SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS PROGRAM

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Program Media

Improvement Grants Awarded to Schools

Six BC elementary schools have been awarded grants to boost their students’ literacy skills. The grants are part of an innovative program to assist public schools serving low-income and at-risk students develop new literacy strategies.

Out of an original 37 applicants, seven schools received $5000 grants in April to create detailed action plans for improving literacy. A selection committee comprised of Dr. Eileen Wood (Waterloo University), Dr. Judy Halbert (Network of Performance Based Schools), Melissa Foster (Valley First Credit Union), and SAEE staff reviewed those proposals and chose 6 schools to begin their projects this fall. The winning schools are:

Khowhemun Elementary, Duncan
West Heights Elementary, Mission
Alexander Elementary, Duncan
Heath Elementary, Delta
Morley Elementary, Burnaby
Ruth King Elementary, Victoria

The schools will receive $15,000 each from SAEE over the next two years to carry out the instructional strategies chosen to help them reach their achievement targets. Each school has secured an outside research partner to assist them with data collection, and SAEE will produce a case studies report to share with other schools facing similar challenges.

The School Improvement Grants Program is sponsored by SAEE, a non-profit education research agency, with support from the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNET), and the Hecht Memorial, Royal Bank, Donner, and Anonymous Foundations. SAEE continues to seek additional partners to expand the program.

This is the third set of schools receiving SIGP grants. Case studies of the first schools were published in School Improvement in Action (Fleming & Raptis, 2005). A second set of 6 schools is completing Year 1 of their two-year projects.

“Research tells us that schools serving at-risk students can perform at high levels if given the necessary support”, said Helen Raham, Executive Director of SAEE. These schools are to be congratulated for choosing a valuable goal and focusing their efforts to improve literacy outcomes. What we can learn from these case studies will help many other schools increase student success.”


School Improvement Grants Awarded

Seven BC schools have been awarded grants for their proposals to boost students’ literacy skills. This is the third set of awards in a program supporting interventions in schools with identified needs. The grants are provided by the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE), a non-profit Canadian education research agency.

The schools will use their $5000 grants to develop and submit a detailed plan of action by April. Those selected will receive an additional $20,000 each over two years to carry out their strategies to meet their achievement targets. An external researcher will assist the schools to document their efforts so that the results may be shared with other schools facing similar challenges.

From 38 applications received, the following schools were selected for their innovative proposals:

Alexander Elementary, Duncan, BC
Health Elementary, Delta, BC
Khowhemun Elementary, Duncan, BC
Morley Elementary, Burnaby, BC
Queen Mary Community School, North Vancouver, BC
Ruth King Elementary, Victoria, BC
West Heights Elementary, Mission, BC

“Research tells us that schools serving at-risk students can perform at high levels if given the necessary support”, said Helen Raham, Executive Director of SAEE. These schools are to be congratulated for choosing a valuable goal and focusing efforts to improve literacy outcomes. This is important field research. What we can learn from their strategies will help many other schools increase student success.”

Case study reports from the first schools in the program, School Improvement in Action (Fleming and Raptis, 2004) can be obtained at www.saee.ca.

SAEE’s School Improvement Grants Program is made possible by the generous support of the Hecht Foundation, SAEE, and an Anonymous Donor (deceased). Additional funding partners are still being sought to assist with this improvement program.


School sees good results from at-risk kids 

Although they set out some fairly lofty goals for themselves, faculty at Eric Langton Elementary were able to meet most of their student literacy objectives as part of an education research program geared towards schools with a high proportion of at-risk students.

The Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (a registered charity focusing on education research in the public school system) released case studies and results of the first seven schools involved in their School Improvement Grants Program.

Eric Langton is a dual-track school that is home to 409 students from K-7, 170 of whom are in French Immersion. The school participated in the project from 2003-2004 and submitted their results to the SAEE in June of 2004. They were given a $25,000 grant from the SAEE to purchase resources, mainly books, for the project.

“It was a two-year program where we looked at different strategies that would increase reading comprehension,” said Sheila Pace, principal at Eric Langton. “One of the things that we did was we set up a home reading program, French and English, that was leveled so each child would get at least one book every day to practice at home to increase the amount of time read.”

Each child was assessed before taking part in the reading program and each book was designated at a certain reading level to help maximize the student learning.

Staff at Eric Langton purchased a lot of books designed to appeal to reluctant readers, namely books of high interest and low vocabulary levels.

There was some staff training in terms of implementing different training strategies to help the students with reading comprehension.

The main measuring sticks used to assess literacy improvements during the program were the district reading assessment and the Ministry of Education’s Foundation Skills Assessment, which measures student learning at the Grade 4 and Grade 7 levels.

