2015 - 2016 Assurance Report
PRINCIPAL: Darla Senkow
SCHOOL COUNCIL CHAIR: Shelley Grimoldby
VISION: Parkland School Division is a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where ALL learners aspire to reach their dreams.
As a member of the Parkland School Division family of schools, Greystone Centennial Middle School utilizes a robust Assurance Model to better understand stakeholder feedback. Working with an Assurance Model means that Greystone Centennial Middle School, Parkland School Division and the Board of Trustees actively seeks to reveal all avenues for stakeholders to tell us how we are attending to our goals and priorities. One important part of our Assurance Model is deriving stakeholder feedback through insightful comments made by parents, staff, community members and students.
Greytone Centennial Middle School continuously gathers feedback from a variety of sources, including students, parents, staff, the school division and the greater community. In addition to surveys, conferences and day-to-day conversations, our school also uses an on-line assurance process called ThoughtExchange that enables participants to read and rank responses based on three questions:
- What are some concerns you have about our school this year?
- What are some things you appreciate about our school this year?
- What are some other things you would like to say about our school this year?
Greystone Centennial Middle School’s Assurance Report captures the strengths, opportunities, aspirations and expected results that we gathered throughout last year. In keeping with an Assurance Model, this report provides the narrative for our achievements and challenges presented on our school website.
Strengths are highlighted as areas that are working well in Greystone Centennial Middle School. In our commitment to quality learning, we recognize that there will always be room for growth. We are proud of the strengths and accomplishments you have recognized in the work we do.
Opportunities are areas for growth or attention. As a school, we recognize these as areas in which we need to focus more attention and we see that these are also important to you.
Aspirations are presented as priorities for a preferred future. Our stakeholders have shared a vision for where we need to go and what our world will look like when we’ve mastered our strengths and eliminated growth areas.
Results capture expectations for measuring success. In other words, how will we know that we know we are successful?
In 2015-2016 Parkland School Division’s Board of Trustees approved an ambitious Education Plan that was generated through the Assurance Model. The Plan established enduring strategic processes (enduring priorities) that will always be considered in the generation of strategies (forward-thinking actionable plans). These strategies enable us to achieve our outcomes (goals).
Parkland School Division’s Ultimate Goal is Student Success and Well Being. Students will be encouraged to explore, create, imagine, and engage in lifelong learning as they develop competencies that prepare them to enter the world of post-secondary studies or work. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student well-being and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency and is therefore committed to the development of the whole child at all levels of their education. The goals, outcomes, priorities and strategies identified in the Education Plan are focused on the achievement of the Ultimate Goal: Student Success and Well-Being.
Two enduring priorities continue to guide the work of the Division. These priorities are considered to be enduring as they are necessary priorities to consider in establishing any goal:
The Enduring Priority of Engagement: Engaging all stakeholders: students, staff, and the local and global communities. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will be shared and supported by all stakeholder groups.
The Enduring Priority of Resource Stewardship: Ensuring equitable and sustainable use of our resources and ensuring financial responsibility. Goals and strategies must include a consideration of how they will utilize limited resources with maximum results.
In addition to the enduring priorities listed above, the 2015-2018 Three Year Education Plan includes the goals necessary to achieve student success and well-being:
Inclusive Education: Parkland School Division is an inclusive education system. An inclusive education system is one that demonstrates behaviours and decisions that reflect valuing all students. The Division is committed to achieving this goal and to fulfilling the provincial mandate for inclusion.
In Parkland School Division everyone is accepted and experiences a sense of belonging. Every student, no matter their ability, disability, language, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, has meaningful contributions to make.
Using the programs of study as the framework for learning, every student is engaged in meaningful and authentic ways. All students are treated equitably; they get the support needed when they need it, and for the intensity and duration of time for which they need it.
Quality Learning: Student success and well-being depends on quality instruction in an atmosphere that respects each learner’s independent spirit. Quality teaching practices promote the development of innovation and creativity while attending to meaningful assessment and reporting practices that reflect alignment with Inspiring Education.
