Communication Plan

Automated Voice Messenger System

Cole Harbour District High School has initiated a new (effective January 2008) “Automated Voice Messenger System”, as per our goal to improve communications with our school community.

This system will be used to notify parents and/or guardians of occasional announcements and daily student attendance regarding your son and /or daughter.

These calls will be completed between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm on the day the message is entered. If there is “no answer”, the messenger will attempt to call 2 additional times over the 3 hours and then stop calling.

If you have any concerns and/or questions regarding this system, please call Simone Crooks, the main office secretary, at 464-5220 Extension 0.

Assessment and Evaluation

Plan for Communicating Student Learning

Introduction:

Cole Harbour District High School is committed to providing the best possible education for our students. As part of that commitment, effective communication between the school and home is essential. Accurate and timely information respecting student behavior, attendance and achievement will facilitate a cooperative effort among parents/guardians, teachers and students to ensure a successful and rewarding high school experience.

At Cole Harbour District High School, we recognize that students learn and demonstrate their learning in different ways. We have known for some time that individuals have different “learning styles”. It is the belief of teachers at Cole Harbour District High School that we value these unique learning styles. We will continue to grow in our understanding and desire to find new opportunities for allowing students to demonstrate their learning in ways that are best suited to them.

Cole Harbour District High School serves a diverse community. It is important for us to recognize and value the contribution that our students bring to the school community. As teachers, we must understand what these students bring to their learning in order for us to develop programs appropriate to their prior knowledge, life experiences and learning styles.

One of the purposes of assessing and evaluating student learning is to provide an informed basis for program development. Another purpose is to determine what students have achieved in relation to expected learning outcomes for each course and to accredit their learning. The report card is one means of providing summary information on student learning. Teachers recognize the importance of summary grades to students’ educational and career prospects, and work to ensure that our assessment and evaluation processes are reasonable, clear and fair.

Regarding Student Assessment and Evaluation:

The basis for evaluation is to assess student performance in relation to expected learning outcomes. Teachers at Cole Harbour District High School have expectations for what students will achieve in their courses based on curriculum guides provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Education. Assessment strategies are designed to gather information systematically on the achievement of these curriculum outcomes.

All high school courses contribute to the student’s achieving six Essential Graduation Learnings (EGLs) that together indicate the goals for students in Nova Scotia. These EGLs describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected of all students who graduate from high school. As the list below makes clear, these learnings are not limited to within any particular course; but are the consequences of the total educational experience.

Essential Graduation Learnings (EGLs)

  • Aesthetic Expression
  • Citizenship
  • Communication
  • Personal Development
  • Problem Solving
  • Technological Competence

The EGLs are the basis for education at Cole Harbour District High School and all teachers are responsible for ensuring our students attain the EGLs prior to graduation.

Cole Harbour District High School teachers are also aware of the Principles of Learning, as set out by the Department of Education. These statements define what we understand about the learning process. Teachers are guided by these Principles in planning their courses, including their assessment and evaluation strategies.

Principles of Learning:

  • Students construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of their prior knowledge and experiences
  • Learning is a process of activity constructing knowledge
  • Learning is enhanced when it takes place in a social and collaborative environment
  • Learners must see themselves as capable and successful
  • Learners have different ways of knowing and representing knowledge
  • Reflection is an integral part of learning

Designing and delivering curriculum according to the broad expectations of the Essential Graduation Learnings and the philosophy of the Principles of Learning have significant implications for teacher instruction and student learning and assessment at Cole Harbour District High School. Each course offered at Cole Harbour District High School is approved by the Department of Education and is designed around outcomes (statements of what students should know and be able to do) that students must achieve to be successful within the course. Student progress and achievement is assessed, evaluated and communicated in relation to these expected learning outcomes.

Students will be informed about these outcomes at the beginning of each course. Parents who require more information about course expectations other than what they receive through their child are encouraged to contact the teachers.

Range of methods to assess and evaluate student learning:

Teachers use a variety of methods to gather information about a wide range of student learning in order to develop an accurate and comprehensive picture of what students know and are able to do. Since students learn and demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways their learning in a variety of ways, teachers at Cole Harbour District High School use a broad range of strategies to ensure all students have opportunities to show they have met the course outcomes. The range of strategies includes but is not limited to the following:

