From the Principal/Welcome Message
Over the years of your child’s education, you will be asked to fill out a series of questions from Alberta Education and our school District. The purpose is to gather opinions of parents on the education system in Alberta and their community school. We want you to know that this information translates to us. We want the best opportunity for your child’s success. Reflecting on the results of feedback is important. We believe that armed with a better awareness of what is actively happening in these areas, along with the characteristics of effective schools as asked by the questions … we will be better equipped to serve, and you will be better informed. Exploring these questions will be win/win for all of us. Research shows that students in schools that share these characteristics will achieve at higher levels. That’s enough for me. Thanks for your partnership in this!
There is a series of questions referring to parents' opinion on satisfaction that your child is taught the attitudes and behaviors to be successful. Did you know that at Westpark Middle School:
- The classroom is a lot like the workplace—students are expected to work effectively in the same place, with the same people, every day. Developing good personal management, teamwork and communication skills
- Students have the opportunity to develop skills that will help you get along with people with diverse backgrounds and social values
- Success comes when cognitive skills work in tandem with so-called soft skills like self-control, persistence, social awareness, relationship development, and self-awareness.
- Interpersonal skills are the skills we use to interact with other people. Good interpersonal skills allow you to participate effectively as a member of a team, satisfy customers and clients' expectations, negotiate, make decisions, manage your time efficiently, take responsibility, and work effectively with other employees. Well-honed interpersonal skills allow us to empathise and build rapport with colleagues and clients, leading to a better working environment which can be less stressful. These skills are important to our teaching at WMS.
- The ability to communicate both verbally and in writing with a wide variety of people, maintain good eye contact, write clearly and succinctly, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor your language to your audience are all essential skills that employers seek out - we ensure that your child has practice and experience
Westpark considers success from a whole child focus: academic, social/emotional and physical success. The truth that all students can succeed is a fundamental belief or educational philosophy that is reiterated during problem solving, at staff development sessions, in our planning and as we talk over coffee. We believe that all kids can succeed and that all of our staff can succeed. We believe that we have individual and collective responsibility for each child’s success. Playing our role as an Educator or Administrator in Westpark means that we approach each child’s achievement with a growth mindset. We are confident in the essential outcomes that are needed for student success and we teach for what we expect. We assess so that we know that they have achieved and then target specific strategies to help those who haven’t met success yet.
While ‘report cards’ are around the corner, we know this to be merely a snapshot of student growth that we share. Progress over the essential objectives are measured frequently, monitored frequently, and the results of those assessments are used to improve the individual student behaviors and performances, as well as to improve delivery of the curriculum as a whole. With the implementation of our Pyramid of Supports model a few years back and specific professional development to guide our increased proficiency this year, we continue to do a better job of monitoring our students’ progress. We conference with students and partner with them as advisors and architects of learning so that they build a Growth Mindset for a forever learner.
We help students to monitor their own learning and, where necessary, adjust their own behavior. We use a variety of assessments for and of learning, strive to give students fast results on homework, and help them to gain the ability to see correct solutions for assuring continued learning. Knowing the essential outcomes is the first step for our teachers. We ‘benchmark’ to see where each individual student is beginning their base of learning. Then as instruction unfolds both through direct and experiential learning, monitoring continues. Scaffolding lessons and activities allow students to continue to make progress in a fluid way. It’s at this time that we highlight learning opportunities, suggest corrective action and give feedback. This personalized check up also provides time for the teacher to go deeper into specific indicators of misconception or strategy errors.
Students walk away knowing more about the root causes of their misunderstanding and teachers have the opportunity at times to adjust instruction to meet the needs of more students, more effectively. The final benchmark assessments will serve as an indicator of the students’ overall performance and knowledge base for the entire school year. Effective schools recognize essential outcomes, reach, teach, and assess each child and work collectively as a staff to guide students’ learning and assure that your child is performing to the highest level of expectation.
It is SUCH an honor to serve you and your child. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to our staff with any questions or concerns or even just a virtual coffee talk.