Quality Learning builds on the Division’s Inclusive Education goal in that all students are connected to the Programs of Study and all students have the supports and educational quality necessary to achieve success.
Culture of Wellness: Parkland School Division is committed to Student Success and Well-Being. The Division recognizes that, as a system, well-being must be present for all stakeholders, and therefore is committed to fostering physical literacy, lifelong health and wellbeing at all levels. The Division believes that student success is closely linked to student wellbeing and the development of social-emotional assets that build resiliency.
The development of citizenship and social responsibility contribute to wellness and are integral to the delivery of a broad and comprehensive program of studies. We are dedicated to the development of the whole child.
Universal Leadership: Student success and well-being requires collaborative, universal leadership that employs calculated risk-taking and a determination to consider and implement new and innovative ideas. The Division’s Board of Trustees continues to embrace the direction set by Alberta Education to adopt a Generative Governance Model that demands public confidence in all facets of the system. The Division’s clear strategic direction will be maintained, administered and reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure true stewardship of resources.
As a learning organization, the Division recognizes continued improvement through a commitment to leadership at all levels.
Throughout the year Greystone Centennial Middle School has engaged parents in order to receive feedback in a number of ways including:
- “Tell Them From Me” Survey. The ThoughtExchange process enabled participants to share their thoughts with the school community. These individual thoughts were then considered, responded to and evaluated to determine a level of confidence (assurance) in how well Greystone Centennial Middle School is doing in the achievement of its goals and priorities. These shared thoughts are formative assessments (as opposed to numerical measurements) that can be used to evaluate progress and plan for growth.
- 60 people participated in the Share step and shared 223 thoughts
- 83 people participated in the Star step and assigned 6540 stars
- A total of 107 people participated in Share or Star or both
- Alberta Education Accountability Pillar Survey is given to all staff, parents of students in Grades 5 and 7, and students in Grades 5 and 7 as part of the “Tell Them From Me” survey. The Accountability Pillar survey data can be compared to division data as well as provincial measures.
- 29 staff participated
- Completed by 26 parents
- 129 students participated
- Our parent community is surveyed on-site during Goal Setting Student Led Conferences (January) to ensure their voices are heard on all matters at Greystone. The numbers of participants greatly exceed the divisional surveys our parents participate in each year and provide valuable input to the administration and teachers in our building. A variety of questions are asked regarding parent satisfaction in terms of academics, wellness, and communication.
- 230 people responded to the survey
“I appreciate “the attention to the fact that some kids just learn differently and trying to adapt teaching methods to better fit all kids.” Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
● Greystone Centennial Middle School continues to articulate a clear understanding of inclusion and communicate this to all stakeholders.
● Classrooms are inclusive spaces, where all learners are respected, have access to the curriculum and appropriate supports. Teachers mindfully utilize differentiation in terms of engagement, representation and expression.
● Greystone Centennial Middle School implements a Service Delivery Model developed by the Division, taking advantage of all available resources to support students.
● Aligned to the Service Delivery Model, Greystone Centennial Middle School supports the Classroom Profile Tool use by Inclusive Education Leads and school administration and provide guidelines for the effective use of the Classroom Profile Tool.
● Greystone Centennial Middle School will contribute to a divisional understanding of school-specific strategies that promote inclusive education
● According to the GCMS survey 90.0% of parents reported that Greystone is doing a great job or adequately addressing their child’s physical, social and emotional needs; this would include students with all types of needs, gifts and challenges.
● In the GCMS survey 85.1% of parents reported that their child is excited or comfortable coming to school everyday.
● Improvement in transition between K-4 schools as well as for students heading to Gr. 10
● Continue to improve staff understanding of creating appropriate Individual Program Plans that are living documents, with a focus on dynamic strategies to support student learning.
