New Grade Configuration for 2016-2017

2016-2017

Changes to Falun School

Starting in the fall, Falun School will be reconfiguring our class structure. Changes in enrollment and different class sizes throughout the school have led us to revise our class configuration.

Classes for the fall will be configured in the following way with the current projected enrollment:

ECS- Stand alone                                  Grade 3/4- 24 Students

Grade 1/2- 24 students                          Grade 4/5- 24 Students

Grade 2/3- 24 students                          Grade 5/6- 24 Students 

Classes will be configured by using the following guidelines:

  • Students will cover all of the main concept ideas in the Alberta curriculum during their elementary time from K-6.
  • Student rotation explanation example: A student that moves into grade 2 from grade one and is in grade 2 in the grade 2/3 class will then become the threes in that same class the following year. The next year those students will become the 4’s in the 4/5 class. This allows each group to experience the lower and upper grade dynamic in alternating years.
  • All Mathematics and English Language Arts will be taught in a combined method. Common curricular outcomes will be taught to all students with appropriate leveling up or down to meet the students’ specific grade level. Non common curricular outcomes will be taught to the students in that specific grade level.
  • Social Studies (SS) and Science (Sc) Curriculum in year one will be as follows:

S.S and Sc. will follow a two year rotation. In the school year (2016-2017) the grade 1/2 class covers Grade Two S.S. and Sc.; Grade 2/3 covers Grade Three S.S. and Sc.; Grade 3/4 covers Grade Four S.S. and Sc., Grade 4/5 Grade Five S.S. and Sc., Grade 5/6 Grade Six S.S. and Sc.

BUILDING CLASSES OF COMBINED GRADES

Given that the goal is to build a community of learners in every classroom, it is essential to ensure that the best interests of the students are central in all decisions about classroom organization. In order to ensure that the classes consisting of students from more than one grade are balanced in as many different ways as possible, administration and teachers need to take into consideration various factors, just as they do with single-grade classes. Some significant factors are the following: • number of students in each grade • number of boys and girls in the class • social skills of the students (e.g., ability to cooperate or take the initiative) • relationships with peers (e.g., ability to maintain friendships and to build new friendships) • level of student achievement in literacy and numeracy • students’ strengths (e.g., degree of independence, ability in problem solving) • students’ needs (e.g., need for support in learning English, special education needs, students’ interests.

 

“In successful schools, classrooms are organized to meet the learning needs of students. … Teachers create a culture of learning in the classroom that values each member of the learning community.” – Literacy for Learning, 2004, p. 96

Building balanced classes of students in combined grades is part of the process of equitable organization of all classes in our school. We have looked at this as being able to organize the classes in our school so that classes of combined grades have a smaller number of students in them, than some of the single-grade classes. In organizing the classes school-wide, we have considered the social, emotional, and academic profiles of the students. In doing this, we have built individual class profiles to assist classroom teachers in supporting students’ strengths, needs, and interests.

Information about which class your child will be placed in for the following 2016-2017 school year will be sent home in your child’s or children’s report card. This will give you and your child time to plan over the summer break.

 

Questions Answered:

Parents often have questions about the placement of their children in classes. The following are some frequently asked questions about classes of combined grades.

Why do you have classes of combined grades? Most classes of combined grades are created to accommodate students in a school where it is not possible to create only single-grade classes. For example, if there are thirty Grade 2 students, thirty Grade 3 students, and three teachers, the only way to organize the children into smaller classes is to combine some students from both grades in one class. Some schools, however, choose to create classes of combined grades, so that their students have the opportunity to gain the academic and socio-emotional benefits associated with such classes.

What are the benefits of placement in a class of combined grades? There are many socio-emotional benefits for students who are in classes with students of various ages. For example, in such classes, peer interactions have been shown to be very positive; students have opportunities for greater development of social skills and cooperation skills; and students often develop a feeling of comfort and security, a positive self-concept, and a sense of satisfaction with their achievements. There are also significant opportunities for development of leadership skills and for learning from peers. In studies measuring academic achievement, students in classes of combined grades were found to perform as well as students in single grade classes.

