Students at Mecca Glen School embrace technology

Grade 4 students and up at Mecca Glen School are becoming more involved in the technology world.

Grade 4 students and up at Mecca Glen School are becoming more involved in the technology world.

Some classes feature lessons from teachers using YouTube and accessing that information with Chrome Books, said principal Al Libby. Trustees of the board of Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) division heard Libby update them on Mecca Glen School’s growth over the year during the Dec. 17 regular meeting of the board. Like Crestomere School (see story on page x), Mecca Glen is part of a pilot anti-bullying project called Olweus. Libby and staff are still learning about the practice before it is implemented after the New Year.

“It’s a learning experience for all of us,” he said. “Everybody has to be a part of the program.”

Despite some low student numbers in the younger grades, Libby sees many young families in the area. Until those children grow up and are ready for school though, he has had to combine classes for Grades 1 and 2, and Grades 2 and 3. Libby said there was some concern from parents that their children’s education would be missed. A meeting in late August helped alleviate fears.

“We showed them (parents) our student assessment results. What we were doing with differentiating instruction and technology and why it worked best to do it this way,” said Libby.

Teachers have been using WCPS’s Excellent Learning Environments (ELE) and have been evaluating the programs with central office administration. The goal was to give teachers’ a non-threatening meeting to discuss their growth and implementation of the program. It “really helped them to stay focused on professional development.”

One of the things Libby has implemented is to get an idea of where students are in their comprehension of lessons. He is providing three Gates-MacGinitie reading tests a year to determine what students need for teaching.

“You can put more weight on the data as you track it over a couple years,” said Libby.

The results will help teachers determine what level of teaching is needed for each student. The school also has a reading program where students take 10 minutes every day to read.

Libby’s goal this year is to increase exposure to the arts and he has a day trip planned for Edmonton.

As for Provincial Assessment Tests, Libby has seen growth in the last two years of students’ learning. Many students showed a strong understanding of the sciences with all grades excelling above the average.

Some parts of the school need updating and the principal said he is going to start looking at fundraising to replace their aging playground. He estimates the cost at $100,000 to $150,000.

Trustees showed interest in some of the advancements teachers have made with technology and teaching lessons in class. Junior high teacher Adam Troistky has been using YouTube and IPads to give students the lesson outlines. For 10 minutes they review the video and can rewind a section if they don’t understand the explanation. Using Chrome Books, they will complete the lesson and Troitsky can help students while they work.

Trustee Barb Walker asked how they can share that with other teachers. Gerry Varty, assistant superintendent of learning support and system improvement, replied that would come eventually. “There’s a number of schools that are doing the same thing.”

Varty suggested that sharing will eventually start to happen but he suggested teachers would see value in creating their own program.

“It’s a real growth activity,” said Varty.