ᒉᐃᒥᔅ ᐯᐃ ᐄᔨᔨᐤ ᒋᔅᑯᑎᒫᒑᐅᑭᒥᒄ
The 2015-2016 school year at James Bay Eeyou School (JBES) was all about promoting better communication in all areas of our everyday lives in the school. The communication piece that we created for all teachers and administration allowed everyone to view a monthly activity calendar, share minutes and consult on upcoming events. This provided transparency and allowed everyone to be aware of what was going on. We also changed the format of how we communicated with parents on parent’s night to better follow our school vision of “If you believe with your heart, you will succeed.”
Local School Improvement Plan
JBES worked hard this past year at building a stronger community by establishing a “U” drive where all information about cycle and department meetings were recorded, along with any other activities happening at the school. This system allowed for transparency all around. In working with the LSIP, the School Improvement Team was able to maintain a clear vision for helping students succeed.
At the secondary level, we used a team approach to improve student performance in language and mathematics. Teachers, guidance, administration and Elephant Thoughts staff worked together to develop a plan for student success. Additional tutoring was also provided by classroom teachers who worked in partnership with Elephant Thoughts. These efforts were successful in improving MEES exam scores at the secondary level.
Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
The GVC continues to be part of the Cycle 1 program both in French and English. Many teachers continued to work with the binders, but saw that students still needed to improve basic language skills. We implemented the “Five Go-To Strategies” to help low-level readers.
Professional Learning Communities
In order to address student success, teachers at JBES focused on increasing literacy levels. A School Action Plan was implemented to help increase student performance in language and math. Success was seen in the CAT results this year. The action plan introduced five principles to help improve language development. Each principle was implemented and evaluated every seven weeks. Teachers collaborated in PLC groups by discussing what worked and what didn’t when using the Five Go-To Strategies.
The 2015-2016 school year’s attendance rates continued to be challenging, but we had a slight improvement from 2014-2015. This past year, we had 63 students with a 90% or higher attendance. Through constant communication with parents about lateness and the importance of attendance, we were able to track down students who were not attending, and held “Local Support Team” meetings when necessary. Students who were at-risk were referred to the Readaptation Officer or the SAT for intervention.
Safe School Policy
A Safe School Action plan continued to be part of our LSIP, and was still a very important part of our school environment. We have a crisis team in place, and it stepped up to handle things carefully during some really tough moments this year. The team demonstrated an ability to act quickly in communicating with everyone about what was happening, and what the next steps were. Different anti-bullying initiatives were held during the year. Youth Fusion facilitated a “Louder than Love” week to highlight our stance against bullying. We hosted a “Challenge Day” with about 75 participants. Twenty-four of those students were identified as needing continuous support afterward. We had seven anti-bullying activities set up for all students in May that took place in the Gym and Agora. The activities were facilitated by our Youth Fusion representative, Secondary V students, teachers, and support staff.
Student engagement is an important component to student retention. Many activities took place at JBES where Elephant Thoughts provided support, before January and after Goose Break, to students writing Ministry exams. Youth Fusion focused on engaging students through projects such as media and music, cooking, and other extra-curricular activities. We had two high school students who came home with third place from the provincial Science Fair. The Cree language and culture teachers organized a fishing trip for students, and many teachers participated in this activity as well. The Cree teachers put together a winter gathering in January to bring the community into the school. There was traditional food prepared by teachers and students, and elders came to speak to our youth about life then and now, the importance of education, and drumming and dancing. A winter mitchuap was erected in the back of our school and was used by Cree teachers and students during their class times, and for shared tea and bannock.
To increase parental involvement, we used social media and our local radio station to make public announcements about school activities. We changed the format of our parent’s nights from teachers meeting parents in the classroom, to all teachers meeting parents in the gym. Door prizes were given to encourage parents’ participation.