This is an exciting time for the York Region District School Board. Through our commitment to inspire learning in deep and relevant ways we have created our first online, five-year Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being (BIPSA 2016-2021). As a five-year plan, it is a living document; not meant to sit on a shelf or be used as a checklist.
The BIPSA has been structured to align and support our system, our schools and our classrooms as we learn, plan and take action. This structure has been guided by a belief that, “When large numbers of people have a deeply understood sense of what needs to be done – and see their part in achieving that purpose – coherence emerges and powerful things happen.” (Fullan and Quinn. Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems. 2015)
The evolution in thinking represented by this BIPSA creates district coherence while recognizing individual school contexts. This BIPSA makes clear our commitment to improve student experiences and outcomes in each of our identified focus areas: Modern Learning, Mathematics and Mental Health. The foundational practices of Equity, Innovation, and Leadership are evident throughout the actions of each strategy.
The BIPSA is aligned with the Ministry of Education’s Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario, and informed by the School Effectiveness Framework. It is designed to reflect YRDSB’s Mission,Vision and Values and supports both the Trustees’ Multi-Year Plan and the Director’s Annual Plan. The BIPSA identifies strategic actions to support alignment and continuous improvement while complementing ongoing work in key areas. We remain committed to a coherent and focused path to achieve clear alignment in our planning processes. The BIPSA makes explicit that students and their experiences in our schools and classrooms are at the centre of all we do.
J. Phillip Parappally, Director of Education
Components of the BIPSA
The three BIPSA Strategies (Modern Learning, Math and Mental Health) are organized using the same components. Each component serves an important and specific function.
Context provides a grounding for what, in broad strokes, our data is telling us is the best direction for the work going forward. Schools are encouraged to develop deep understanding of their school contexts through a variety of sources of information, and by using the tools to access school reports/data link that has been provided within each strategy’s context.
Foundational Practices Thinking Prompts are designed to assist in fostering an Equity, Innovation and Leadership mindset to inform the way actions are implemented. It is also the expectation that we will deepen our understanding of the intersecting role of the foundational practices as part of our work over the next five years. The Foundational Practices Core Resources link has been developed to guide how we do our work.
Theory of Action provides a cause and effect statement based upon our best understanding of a set of overall actions that, when combined, will achieve our desired goal within each of the foci. In each case, the four overall actions correspond to the four pillars within each strategy.
Actions in each strategy align among system, school, and classroom so that users can easily find their authentic entry points and understand how their actions correspond with those of others. It is important for school leadership teams to note that there is no expectation that a school will implement all of the actions found in the school and classroom sections of a strategy. Rather, the BIPSA strategies support schools in selecting impactful actions for their own context and goals. Links have been provided throughout the actions to allow users to find supporting information as efficiently as possible.
Professional Learning is a crucial part of system, school and classroom improvement and is at the heart of transformational change. Harnessing and leveraging collaborative professionalism and expertise is instrumental to the success of our students and our staff. With that in mind, Principles for Effective Professional Learning, as well as the Professional Learning Opportunities link, have been created.
Resources have been provided to support learning in each focus area and have been organized into four categories: Core, Supporting Specialized Populations, Parent/Guardian/Family and Facilitation Resources. They are comprised of high-quality, research-based materials that will inform and support our work over the next five years.
Monitoring of our improvement will be enhanced by a common understanding of the Principles of Effective Monitoring. The linked Classroom, School and System Planning and Monitoring Frame includes questions, resources and processes to support the gathering, analysis, interpretation and response to evidence.
Targets within each strategy support the BIPSA evaluation process and are presented on a continuum of checkpoints over time. There are three distinct types of targets: implementation, perception and achievement. This approach recognizes that the journey to measureable outcomes for student achievement and well-being involves a process that takes us deeper into our understanding of our implementation processes both from our own perspective and as perceived by the students. The Principles for Effective Target Setting guide schools in the process of defining their own targets in support of the Board targets.
It is important that we continue to build on our current strengths using the capacity that we have previously developed. We will work towards specific Literacy/Student Success/EcoSchool Targetsand continue to monitor a number of key areas:
YRDSB Refreshed Literacy Frame: deepening our learning of the foundational elements of successful literacy practices Student Success: deepening our implementation of strategies to support students who may be at risk of not succeeding, with a focus on improving credit accumulation and graduation rates
Environmental Stewardship: broadening our work on creating certified Eco-schools and going deeper into effective practices for stronger environmental stewardship
Early Years Strategy: collaboratively building capacity and continuity among partners to ensure that children are at the centre of responsive decision-making
First Nation Metis and Inuit Education Plan: building awareness and capacity throughout the system to close the achievement gap for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, in alignment with the Ministry’s Education Framework
The Learning Disabilities Strategic Plan: building awareness and developing strategies throughout the system to reduce stigma and support students with learning disabilities to reach their potential
English Language Learners: developing a collective practice of support that is anchored in a deep understanding of the student, language learning across curricula, and effective pedagogy
A Framework for French as a Second Language – 3 Year Plan: supporting educators in deepening their knowledge and skills related to comprehensive FSL programming
Healthy Schools and Workplaces Action Plan: supporting planning related to staff and student well-being