It should come as no surprise that educators in the Delta School District are highly focused on the foundational pillars of literacy and numeracy. But what exactly does this look like in our schools?
In 2022, the district’s Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction department launched a new reading website to provide support and resources for its elementary school teachers. In addition, this year, more than 50 teachers are engaged in a pilot of a Grade 1 and 2 phonics program called UFLI. The program provides 15 to 20-minute lesson plans for K-Grade 2 teachers and aims to improve the literacy outcomes for children learning to read.
“Feedback from teachers involved in the pilot has been positive. They are seeing a significant impact on students,” said Neil Stephenson, Director of Learning Services. “It involves a really clear, systematic approach to instruction that also helps student tap into the joy of reading, which is so important if we want to encourage children to persevere with reading.”
In addition, there has been a shift in how elementary students’ reading ability is being assessed. Two schools – Pinewood and Holly – are piloting a new assessment which measures the various skills involved in making students successful at reading. The aim of the data is to help teachers identify which skills students need to focus on next to support their overall progress in reading. In addition to the two pilot schools, other primary teachers from various Delta schools are also piloting the new assessments.
Other district initiatives focus on Indigenous literacy and aim to respond to growing interest from educators on how to assess and teach reading to kids in Grades 4-7.
The work to improve literacy isn’t limited solely to elementary schools. Secondary school educators are also focused on reading success and are working with an Inclusive Literacy Practices Coordinator (Tashi Kirincic) to introduce reading practices and assessments that better support high school students.
A few years ago, the district piloted the Math Minds program in one elementary school. In 2022, they expanded the program to an additional eight schools. This year, 14 elementary schools are taking part in the program, which aims to give children mastery of mathematics. Survey results indicate that that the program has been successful in increasing students’ confidence in understanding math concepts and tackling math challenges.
New Progress Reporting
Starting this school year, progress reports will use proficiency scales rather than letter grades for all public school students from Kindergarten through Grade 9. The new reporting style is being implemented across all of B.C. It provides more descriptive feedback than letter grades and focuses more on a student’s ability to understand the material. Letter grades will remain for students in grades 10, 11 and 12.
For more information, please visit: https://www.deltasd.bc.ca/reporting/
The After-School Band program, which was introduced in 2022 after Grade 6/7 band was removed from schools’ curriculum, has been extremely successful with 196 students registered at four programs across the district.
The program takes place at South Delta Secondary (Mondays), Sands Secondary (Tuesdays), Seaquam Secondary (Wednesdays) and Delta Secondary (Wednesdays). Students can choose the day and location that works best for them.
“The feedback from this new after-school program has been great,” said Neil Stephenson. “Along with the joy of being in a band and learning music, we’ve hoping that elementary students who participate in this program gain some comfort from being in a high school environment. The transition from elementary school to high school can be hard. As they move into Grade 8 next year, we hope that students in this program will start their first year at high school with more confidence.”