Audiotapes Cassette recording of related material.
Certifications The process of issuing certifications to denote stages of success in a program. Levels of mastery may be indicated and reflected in grading.
Checklists Quick reference lists that can be used to measure understanding of concepts.
Conference Designed for one-on-one or small group feedback on performance. Peer conferencing and teacher/student conferencing help improve learning. They provide information about interests and strategies to be enacted by students.
Dramatizations The use of drama to represent another form of expression and understanding. Scripts are designed to be enacted by students.
Exhibitions Displays of student work.
Holistic Scales Measurements that take into account the overall quality of performance as opposed to the individual components of the assessments, e.g. work samples, anecdotes, conferences, self-evaluation, check lists.
Individualized projects Students can work on their own on a variety of projects. Their projects may include the following: writing projects (essays, reports, stories, etc.), hand made projects (tables, metal tools, stereo cabinets, articles of clothing), research projects (papers, studies, etc.), art projects (drawing, sketches, painting, sculptures) and computer projects (programs, games, simulations).
Interviews(structural or informal) The use of media or other forms to conduct interviews according to a defined format. Informal interviews may also be used and valued using other scales. Interviewing experts may be done from the point of view of learning how experts become experts. Experts may be drawn from within or outside the class.
Investigations Learning by discovering new information, ideas or having a new experience. Stages of learning as related to outcomes may be recorded in a rubric.
Learning Journals Allow students to write something they know now that they didn’t know when they came to school. They provide opportunities for students to explore ideas and concepts. They can be private or shared.
Media Products Learning from listening to radio, audiotape or through instructional film or slide tape.
Observation Observation provides information on student behaviors and levels of commitment. Some sample contexts are: small group and whole-class discussion, oral reading, peer tutoring, journal writing, silent reading and participation in drama.
Performance Tasks Task analysis helps teachers and students organize a topic into parts. This subdivision can provide the direction for teaching the topic. Task analysis should not be limited to content. It can be used to analyze the steps process.
Portfolios A collection of samples of a student work which may be used for evaluation, information and celebration. It is a record of learning that focuses on student work and their reflections on the work.
Projects Provide opportunities to promote tolerance, understanding, appreciation, support and cooperation. Skills must be taught.
Questioning One of the visible of teaching skills. Effective questions serve a variety of purposes: 1) checking for understanding, 2) assessing readiness, 3) assessing marking level, 4) assessing student attitudes toward learning.
Reports Learning to summarize results of individual inquiry through social interview, library research or laboratory pursuits. Holistic scales may be used to assess learning.
Review of Performance Teacher led review can help keep the students informed on course content. It can either be oral or written. It can take place daily, monthly, by topic, by term or by year. Often used to prepare students for tests or exams.
Rubric A scoring rubric consists of a fixed scale and a list of characteristics describing performance for each of the points on the scale. Rubrics promote learning by offering clear performance targets to students for agreed upon standards.
Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment Self assessment and peer assessment provide students perspectives on their own products and process as well as how they perceive their peers’ efforts.
Seminar presentations Small group settings arranged for the purpose of presenting in depth research on a selected topic.
Student presentations Can be oral, written, visual, auditory or tactile. They can be delivered by individuals or groups. They should generate interest and ownership in the lesson.
Surveys and Questionnaires Effective data gathering tools. Students can learn how groups of people respond to specific issues. They can also learn how to process and interpret the data generated by the questionnaires. Questionnaires can be tools of research.
Tests and Examinations The use of a variety of questions and responses to summarize significant bodies of curriculum and outcomes.
Videotapes Enables the instructor to project the content to a large screen. This feature allows students to take notes while writing. The video camera can be used to film a variety of learning experiences such as dramatizations, group work and script writing. A rubric for evaluation can be established.
Work Samples Analysis of work samples provides information on strategies being used, skills being developed and concepts attained. Sample contexts include: responses to questions, tests, reading/writing workshops, role-play, journal writing and Reading Theatre. Recording strategies would include: anecdotal records, criterion rubrics, discussion and videotapes of speeches.
Written Assignments Students who can write competently can complete assessment formats that require extensive writing.

Homework Policy:

Cole Harbour District High School believes that students need to do homework on a nightly basis. Homework includes both out-of-class assignments and individual review of previously learned material. Students who claim to have completed all their homework at school are still expected to study and review material at home.

Successful students do homework approximately 2 to 21/2 hours per night or 15 hours per week. Learning and preparation are not limited to classrooms and schedules.

We believe that homework helps:

  • to develop independence
  • to give feedback
  • to strengthen self-discipline
  • to improve time management
  • to focus on creativity

In order that new information be implanted in our short and long-term memory, research suggests that new material must be reviewed within a twenty-four (24) hour period as well as within a week, for the information to be committed to long-term memory. This is a significant function of homework.

Assessment/Evaluation:

Assessment is defined as the systematic gathering of information on student learning. Evaluation is defined as the process of analyzing, summarizing and making decisions based on the information collected. This process involves teachers establishing clear criteria for assigning marks or grades to students’ work. Teachers typically involve students in examining these criteria so that students are well aware of what is being evaluated as well as how it is being evaluate.

The assigning of term or final marks involves more than adding up the marks given in a series of assignments. Rather, evaluation involves teachers using their professional judgment in making decisions based on the information collected over a period of time. Teachers are responsible for explaining how they have arrived at their evaluative decisions, but in the process of determining what students have achieved in relation to common course outcomes, teachers will exercise their professional judgment in interpreting the evidence of student learning.

In the first week of any course at Cole Harbour District High School, the student will receive, in writing, an outline of the assessment and evaluation plan including components and values for that course. No single assessment event, including an examination, will be valued at more than 30% of the final mark. At Cole Harbour District High School, the final course mark is comprised of 70% of the term mark and 30% of the final examination mark.

