au courant

June 1, 2015

Staffing Update

The three positions we advertised were filled by people who will be bringing tremendous expertise to their roles.

1 - Our Grade Two position will be filled by Craig Fullerton. He comes to us from Lloydminster where he has taught Grade Six for 5 years. What impressed us most about Craig was his emphasis on ensuring every student experiences success.

As a new teacher, Craig found himself teaching 11 year olds who struggled with reading, so he did something concrete about it; he delved into Daily 5, Notice and Note, Guided Reading and RTI. As a result of his initiative in learning so much about how to teach students to read, 95% of his students have consistently achieved at or above grade level. Craig also comes with an impressive list of achievements and extracurricular activities including a range of sports, mentorship of new teachers, clubs (eg., for at-risk boys), and running the school's website.

Something else to note - Craig and his wife are expecting their first child in the fall. :)

2 - Lexi Krossa will be joining us next year to teach Grade One. She has been teaching for 5 years and has experience with a range of elementary grades. She is currently teaching in Grand Prairie, but is originally from Ponoka. What impressed us most about Lexi was her emphasis on ensuring every student experiences success.

Lexi has a very strong background in Balanced Literacy, Daily 5, the Leveled Literacy Intervention program, and Guided Reading. Her references repeatedly emphasized her ability to differentiate instruction and expectations, so every one of her students experiences success. She meets student needs through direct interventions, open-ended instructional strategies, and data-driven assessment, which allows her to create student-centred goals targeting individual needs. Lexi also comes with an impressive list of extracurricular involvement including coaching several sports, coordinating the Science Fair, running a Girl Power club, and helping with student council.

3 - Because it is now likely we will have a pre-k program, the half time K position advertised has evolved into a full time position. When jobs are posted, anyone can apply; as a result, Tracy Somers Brown is now our morning kindergarten teacher and afternoon pre-k teacher. What impresses us most about Tracy is her emphasis on ensuring every student experiences success.

Tracy has always welcomed students with varying needs into her classroom and has gone out of her way to arrange a physical environment (largely at her own expense) and design a highly student-centred instructional environment in which a wide range of needs and abilities can be accommodated. She collaborates with the support staff in her classroom and the supports available throughout the school. To accommodate widely differentiated needs, Tracy employs direct interventions, incorporates a wide range of developmentally appropriate, engaging instructional strategies, and continually seeks to grow her repertoire of ideas. In her short teaching career, Tracy has been the technology coach, taught in a collaborative cross-grade setting, and is now investigating Reggio Emilia for JSM's earliest learners.

Tracy also contributes to the school as a whole by involving herself in extracurricular activities such as the family dance (she put hours into creating decorations this year); she is the school's staff rep on school council, and she has invested many hours of her own time with the school's website and its links.

4 - Because Tracy moved into the K/pre-K position, a Grade One position opened up, and Amy McKean was the successful candidate. Amy has a history of working with young children in various capacities and has demonstrated an understanding of children's developmental needs. Amy's lessons impressed the interviewers, because they were so focused on establishing rapport with the students; the specific outcomes and ensuring the students learned them; developmentally appropriate; engaging; and reflective of several instructional strategies.

It took hours of reading a great many resumes, calling references, interviewing candidates, and debating attributes, and, at the end of this very thorough process, Darin, Lorelie and I were unanimous in our selections. Thanks for your time, professionalism, and dedication to this process, you two!

Message from Mark McWhinnie...

The Summer Institute will be held at Ponoka Secondary Campus. This will be on Wednesday, August 26 starting at 8:45am. The Summer Institute will take placeduring the morning only and finish by noon. This event is for both teachers and support staff during the morning.

Messages from the Inclusion Coach

HUB supports

As you all know, the end of the school year always brings an increase in the demand for social and emotional support for our students. Due to this increase, in the HUB we can not guarantee our daily academic supports but we will do the best we can. If you have any questions, please let me know :)

Transition Books

Once again, as we prepare students for next year, we will be making Transition books for those students who need that extra support. The book has a variety of pictures including their teacher for next year. If you have any students who you feel could benefit from one of these books please let me know via email. We will ensure they receive a book before heading home for the summer. We make these books for kids going in to Grade 4 as well.

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School Enhancement Committee

At its recent meeting, the issue put forward for discussion was keeping the school calendar updated. With the ease of access to information we all now have through the Google calendar, it is requested that anyone responsible for decisions regarding dates adds them to the calendar well in advance of the event.

When possible, events should be added to the calendar before teachers create their monthly communications to go home to parents.

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