embark on any one path.
Where we are: We want to share with you where we believe we are regarding Technology at Maple Grove. For the past 3 years Maple Grove has been using iPads in the school. Maple Grove currently has 30 iPads on loan from the VSB (these are due to be returned sometime next school year). We purchased 30 iPads last year and a rolling charging cart. In addition, we’ve purchased 10 laptops and have a learning commons HUB in the library. We still have our computer lab, which is used for prep coverage and many classes utilize it for writing and composition periods- and therefore is considered by staff to be a necessity at the school.
This year, Maple Grove had four teachers who piloted a new reporting software for the district. In addition to the four teachers, another five teachers have agreed to join in and begin using the software which would comply and work in tandem with the new BC curriculum due to start in September. This would mean that approximately ½ the teachers at Maple Grove would be using new reporting software as a way to communicate student success and progress electronically to the student’s home. Many parents have provided feedback to us that they feel they know their child better and have a clearer understanding of what’s happening at school, because of the software and access to technology.
Maple Grove has been investigating ways to engage students in their learning and to work with the re-designed curriculum expectations that are in place for September. To this end, we see the need for 180 iPads for September. We have been investigating costs with the VSB purchasing department, Accounting, Apple and their authorized leasing agent.
This is what we’ve found:
Option 1: School buys 180 ipads
|180 iPads x $329 =||$59,220|
|180 cases x $15/case =||$2,700|
|Licensing + Apps =||$5,000|
|Charging Tubs =||$4,000|
|Total w Taxes||$80,140|
While the school owns the devices, students would not take them home. Ultimately the school would be on the hook for any damages, lost or stolen equipment. Devices are out of date in 3 years. While we would benefit from the VSB controlling the roll out of Apps and service, but long wait times and delays in service (sometimes weeks). Besides, if we register ipads with the VSB, they can push out apps to devices. And, finally, the actually doesn’t have $80,000 to spend on iPads.
Option 2: Parents lease or lease-to-own
|180 iPads x $17/month =||$3,060/month|
|$3,060/month x 36 months =||$110,160.00|
|180 cases x $15/case =||$2,700|
|Licensing + Apps =||$5,000|
|Charging Tubs =||$4,000|
|Total w Taxes||$128,903.40|
|Recoup Rate 12%||~ $13,000|
The school must buy the lease. The school is on the hook for a minimum of $110,160.00. We simply can’t do that- it’s not fiscally responsible to tie the hands of the school and tie up all our financial resources for 3 years. Even though we would charge families a lease rate, we simply can’t fathom being on the hook for a block lease. We also worry about a lost, default, move, or non-collectable rate of 12%, the school would lose ~ $13,000 just offering the program. We can’t, in good conscience do that- it’s not fiscally responsible for us.
Option 3: Bring Your Own iPad (BYOi)
We like this option the best. It offers the most flexibility to families and relieves the school from trying to be everything to everybody. We see this as a good option because it allows families to set their own rules for the iPad device. While students would still be required to sign an acceptable use agreement with the school, the management of the device would belong to families. The device goes to and from school. It becomes like a binder, textbook or agenda.
You pay for the apps your child uses. Teachers would provide an app list (not too outside the conventional) and families can use their iTunes account to get them. Teachers will outline the Apps necessary for the term/ year. Students download them to their device. It becomes just another school supply/ agenda. It’s a student tool. They’re responsible for charging it, and taking it to and from school. If cased properly, they can be quite durable. Other schools in Vancouver are using this format with great degrees of success. We’ve visited these schools and like what we see. Students use their own iPad, therefore their work is proprietary to the machine… no sharing, no mixed or damaged files, etc.
Our stipulation would be:
1. This is not mandatory. The school will supply a small supply of devices for families who cannot afford to supply one, or for those families who choose not to.
- We require all devices to be i-devices. (iphone 4s, 5, 5s, iTouch, iPad, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 4, iPad Air, iPad 5, all the way up to an iPad Pro if you want.)
- The school, with support from our PAC, will purchase a small cache of iPad mini’s for each classroom so that there are iPads available for students who do not have one.
What we need from you: We want to garner some sense how this idea sits with you. How do you feel about it? We know we have to offer and use technology with the new curriculum… how can we get technology in the hands of students?
What to do next? Please click the link and complete our short survey. It takes 3 minutes. We’ll use the feedback to help guide our decision making and future decisions. We’ll share the feedback with you. The survey is anonymous.
CLICK ON THE LINK
Child Run- last weekend
It was a beautiful warm spring day last weekend when a number of families gathered together at Queen Elizabeth Park and participated in the annual Children’s Hospital Fun Run. Thank you to Ms. Belliveau and all the staff who supported students and parents. It’s such a worthwhile cause and a great venue for a run. Parents, we couldn’t have done it without your wonderful support.
Free the Children – Global Citizenship Club
Free the Children has recognized our school for our contributions to making the world a better place through youth action initiatives. The Global Citizenship Club has worked very hard this year to help local and global organizations through service, donations of goods and fundraising for various charities. We appreciate all of the support we have received from our Maple Grove community in our fundraising efforts.
The members of the Global Citizenship Club truly understand what it means to give your time, energy and talents to the global community. It is not about what you receive in return, but about what you can do to make the world a better place. We are very proud of our very caring students.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” ~ Helen Keller
Check Out related blogs!
Parents, please make sure you check out our classroom blogs as well as our PAC and Montessori blogs too. There’s lots of information available to you. Use our website as a springboard.
One to One Readers
Maple Grove has been blessed to have 3 dedicated volunteers who read weekly with children. This year, volunteers provided support and encouragement to 16 children who are learning to read. All volunteers are trained in reading development and instruction. One to One Literacy volunteers develop positive relationships with their students over the weeks. Their time and commitment to the program helps to achieve reading success for all Maple Grove students.
Magee gr. 12 Student Leaders
This month Maple Grove and Magee Secondary School embarked on a peer helper/ student leadership program. Gr. 12 students come to Maple Grove and read to some of our gr. 1/ 2 students. All the kids love it! Even the gr. 12’s are tickled pink as they help our younger students read. Nothing is more funny than watching gr. 12’s mentoring our younger students as they fondly remember being in gr. 1 and learning to read. It’s actually a rather special sight to see!
REMINDER: PAC AGM next Wednesday, June 15th at 7pm in the Library!
Parents, now’s your chance to take part in the continued improvement of Maple Grove, providing an excellent place for your children to learn and grow. Volunteers are urgently needed for the following positions:
Chairperson – Organize and chair meetings, oversee budget
Vice Chairperson – assist the Chair
Treasurer – maintain the budget and chequebook
Secretary – Record meeting minutes
June 14- Kilometre Club Celebration
June 15 – PAC AGM 7:00 pm
June 16-17- Talent Show (Ms Hales is organizing)
June 24- Sports Day and year end celebration
June 27- Grad
June 28 – Primary Picnic
June 29- Last day of school – Reports go home
September 6 – First day back for students after summer holidays