Message from the Director of School Operations

Kimberly QuinnKimberly Quinn, Director of School Operations

The 2015-2016 school year was marked by much collaboration across the Youth Sector services and within the schools, with the implementation of key initiatives, such as Response to Intervention (RTI) and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in six of our schools. The Offices of School Operations, School Improvement, and Instructional Services all took part in one or more of these three-part training sessions at the school level, which were lead by Special Education Services and a Solution Tree trainer, François Masse. The main outcome was that more of our school leadership and teacher teams worked together to strengthen their school culture, and the use of the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) to focus on increasing literacy rates among students.

Another partnership established in schools this year was the School’s Targets and Achievements Results Team (START) model from the Canadian Education Association (CEA), which spent 20 days each at the Waapinichikush Elementary School, Chisasibi and Waswanipi schools. The START team consisted of four professional educators with backgrounds in literacy, First Nations education, technology integration, student engagement and school leadership. They worked with school teams onsite, collected and analyzed student achievement data, surveyed staff, and visited classrooms, so they could identify priorities and targeted Local School Improvement Plan (LSIP) goals for each school.

The PLC, RTI, and START initiatives have all built on previous foundational school improvement work that was mainly focused on school leadership teams trained in the “Success in Sight” process with McREL. Though we didn’t have onsite coaching from McREL this year, we have maintained effective structures, processes and established teams, which work collaboratively on their LSIP goals to increase student achievement. The Coordinators of School Improvement and School Operations worked closely with schools, spending much of their time onsite, supporting them as they continued to implement best school improvement practices.

As in previous summers, we offered four-week Summer Literacy Camps in partnership with Frontier College in all nine Cree communities, in an effort to reduce the impact of summer reading loss. During the summer of 2016, over 600 students took part in these camps across Eeyou Istchee, and read well over the minimum number of books needed to maintain their June literacy levels throughout the summer.

Summer school also continued to be a success, and was offered in four communities for all students in Secondary IV and V who met the criteria for this additional support before July/August ministry exam retakes. With this initiative, we had 23 students graduate from these retakes, along with 18 from January retakes, contributing to the 88 Secondary V graduates we have so far for 2015-2016.

It has been a particularly challenging year within our department and across all school teams with the sudden passing of Hardy Audate, Coordinator of School Operations, in mid-June. Hardy was an instrumental partner in the Youth Sector to all coordinators and the school leadership during the four and a half years he worked at the regional level, touching the lives of all students, teachers and others through the various roles he held as Vice-Principal, consultant and teacher. He is greatly missed by everyone, but his spirit, generous nature, and human touch are remembered in our work as we continue to strive for improvements and changes that will make a difference in the lives of our students.

Our schools continue to move toward increased student success through their respective efforts and actions aligned within their LSIPs. Following this report, there will be a global report for the Cree School Board Youth Sector, including all results for ministry exams and standardized assessments. Each of the eleven schools then presents its own results in a school report, sharing their successes and respective challenges on this school improvement journey.

Thank you to our Principals, Vice-Principals, coordinators, teachers, and other partners who have made a difference in our schools with their collective efforts. Congratulations to our Secondary V graduates! Wishing you much success as you continue on your own paths!