● Increase use of specialist support from outside of the school (Speech & Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Behavioural Specialist, Educational Psychologist, Mental Health supports, etc.)
● Diversification of classroom supports for students with challenges; there are financial considerations around the provision of some supports and strategies.
● Regular access and training for appropriate assistive technology for students and staff.
● Continued focus on inclusive classroom and instructional practices that support all students.
“Greystone has great teachers that consistently show they care about my kids” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
Greystone aspires to be a nurturing environment that strives to provide positive, strength-based programming that respects the diversity and uniqueness of all students. We aspire to teach all students the strategies they need to be independent, successful, happy, well-rounded citizens. This encompasses all parts of the individual, mind, body and spirit.
“Greystone has great teachers that consistently show they care about my kids” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
Success will be recognized as:
- A continuum of supports, services and environments is in place as reported through stakeholder engagement
- Collaborative practices are the way in which learning occurs in Greystone Centennial Middle School as reported through survey and engagement processes
- Administration and staff demonstrate a sense of confidence as reported through engagement measures.
- Parent satisfaction and confidence are reported through engagement measures.
“As far as we are concerned our child is getting the best teaching of education & wellness available. When your child comes home proudly talking about his teachers & what he's learning in school, I don't think we have anything to worry about. Overall we have seen our son grow so fast physically, mentally & responsibly since he came to Greystone Centennial Middle School, especially this year. We are proud of the job Greystone teachers have done with him.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Highly collaborative teaching teams who remain with the same group of students for 2 years to establish strong supportive relationships that promote individualized, personalized learning for students. Teachers really get to know the unique learning needs of their students.
- Staff plan for the future based on the design thinking model.
- Utilizing of promising assessment practices whereby feedback guides instruction; students learn to use feedback to improve. Parents are regularly communicated with regarding student progress.
- Students are expected to think deeply about their learning and make connections to the real world outside of school.
- Students are meaningfully involved in their own assessment and assist in developing clear criteria for achieving excellence.
- Flexible teaching spaces enable staff to group students in ways that are most responsive to learning needs.
- Focus on preparing students for the 21st century by developing skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and perseverance.
- Students are encouraged to bring and use their personal technology devices into school to support and enhance learning in the digital age – teachers continuously work with students to develop skills in digital citizenship.
- 84.4% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with how engaged their child is with the learning taking place.
- 83.3% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with the level to which the learning at Greystone connects their child with skills necessary to one day enter the workplace.
“I really feel like my kids have had the chance to learn under some of the best teachers I have ever met. I think they have the right personality and skill to work with a very difficult age. Any concerns or questions have been addressed immediately and I've always felt welcome and comfortable.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Greystone Centennial Middle School strives to create a balance of quality education and citizenship development.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will promote exemplars that capture the process of utilizing the Alberta Programs of Study through competencies as opposed to content.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School continues to promote collaborative teams with colleagues working together to implement best practices.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will explore, share and promote improvements to engage in literacy and numeracy teaching practices across curricula and for all students, Gr. 5 - 9.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will support FNMI students using culturally relevant and responsive education practices and strategies where there is meaningful connection to the curriculum
- 64.1% of teachers and parents are satisfied with parental involvement in decisions about their child’s education. This is a decline from 76.1% from the year before and the previous 3-year average of 79.6%. Only 41.4 % of parents are satisfied with parental involvement, which is a decline from 61.0% from the year below. GCMS will continue to provide meaning opportunities for parents to be involved with their child’s learning.
- We will continue to strive to improve results on Alberta Provincial Achievement Tests at the acceptable standard and the standard of excellence for all of our students in all subject areas. Grade 9 PAT results in particular are of some concern at both achievement levels.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will ensure that teacher professional growth plans are aligned with the Quality Learning Framework.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will continue to build towards exemplary standards for learning by utilizing the collaborative planning time to analyze student work, to provide ongoing professional feedback, to continue the iterative nature of professional feedback loops, to create the conditions necessary to ensure a continued growth towards quality learning for all students
“I appreciate the teaching style and free-thinking style of the school.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
At Greystone Centennial Middle School we aspire to have a high level of parent and community engagement. We aspire to research, reveal and share technology processes to remove barriers to learning. We utilize best practices and the PSD Quality Framework to guide professional learning to continue to improve instruction, assessment and student learning.
