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Teacher Engagement  Student Engagement. Sherry Elwood, Superintendent of Schools, SD 71 Sheila Shanahan, Assistant Superintendent. Promising Practices in Engaging Teachers. Leading Change - The Challenge Lead Teachers / Diversity Support Teachers Professional Partnerships

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teacher engagement student engagement

Teacher Engagement  Student Engagement

Sherry Elwood, Superintendent of Schools, SD 71

Sheila Shanahan, Assistant Superintendent

promising practices in engaging teachers
Promising Practices in Engaging Teachers
  • Leading Change - The Challenge
  • Lead Teachers / Diversity Support Teachers
  • Professional Partnerships
  • Teacher Mentorship – District Funded
  • Teacher Initiated Collaboration
    • Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Collaboration Time
  • Staff Development
leading change the challenge

Leading Change – The Challenge

This past year, school leaders were challenged to move their schools in some capacity towards embracing 21st Century Learning.

lead teachers diversity support teachers

Lead Teachers / Diversity Support Teachers

Formal leadership in schools: sharing the knowledge

professional partnerships

Professional Partnerships

“Teams of practitioners working together with a focus on student achievement and instructional practices have the power to transform cultures and communities.”

what s expected
What’s expected?
  • Must develop from an Inquiry Question
  • Must be collaborative application – 2 or more in the project with some involvement from P or VP as well on team. (Some teams are large – 10 or 12)
  • Apply in September, approvals and funding in October from district to schools, complete projects to share by mid May
the showcase
The Showcase

Teams display their projects in a large gymnasium and those presenting and many others visit them at their projects on a rotational basis.

inquiry question samples secondary
Inquiry Question Samples - Secondary
  • Will online curriculum focused on independent learning and “metacognition” augment the educational experiences for district gifted students?
  • How would a multi-disciplinary school within a school delivering a “creativity curriculum” affect student attendance, engagement, learning and creativity?

How can Art teachers effectively utilize technology in the Art classroom to enhance teacher instruction and student learning?

  • How will a concentration on team building within our behavior programs affect student retention, successful transitions and re-engagement?

More ….

How can a team of Secondary English teachers, willing to try using online social learning communities and inquiry – based digital projects in their classes, increase opportunities for all levels of students to showcase their best writing and increase teacher awareness and use of 21st century learning approaches?

more student services cross district project
More… Student Services- cross district project

How will a concentration on team building within our behavior programs affect student retention, successful transitions and re-engagement?


More Inquiry Question Samples - Secondary

Through formative assessment can students effectively identify their areas of strength and weakness and establish a plan for improvement?

  • Will using backwards design for unit planning help increase student engagement and motivation at the senior secondary level?
  • Will the provision of teacher time to support the further development of our EA competencies in senior Math and Science increase EA confidence and assist students with whom they work?
  • Will the use of MP3 players increase students’ independence in English classes?
inquiry question samples elementary
Inquiry Question Samples - Elementary

Will Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles combined with computers and digital media have a positive impact on student learning, specifically tasks like analysis, problem solving and synthesis of ideas?

  • Will encouraging and supporting all learners to use Assessment for Learning and the Performance Standards improve student and teacher learning?
  • Will the mentorship process increase teachers’ use of personalized learning tools and skills in their classrooms?
  • How do students benefit from the range and diversity possible in multi-age classrooms?
  • Will more frequent physical activity (with the aim of 45 – 15) impact students’ engagement in their learning?
more inquiry question samples elementary
More Inquiry Question Samples - Elementary
  • Will collaborative team-teaching and flexible groupings, based on the use of formative assessment and targeted lessons, improve student performance and engagement, as measured by the performance standards in the number



teacher mentorship

Teacher Mentorship

Identify a team of mentors across grades and schools

Let them work with another teacher on a project of the teacher’s choosing

Share with others via the website and more

Grassroots change


Martin Hartig, teacher, has been working to integrate 21st century skills with his grade five-six class by having them use Audacity, a free audio recording and mixing tool, to create audio projects. (e.g. public service announcements)Although Mr. Hartig is hooking the students with technology tools, he is also weaving powerful 21st century learning skills into the project. Students are developing deep, critical questions about the environment, and are engaged in social learning techniques that have them not only cooperating, but collaborating to “figure things out” together.

What happened next? A neighbouring teacher became interested and the students in one class mentored their peers in another.


Julia McCoid is a learning assistance teacher and Al Johnson, vice principal and teacher, share the teaching of a very dynamic and energetic grade 5 class and the team uses the power of social learning to engage all students and deepen learning experiences.

This teaching team chose to use the school district’s Google Apps service to help students work collaboratively and create learning scenarios that provide more relevance to real-world skills. In attempting to generate more interest in a subject matter that can be quite dry, such as the reasons for the formation of British Columbia, Mrs. McCoid chose to have students collaborate on their research, using shared online documents, where students add to each other’s knowledge in an organic and dynamic manner. The students would publish to an online wiki.

google docs
Google Docs
  • Heather Corman, a secondary teacher, wanted to deepen her English 12 students’ abilities to write essays that synthesize two pieces of literature as part of their review for the looming English 12 provincial examination.

Her attendance at a teacher led workshop

inspired her to ask for more in class mentorship in having students use Google docs successfully in her classroom.

She was very pleased with the results.

  • For Jill Clayton, blogging gives her the opportunity to teach connection, writing, and technical skills in a way that her students find engaging. It has been a steep learning curve for the teacher as well as her students, but they are not cutting corners. The students learn about Internet safety and blogging etiquette before they take the big step of creating their own blogs.

Several of our teacher mentors in different schools have led the way in modeling the use of blogging as an effective way for students to become competent as collaborators, thinkers, writers and publishers.

teacher initiated collaboration

Teacher Initiated Collaboration

“Grow what you know.”

interdisciplinary studies physics engineering
Interdisciplinary StudiesPhysics/Engineering

Two teachers collaborated and developed an interdisciplinary studies approach to Physics 11 and an Engineering 11 class offered in concurrent blocks of the timetable.

The two mesh theory with practical study to enhance relevance and deepen understanding in both disciplines.

interdisciplinary studies csi english
Interdisciplinary StudiesCSI English
  • Two teachers, one of English 11 and the other in Chemistry 11, have requested time for an 8 credit CSI English course in the upcoming year.
  • This year, the teachers developed unit plans and ensured the timetable and course requests were ready for implementation in the fall.
collaboration time
Collaboration Time
  • Running and Reading
  • X Block
  • Modified week’s schedule
  • At several elementary schools and one of our secondary schools, the staff have sought and gained community support to alter their weekly or bi weekly schedules to provide formal time for teacher collaboration.
staff development

Staff Development

Nurturing the ideas

in service pro d
In-service / Pro D
  • In-service / Pro D
    • Board meetings – teachers share monthly
    • Management Team (Playbook Project) and other leadership initiatives ongoing
    • Staff meetings
    • NPBS and ILC
    • After School Workshops (e.g. Google Docs)
    • Supper Presentations
    • Non instructional days
    • Joint Pro D Committee
    • Focus Group – Staff Development for 2011-2012
    • Survey of all employees forthcoming from this focus group
  • District Wide Kick Off September 1
  • ILC Proposal for 2011-12




Island events this year

Contact us: Sherry.Elwood@sd71.bc.ca