At the Grade 3 level, the district reading assessment results from 2003-2004 showed the percentage of students meeting or fully meeting expectations, increased from 68 per cent to 94 per cent when compared with 2002-2003.

At the Grade 4 level, Eric Langton students meeting or fully meeting expectations showed an increase from 84 per cent to 88 per cent, from the 2002-2003 year to the 2003-2004 year.

Eric Langton’s FSA results at the Grade 4 level were disappointing and have prompted the school to target staffing to assist students as they move into Grade 4. The per cent of students meeting or exceeding reading expectations, increased from 65 per cent to 66 per from the 2002-2003 year to the 2003-2004 year. Over the same period, students meeting or exceeding writing expectations dropped from 90 per cent to 78 per cent.

The results were significantly better at the Grade 7 level, where 81 per cent of students met or exceeded reading standards in 2003-2004, compared with the 72 per cent fro 2002-2003. In the writing category that number rose from 78 per cent to 96 per cent over the same period.

“I think that they certainly reached their targets according to district measurements. On the provincial FSA results, their Grade 4 results were less than they had hoped for but there’s a clear evidence of progress on the FSA Grade 7 results so overall it averaged out to a three per cent increase and their target was between three to five percent so they kind of squeaked in their with their goal,” said Helen Raham, executive director of the SAEE.

According to the case study released by the SAEE, Eric Langton ran into several challenges throughout the program. High transience among the student population, lateness and absenteeism affected participation in the school-wide literacy program. As well, some of the students who took part in the home reading program had trouble completing the necessary reading at home because their parents didn’t have enough time to help them and in comes cases the parents had their own literacy issues.

The program also met with strong resistance from several teachers in the early months of its development.

There were several teachers that refused to take part and in the end Pace allowed involvement to remain voluntary.

After the program was completed, teachers at the school were surveyed and 87 per cent of them said they had been successful in applying new approaches and strategies to teaching reading.

“In general, all the schools showed clear increases but that’s not to say they don’t need to continue striving because some of these schools are in really challenging circumstances in terms of high transiency and children that come from non-english speaking backgrounds and need an awful lot of support that they may not get at home to become strong readers,” said Raham. “The staff at Eric Langton should be commended for the hard work that they put in and the progress they’ve shown.”


Parkside Funded for Literacy Project

Parkside Centennial Elementary School has received a $20,000 grant to improve literacy. “The entire school community celebrates the receipt of this award,” Principal Wendy MacKinlay says in a thank you letter to the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education.”


School Improvement Grants Awarded

Six BC schools have been awarded $20,000 grants to boost their students’ literacy and numeracy skills. This is the second set of awards provided through the School Improvement Grants Program, a program supporting site-based innovations in public schools serving low income and at-risk students. The grants are provided by the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE), a non-profit Canadian education research agency.

Of the 38 initial applications received last spring, ten schools were awarded planning grants of $5000 to develop and submit detailed action plans for improving student success. The six most promising proposals will now receive $20,000 each over the next two years to carry out the strategies they have developed to help them reach their achievement targets.

Drs. Thomas Fleming and Helen Raptis of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Victoria, have been contracted by SAEE to work collaboratively with the schools as advisors and project evaluators. They will assist the schools to document their efforts so that the results may be shared with other schools facing similar challenges. These cycle 2 case studies will be published in November 2006.

SAEE’s School Improvement Grants Program is made possible by the generous support of the Royal Bank Foundation, Hecht Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation, and the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet). The recipients are:

Armstrong Elementary School
Harwin Elementary School, Prince George
Jarvis Elementary School, Delta
Parkside Centennial Elementary School, Aldergrove
New Westminster Secondary School
Twelfth Avenue Elementary School, Burnaby

“Research tells us that schools serving at-risk students can perform at high levels if given the necessary support”, said Helen Raham, Executive Director of SAEE. “These schools are to be congratulated for choosing a valuable goal and focusing efforts to improve outcomes for their students. This is important field research. What we can learn from their strategies will help many other schools increase student success.”


School Improvement Grants Awarded 

Ten B.C. schools have been awarded $5,000 grants for their proposals to boost students’ literacy and numeracy skills. This is the second set of awards in a program supporting interventions in schools with identified needs. The grants are provided by the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE), a non-profit Canadian education research agency.

The 10 schools will use their $5000 grants to develop and submit a detailed plan of action. Six schools will be selected to receive an additional $20,000 each over two years to carry out their strategies to meet their achievement targets. External researchers will assist the schools to document their efforts so that the results may be shared with other schools facing similar challenges.