“My daughters love their teachers because they have built strong relationships with them. The teachers always encourage them to learn new things and take risks.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- GCMS staff are engaged in Professional Development and demonstrating promising instructional practices based on the PSD Quality Learning Framework
- Parent satisfaction, engagement and confidence are reported through engagement measures.
- Assurance measures report that staff are able to demonstrate an understanding of innovative educational practices and their role in Parkland School Division
- Assurance measures report that learning is personalized, authentic and supports student choice
- School staff members are perceived, through assurance measures, as exemplifying confidence in technological literacy
- Students are able to articulate what they are learning and where they are at in their learning process
Culture of Wellness
“We are very impressed with the staff of Greystone Middle School. My child is very happy coming to school and if there are any issues they usually get resolved eith with the students or with the students and teacher in a timely manner. We have zero complaints with the school and would definitely recommend this school to everyone ” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- 90.0% of parents reported that Greystone is doing a great job or adequately addressing their child’s physical, social and emotional needs.
- 86.1% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with how connected their child is to the school/classroom.
- 85.1% of parents reported that their child is excited or comfortable coming to school everyday.
- Student wellness opportunities are available for all students and encompass a wide-range of interests. We offer a full-range of sports opportunities, as well as fine arts, technology and other special interests.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School has staff trained to facilitate the Rainbows Program, which focuses on helping students deal with loss due to separation, divorce or death. Staff are also able to provide programs and support around social thinking and self-regulation.
"We appreciate “The holistic approach to education including the use of mindfulness and discussion about mental health.” - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Greystone Centennial Middle School, supported by PSD70, will seek to reveal improve access to emotional and mental health supports for all students and staff.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School School will continue to support the establishment of a Wellness Team, Health Champions and strong community partnerships that promote the initiatives of student and staff wellness.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will improve community education of the context of bullying, aggression and mean behavior to reveal research-based strategies to reduce these behaviors.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will continue to promote physical literacy and engage students in becoming involved in an active, healthy lifestyle.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will incorporate classroom practices to improve our students’ mental health including brain dumps, community building, reflection journals, regular check-ins, mindfulness practice, social thinking and Zones of Regulation.
"I feel like my kids have benefited from spending longer time with the same teacher. Especially in the middle years where some big changes are taking place. It has also allowed the teachers to really get to know my children which in turn has helped them to be the best they can be." - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
At Greystone Centennial Middle School we believe that the middle years is a time to exert extra effort to make school appealing by engaging students in learning and by offering them a variety of activities to keep them connected to the school community. Greystone School students and staff will be healthy, resilient and connected to one another and the community. All members will feel valued and be recognized for their gifts and talents.
“Greystone has always made a point to celebrate in their students success as well as support events that fill their spirit (Vancouver Sun Run, skiing, We Day etc.)” - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Parent, staff and student satisfaction, engagement and confidence are reported through engagement measures.
- Programs that recognize and support wellness are nurtured, as reported through staff, parent and student engagement processes.
- A reduced concern with student and staff wellness is achieved, as reported through engagement processes.
- Partnerships supporting youth are expanded, as reported through engagement processes.
“My child has a number of excellent opportunities both within class and as extra curricular activities that really compliment her learning. We are pleased with the options available to her and appreciate these contributions.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Staff Leadership: Instructional Technology Lead teachers, Learning Leaders, Research Team Leaders, Design Team, Wellness Coordinator/Health Champion, Intervention Team consisting of Inclusive Education Lead, Classroom Teachers, Administrative Team and Division Office Learning Services
- Literacy and Numeracy Leads focussing on creating consistency and best practices across grade levels.