Cole Harbour District High Report Card:

The report card gives the following important information:

  • The subject and the teacher are listed in the far-left column
  • The term mark indicates the level of achievement of course outcomes in that particular course over the term. It represents 70% of the final grade.
  • The final mark represents the level of student achievement of the outcomes in this specific course. This mark becomes a part of the student’s transcript that is used for acceptance into post secondary schools as well as by other institutions and individuals to whom the student has forwarded the official transcript.

Cole Harbour’s Commitment to Effective Communication of Student Learning

  1. In the first week of any course, the student will receive, in writing, an outline of the assessment and evaluation plan including components and values for that course.
  2. When communicating student learning either formally or informally, teachers endeavor to provide clear and easily understood information on student progress and achievement in relation to expected learning outcomes.
  3. When parents/guardians find they do not understand the information provided by the school respecting the student’s progress and achievement, they are encouraged to alert the school administration. We will make efforts to provide the type of information you require in a form that communicates effectively. These efforts may include enlisting the assistance of an interpreter or an advocate for the parent/guardian.
  4. Appreciating that early notice is often key to successful intervention, teachers will inform students and parents/guardians in a timely manner when the student’s behavior, academic performance, and/or attendance gives cause for concern.
  5. Students and parents/guardians who have a concern regarding any particular assessment have the right to a review of that assessment. The process outlined below is fair to all concerned and will in most cases result in a satisfactory resolution. Students, parents and guardians are requested to take the following steps:
    • Students should contact the teacher and discuss the grade immediately following the return of the assessment. This may assist the student in understanding the assessment results.
    • If more clarification is needed, the parent/guardian or student should contact the teacher in writing regarding the specific assessment.
    • The teacher will respond to this communication either by phone or meeting in a timely manner after receiving the request.
    • The teacher will document the conversation or meeting.
    • If unresolved, the student, parent/guardian and/or teacher should refer the matter to the principal.
    • The principal will then meet with the parties involved in an effort to resolve the situation.

School Calendar

The lines of communication between school and home are always open.

  • There are two formal report cards issued during each semester
  • If parents need information on a more frequent bases, they should contact a vice principal or a guidance counselor at any time to request a progress report
  • Parents should inform the school of factors that may influence a student’s success

The following is a general calendar. Specific dates will be published each year in the student handbook.

September Curriculum night (4th week)
November Distribution of mid-term report card (1st week)
Parent/Teacher interviews (1st week)
January Formal assessment period (4th week)
February Semester one report cards (2nd week)
Curriculum Night (3rd week)
April Distribution of mid-term report card (2nd week)
Parent/Teacher interviews (2nd week)
June Formal assessment period (2nd & 3rd week)
Semester two report cards

Identification, Assessment, Referral and Program Planning For Students with Special Needs:

Cole Harbour District High School is committed to supporting the learning needs of all students. As part of this commitment, the school has established a process for the identification, assessment and program planning for students with special needs. The parents/guardians play a key participatory role throughout this entire process. This process follows the guidelines set out by the Provincial Department of Education and Culture in the Special Education Policy Manual. This is in keeping with the Halifax Regional School Board’s Special Education Policy and Procedures. Parents and guardians who wish to read the Special Education Policy Manual or the Board’s policy and procedures should either contact the school or visit the relevant website

Department of Education http://www.ednet.ns.ca/educ/program/ssvcs/specialed.html; Halifax Regional School Board: http://www.hrsb.ns.ca:8080.board.policy.index.html .

  • Identification of students with special needs: Classroom teachers, resource teachers, parents and students may initiate and/or assist in identifying students and providing relevant assessment information. When formal individual assessments seem needed, they will be conducted by qualified personnel and will be undertaken only after parents/guardians have given written informed consent.
  • Program Adaptations: Classroom teachers will explore a variety of adaptations which take into account the actual characteristics of the learner and are appropriate to his/her needs, age, and level of educational achievement. These adaptations and their effectiveness in assisting students in meeting outcomes will be recorded and the information communicated to parents/guardians on the Programming Adaptations Form.
  • Program Planning Team: If the classroom teacher(s) require(s) further support to meet the needs of a student, the teacher(s) will contact the school Program Planning Team. The team members include the principal or vice-principal, the teachers involved, the parents/guardians, and the student, when appropriate. Parents’/guardians’ participation is essential at this stage. It is also through the meeting of the Program Planning Team that a decision is made on whether an Individual Program Plan is needed for the student.
  • Individual Program Plan: The development and implementation of an Individual Program Plan (IPP) follows a process suggested by the Nova Scotia Department of Education. Parents/guardians who have been involved in the stages outlined above will, in the course of those activities, have been informed regarding "next steps" as appropriate.

Provisions to Assist Parents / Guardians for whom the Standard Forms of Communication are Inappropriate:

Every attempt will be made to assist individuals who identify themselves as needing assistance understanding the assessment procedures for student evaluation.

Students with parents / guardians requiring such assistance are encouraged to notify the school administration concerning the assistance needed.

Web Sites:

 

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