Strive for 5 program working in Catholic School Division

Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division is reporting an increase in oral language growth among Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten students thanks to a new development program.

The division began using the Strive for 5 program in the 2017-18 school year. Since then, education director Lorel Trumier said, they’ve been encouraged by how students who took part in the program have developed.

“We are excited about the work that gets done there (and) the results speak for themselves,” Trumier said. “We are able to really change the trajectory of students in language acquisition when we strive for five quality engagements.”

Superintendent Charity Dmytruk introduced a report on Strive for 5 at the board’s regular meeting on Monday. According to the data, pre-K students saw an increase of 33 per cent in their oral language development between September 2021 and May 2022. For kindergarten students, the increase was 27 per cent during that same period.

As of May 2022, 77 per cent of kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students who used the Strive for 5 program where showing satisfactory oral language development. St. Francis school had the highest levels with 100 per cent of students hitting the mark. St. Anne was second highest at 85 per cent, followed by St. Catherine at 76 per cent, St. Michael at 74 per cent, and St. John at 50 per cent.

“We strive to have good communication back and forth with students because that is how they acquire language quickest: through engagement, active listening, active talking and being sure that they are responding in a comprehensive way,” Trumier explained.

In Strive for 5, students are taught to use more than a yes or no response and taught to communicate through interaction with another person. Teacher’s focus on five quality engagement conversational elements. The goal is to build language by exposing students to more words, especially with new concepts.

With last year’s crop of kindergarten students moving on, and a new crop of pre-kindergarten students coming in, oral language development has fallen to 52 per cent as of October 2022. That stat is known as the baseline stat, and Trumier said it helps them identify who programs work best for students by comparing their end-of-year results to the baseline.

The October report shows baseline oral language development sitting at 51 per cent in Ecole St. Anne, 65 per cent in St. Michael, 88 per cent in St. Francis, 36 in St. Catherine, and 22 per cent in St. John.

The Strive for 5 report was one of many reports Dmytruk brought forward at the meeting and Trumier credited her for her hard work.

“Charity is a phenomenal superintendent, I am happy to work with her and just a salt-of-the-earth person for sure,” Trumier said.