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will host this year’s Mental Health Summit for the Spruce Grove Schools, with key work done by our LC9 Lead Teacher and students
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will dedicate collaborative time to conduct purposeful observation and lesson study to continue to improve practice and professional learning
- Effective learning and teaching are achieved through collaborative leadership.
- Create a learning environment where staff and students focus on learning through the competencies (Critical Thinking, Communication, Problem Solving, Collaboration, Managing Information, Cultural And Global Citizenship, Creativity And Innovation, Personal Growth And Well-Being)
- The staff at Greystone will continue to have opportunities for shared leadership through various leadership roles including acting principal, Design Team, Literacy and Numeracy Team, Learning Community Teams, School Administrative Team and various other required leadership roles.
- Staff and students will utilize professional learning and collaborative strategies to enhance leadership
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will nurture opportunities for students and staff to engage in reflection
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will explore the practice of mentorship at all levels; staff will promote student collaboration with adults and across grades
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will continue to focus on leadership development for all staff and students
- Greystone Centennial Middle School will dedicate collaborative time to conduct purposeful observation and lesson study to continue to improve practice and professional learning
“Extracurricular programming is well varied and offers many opportunities. The dedicated coaches for the sports teams are a great asset to the school.The coaches are knowledgeable and encouraging and supportive of the kids participating. They promote sportsmanship and teamwork while assisting the children with skill development. The after school clubs are also well organized.” - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
Greystone School students and staff aspire to be confident and comfortable to take the lead in areas that highlight their strengths and continue to push their own learning forward. The process of lifelong learning continues to drive one to be better.
“I was really impressed with what my son had to share during his Student Led Conference. I see so much improvement on his writing skills, learning to stay focussed on tasks and he really wowed me on what he has learned in Math. Such great improvements this term.” - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Sharing of leadership opportunities through PSD and within the profession.
- Greystone School is a community where all members are supported to assume leadership roles based on their ability, interest and professional development.
“I really appreciate all of the communication I have been receiving regarding homework or exams as well as events happening at the school. We have been a lot more organized because of all the communication we have received. Thanks for doing such a great job!!” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Parents were very satisfied with the opportunities to engage with the school and with their child’s learning at Greystone. According to the GCMS parent survey:
- 92.6% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with the their ability to check in on their child’s learning
- 87.9% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with their understanding of the learning going on in their child’s classroom.
- 94.3% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with with their level of access they have to events going on in their child’s classroom
- 95.7% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with their ability to voice comments and questions about their child’s learning
- Parents commented that Email and Remind are the two top communication tools
- A contingent including our school council chair attended the Parkland School Division Parent Engagement evening in order to identify key areas of focus for our division education planning.
- Our school council chair and school administration attended the Parkland School Division education planning session to provide input on the priority areas for the division educational plan.
- Welcome back barbecue hosted by our school council helped start the school year off with a chance for parents to connect with their child’s teachers and the school administration.
- Goal Setting Conferences (October) and Student Led Conferences (January) provide us with an excellent opportunity to connect with our parent community and collect valuable input from them on all aspects of our school.
- A open house for all families transitioning into our building from our Grade Four feeder schools, as well as from Woodhaven, helped GCMS start things off on the right track with our incoming families. This was very important because of the change in school catchment areas.
“Although I saw improvement in communication this year over last, I still find things like sport schedules and field trips to be lacking in details and general communication.” – Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- To streamline the various ways of communication with our entire community: teacher to parent and parent to teacher communication, school to parent and parent to school communication, school to community and community to school communication.
- Continue to explore different means to foster the face to face communication between parents and teachers with the student at the center of the communication.
Greystone School strives to have open and honest communication that is grounded in the philosophy of a growth mindset. We believe that we are continually learning from each other and value the opinions of all members.
