École Vickers presentation highlights improving math scores

Daily Herald File Photo Darlene Rowden (centre) was acclaimed as Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board chair during the division's organization meeting on Monday.

Saskatchewan Rivers School Board trustees got a good look at what one school is doing to increase student achievement during Monday’s board meeting.

The subject was one of several brought up by a delegation from École Vickers Public School, led by Principal Jennie Green and Vice Principal Chelsea Bergen. The group made a presentation to the board on the journey their school has been on over the past 4 year to develop effective practice in teaching mathematics.

“It’s always helpful for us to see the great work that our leaders are doing at the school level,” Education Director Neil Finch said. “Student learning is improving as a result of the work is being done and in this case at Vickers School and they have done some great things that helped their math data.”

Ecole Vickers switched to a math goal school in 2020. Green said that the switch during the COVID-19 year because students and staff were working from home and had to adapt.

Teachers have taken on the resource MathUP and the teaching methods and practices from Building Thinking Classrooms to elevate their work. That’s helped increase student math achievement at Ecole Vickers from the 70th percentile into the 80th percentile.

Bergen said they’ve maintained this achievement for the last three years.

“I think it really speaks volumes for the training that we’ve been doing, all of the high impact strategies that we’ve put in place in our building and again being purposefully intentional,” she said.

Building Thinking Classrooms was fully incorporated at the school in the third year. The coaches did full presentations of a model lesson and encouraged teachers to visit other classrooms.

Green said that Vickers has a few new teachers every year, so teacher mentors made a concerted effort to get them involved in Building Thinking Classrooms.

“We have a veteran, so to speak, working with someone new,” Green explained. “There’s release time for that person—covered with our teacher PD funds—so they can go meet with the coach, (and) meet with our division coaches as well.”

The division is also encouraging the use of Early Play Based Learning (EPBL) and UFli (a University of Florida teaching tool) that the school embraced this year.

“It wasn’t a huge stressor for us because we had already been doing so many of these things as a school,” Green said.

“Outdoor learning is huge for us. We’ve done a lot of fundraising for outdoor learning areas. We are now a designated Forest School with training, so we really wanted to focus on land based education and integrating our indigenous content and that play and exploration.” Green said.

They also practice parent engagement on school goals through monthly newsletters.

Superintendent Jennifer Hingley thanked the team for bringing to life the work described in her accountability reports which were also presented to the Board in their regular meeting.