From 38 applications received, the following schools were selected for their innovative proposals:
♦ Armstrong Elementary School, Armstrong
♦ Lord Kelvin Comm. School, New Westminster
♦ Diamond Vale Elementary School, Merritt
♦ New Westminster Secondary School
♦ Harwin Elementary School, Prince George
♦ Parkside Centennial Elem. School, Aldergrove
♦ Jarvis Elementary School, Delta
♦ Queen’s Park School, Penticton
♦ John McClure Community School, Abbotsford
♦ Twelfth Avenue Elementary School, Burnaby

“Research tells us that schools serving at-risk students can perform at high levels if given the necessary support”, said Helen Raham, Executive Director of SAEE. These schools are to be congratulated for choosing a valuable goal and focusing efforts to improve outcomes for their students. This is important field research. What we can learn from their strategies will help many other schools increase student success.”

SAEE’s School Improvement Grants Program is made possible by the generous support of the Royal Bank Foundation, Hecht Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation, and the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet).


Improvement Grants Awarded to Schools

Seven BC elementary schools have been awarded grants to boost their students’ literacy and numeracy skills. The grants are part of a two-year pilot program supporting site-based innovations in public schools serving lower-income families.

The schools received planning grants of $5000 last spring to develop and submit their detailed action plans for improving student success. A selection committee comprised of Dr. Don Lintott (UBC), Dr. Yvonne Martin (Associate Dean of Education, University of Victoria), and Dr. Dawn Benson (Director of Instruction, SD #83) reviewed those proposals. All school projects were recommended for approval this month.

The schools will receive $20,000 each over the next two years to carry out the instructional strategies they have developed to help them reach their achievement targets. SAEE has contracted Dr. Thomas Fleming (University of Victoria) and Dr. Helen Raptis, who has recently graduated from the University of Victoria, to assist the schools document their efforts and results and produce a report to share with other schools facing similar challenges.

The program is sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE), a non-profit Canadian education research agency, with support from the Donner Canadian and Hecht Memorial Foundations.

All of the recipients are elementary schools; one combined proposal represents three francophone schools. The winning schools are:
♦ Eric Langton Elementary, Maple Ridge
♦ École André – Piolat, North Vancouver
♦ Forsyth Road Elementary, Surrey
♦ École Gabrielle – Roy, Surrey
♦ Second Street Community School, Burnaby
♦ École Anne – Hébert, Vancouver
♦ Chase River Elementary, Nanaimo

“Research tells us that schools serving at-risk students can perform at high levels if given the necessary support”, said Helen Raham, Executive Director of SAEE. These schools are to be congratulated for choosing a valuable goal and focusing efforts to improve outcomes for their students. This is important field research. What we can learn from their instructional strategies will help many other schools increase student success.”


School takes action to help at-risk kids

Eric Langton Elementary has received a $5,000 grant from the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education to plan a literacy program for older students.

The school has already seen reading levels improve among its primary students after participation in School District 42’s early literacy intervention program. That program identifies primary students at risk for developing reading difficulties and aims to help them become fluent readers and writers by the end of Grade 3. Eric Langton now wants to address improved literacy needs for students in the intermediate grades.

“In our school, it’s quite ripe for this because the early literacy has made such a difference in our students’ learning. Teachers of older students really want to come on board,” said principal Sheila Pace.

Eric Langton has a comparatively high number of students at risk for literacy difficulties, said Langton, noting that risk factors may include poverty; parents who are illiterate themselves and can’t read to their children; a lack of print, reading, or the tools for writing in the home; or homes where there is little conversation not just about reading but the world in general.

The school’s application to the Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education’s School Improvement Grants Program states that 24 per cent of Eric Langton families were reported in the Ministry of Education’s School Information Profile of 1998-99 as earning below $30,000 a year. More than 16 per cent of the school’s families are single parent families, and the transient rate (changeover in the school’s population) is more than 23 per cent. Because of that transient rate, there may be at-risk students in the older grades who did not receive early literacy intervention when they were primary students in other schools or districts, suggested Pace.

The society’s $5,000 grant to Eric Langton is for planning and development. The school is to use the funds to develop its later literacy program more fully and submit it again to the society by the end of the year for a chance to receive a further $20,000 to implement the program. Eric Langton is one of around six shortlisted schools to receive the initial planning grant, said Pace. Even if Eric Langton is not selected to receive that additional $20,000, having the initial $5,000 to develop the later literacy plan will be valuable in itself, she said.

Pace added that the school wants to focus in the intermediate grades on reading comprehension — on improving students’ ability to understand what they read, to ask questions about it, to apply it, and to make connections between what they read and their own lives.

“We want our students to be active readers so they really are contributing members of society,” she said