Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:31

Holy Trinity Catholic School Division presents annual report at meeting of electors

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Various activities and accomplishments from the 2015-16 school year were highlighted during the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division’s annual meeting of electors, March 8.


The event took place through a video link between three school sites that connected attendees at Christ the King School in Shaunavon, All Saints Catholic School in Swift Current, and St. Agnes School in Moose Jaw.
For Director of Education Geri Hall the highlights from the school year were related to learning outcomes.
Grade 3 reading levels are considered to be an important indicator of future student performance and the school division achieved reading goals for 2015-16, with 84 per cent of Grade 3 students reading at or above the grade level in June 2016.
“Reading is important,” she told the Prairie Post. “It’s a gift that we can give students so that when they learn to read, they can then be able to read to learn in the upper grades. So we will continue with having expectations at 80 per cent of our students in Grade 3 able to read at grade level at the end of June.”
The Holy Trinity School Division is currently working on a math intervention program that will be used to provide additional support to students.
“We call it math literacy intervention, MLI, and we are looking at how we can support our children, especially in the younger grades on getting their math fluency scores,” she said.
Holy Trinity’s math intervention program is based on a similar initiative by Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.
“They have structured a program that relies upon resources that are already in a school division and we are very resource rich in our math supports for our program that we have here,” she said. “We have actually gone to their school division and had a very solid look at their intervention math for developing numeracy skills from Grade 1 to Grade 9, and we're adopting and adapting their program.”
In June 2016 the on-time graduation rate for Holy Trinity students was 79 per cent, which was higher than the provincial average of 76 per cent. The extended-time graduation rate (students who graduate within five years of entering Grade 10) was 93 per cent, which was higher than the provincial average of 83 per cent.
It represents an improvement on the 87 per cent extended-time graduation rate for Holy Trinity students in the 2014-15 school year. The extended-time graduation rate for Holy Trinity students increased noticeably since 2009, when it was 83 per cent.
“I have to say we're very proud of our extended graduation rates,” she said.
The support provided to students at Phoenix Academy in Moose Jaw has been an important reason for the improvement in the extended-time graduation rate. Phoenix is attended by around 100 students who come from about 22 different schools.
“It is for those students that for whatever reason were not successful in a regular high school program and have huge gaps in their learning, and then come to us and we provide individualized programming for them,” she explained. “So when we look at the extended graduation rates, that really reflects the persistence of some of those students and their ability to get their Grade 12.”
Holy Trinity Catholic School Division has nine schools located in three communities – Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Shaunavon. There were 2,059 students enrolled in 2015-16. This represented an increase of 29 students over the previous year and it was 36 more compared to the 2013-14 school year.
“We do have a bit of a baby boom echo happening in all three of our school communities,” she said. “We've got the data from Health about birth rates. So what we're seeing in our increase in demographics probably is a result of more babies been born in the last number of years.”
As a result the student numbers in the lower grades – kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2 – are noticeably higher than in the past.
“We expect that to go on probably for the next three to four years,” she said.
The number of English as Additional Language (EAL) students increased steadily in recent years. There were 163 EAL students in 2015-16 while there were 125 in 2014-15 and 111 in 2013-14.
“We saw the EAL need and supports started in Swift Current, and then now we're seeing more people coming in with those kinds of needs in Moose Jaw,” she said.
According to Hall the most significant challenge during the 2015-16 school year was the implementation of five early learning centres in three Moose Jaw schools that do not have a pre-kindergarten program.
“We used to have five extra division funded pre-kindergarten programs,” she said. “The board decided to move away from non-ministry funded pre-kindergarten and in its place they decided to go with YMCA early learning centres in the three schools in Moose Jaw that would not have any pre-kindergarten if we went back just to the ministry funded pre-K.”
The main challenge during this transition for the school division was to assure parents that their children were receiving appropriate developmental support in these early learning centres. Holy Trinity implemented monitoring strategies to evaluate the success and integration of these centres with the schools.
“We wanted the children who are in those programs and the families who have their children in the programs to feel a part of the school division,” she said. “So it was a year of us exploring another option and we did review that in April 2016, reported to the board and had determined that we had a couple of things that we needed to do around communication and documentation, but other than that it was an excellent resources for parents to have their children in this early learning centres that the YMCA provides for us.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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