“I feel that the communication coming from the school has greatly improved from when my first child was there. I feel very informed about what is happening in and around the school. I feel comfortable talking to the principal and teachers about any issue I may have.” - Greystone Parent via ThoughtExchange
- Parent and staff satisfaction, engagement and confidence are reported through engagement measures.
- Number of parents/community members engaged through the GCMS social media platforms and this website.
Schools must increasingly meet the demands of society while remaining mindfully vigilant with limited resources. Student success and well-being depend on fiscal responsibility to ensure that success and well-being can remain the focus of our educational programming into the foreseeable future. Greystone Centennial Middle School thoughtfully and carefully uses its allocated resources to support instruction, student learning and maintain a positive environment for all.
- Class sizes for the 2016-2017 are reasonable at all areas, although there are some grade-levels where the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) is higher.
- Educational Assistant and other supports are provided thoughtfully to support student learning, within budgetary constraints.
- Staff is able to access a variety of PD throughout the year to improve their own skills and learning in areas that are important to them; this is largely supported by the school budget, as well as divisional opportunities.
- Technology, furniture, and other purchases are made as necessary, with an eye to what is needed currently as well as to future demands and trends. This often requires careful budgeting and projecting of resource needs. GCMS is always looking for the most economical ways to meet the needs of students, staff and the community.
- Generally, the school facility at Greystone Centennial Middle School is well-maintained and taken care of. We also have the support of the Friends of Greystone Society and the community; this year a playground was installed that was made possible due to fundraising and volunteer efforts.
Continued carefully planning is necessary in order for Greystone School to utilize the finite resources available for the best GCMS needs to utilize creative sources of funding from the community and businesses for a variety of extra programming and other resources.
- Jump Start (from Canadian Tire) funding can support programming in the area of physical literacy for many students.
- There are a variety of grants available from the province as well as from other companies to support the Fine Arts, Technology and other areas that could be accessed.
There are some aspects to the Greystone Centennial Middle School facility that need to be considered in the near future in terms of modernizing and upgrading. These include: improvements to the security camera system both inside and outside of the school; the gradual replacement of technology (projectors, sound-field systems, computers); improvements to the school PA system; upgrading one of the school photocopy machines; and, replacement and upgrading to heavily used common area furniture. Replacing each of these items will require careful, long-term planning and budgeting.
At Greystone Centennial Middle School we aspire to use resources to better the learning environment for all students. WIth the guidance of the question what is best for students, we endeavour to create a community that is responsive to the needs of the school.
- Staff will be knowledgeable regarding the resources, and the allocation of resources at GCMS
- Clear communication of budget with staff and school council at Faculty and School Council meeting.
- Staff engaged in budget planning around the areas of Technology, Physical Education, and Inclusive Education. Transparency in terms of decision-making around allocation of resources.
The Broader Context
Both the ThoughtExchange, as well as the Accountability Pillar data indicated some dissatisfaction with the overall quality of education as well as the level of improvement over the past 3 years for the school and division. Some of the challenges in perception, as well as dissatisfaction likely can be attributed to a new school opening, requiring a catchment area adjustment in the Spruce Grove area and the changing of schools for many families.
The larger sample size in the school survey gives a different perspective on how Greystone families view education, wellness, communication and engagement at GCMS. For example, 83.3% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with the level to which the learning at Greystone connects their child with skills necessary to one day enter the workplace according to the school survey. In the accountability pillar results 48.0% of respondents felt that students were being prepared for the world of work. Another question on the Accountability Pillar survey indicates that only 41.4% of parents are satisfied with parental involvement about their child’s education. All of the measures on the school-based survey indicate a much greater level of satisfaction; 94.3% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with their level of access they have to events going on in their child’s classroom, and 95.7% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with their ability to voice comments and questions about their child’s learning.
Greystone Centennial Middle School is committed to continuing to look for ways to engage stakeholders in the conversation about education and to collect information about how parents, students and staff feel about various aspects of education.