Why was my child chosen to be in a class of combined grades? When placing students in all classes, educators consider a variety of factors, including number of students, number of boys and girls, and students’ interests, strengths, needs, learning styles, motivation, work habits, emotional development, and linguistic, cultural, and social backgrounds. For details, see the expert panel report entitled Education for All: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy and Numeracy Instruction for Students With Special Education Needs, Kindergarten to Grade 6 (Toronto: Ministry of Education, Ontario, 2005), chapter 4. 10 COMBINED GRADES: STRATEGIES TO REACH A RANGE OF LEARNERS

 

Will the teacher have as much time for each child in a class of combined grades? The amount of time for an individual student is not determined by the organization of classrooms by grade. In all classrooms, teachers employ a number of instructional strategies to address the needs of all students. On a daily basis, teachers work with large groups, small groups, and individual students.

 

How do teachers prepare for teaching classes of combined grades? Teachers develop the knowledge and skills to effectively manage any classroom, including knowledge of curriculum resources and flexibility in planning. Teachers also learn about which instructional strategies work well with the students in their class while they teach, whether it is a single-grade class or a class of combined grades. As well, the Ministry of Education and the local district school board provide many professional learning opportunities for teachers on planning and instruction.

 

Will the child in the higher grade be sufficiently challenged? Research has shown that there are no negative effects on academic achievement. Teachers design programs to challenge children at their appropriate academic level. In any given classroom, students have diverse needs and interests, and teachers spend a great deal of time planning a program so that it addresses this range. Along with the academic studies, students also learn to work with a cross-section of other students, reinforcing social and leadership skills. Research suggests that this is an advantage.


Might the child in the lower grade be overwhelmed? Teachers and principals are careful in selecting students who will be compatible in all classes. In any class, children show a range of development physically, emotionally, and academically. It is an advantage for younger children in a class of combined grades to have many people they can ask for help – both the teacher and older students. They may also benefit from being able to learn from older children who can model leadership and academic skills.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Mr. K. Holtby @ 780-352-2898.

Sincerely,

Falun School

Board Proposed Strategic Direction

 Board Proposed Strategic Direction

Coming Soon .... April 26th and onward the Discovery Phase on the conversation about the Board Proposed Strategic Direction. 


DISCOVER THE RESULTS April 26th & onward

You still have an opportunity to attend a Board open house on:

May 4, 2016 at the Griffiths Scott School in Millet @ 7:00 p.m.
May 10, 2016 at Ecole Queen Elizabeth School in Wetaskiwin @ 7:00 p.m.

Beginning on April 26th, 2016 and onward the results of this online conversation can be viewed.

View: DISCOVER THE RESULTS

View: Board Proposed Strategic Direction for more information.

Basketball Courts and SEARIC Grant

A huge thanks to Friends of Falun School, Ben Gingrich, and Dave Bunney. Through the support of all parents and community members, the basketball court/activity was poured last year. Many thanks to Ben Gingrich for donating his time and his skills to make the backboards. Dave Bunney kindly donated his welding skills to complete the project by welding the backboards to the posts. Last, but by no means least, a donation of soccer/basketballs for each grade were provided by Warnke Drilling! The students and staff at Falun School extend our greatest thanks to everyone involved. It is awesome to see the dedication and support of so many people interested in creating fantastic opportunities and experiences for our youth!

 

Once again, we have been blessed with another grant from the Society for the Education and Assistance of Rural Indian Children (SEARIC). We gratefully and graciously received our third donation in the amount of $5000.00 in March of this year. The funds allow us to continue to run the Breakfast Cart Program for the remainder of this school year and the 2016—2017 School Year as well. Stainless steel forks and spoons were also purchased from the funds and students will have the opportunity to use these in the breakfast program, Meals by Moms hot lunch days and regular lunch requirements where needed.

 

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