Golden Hills School Division releases Annual Education Results Report and Education Plan

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The Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) has recently released their Annual Education Results Report for the 2017/2018 school year and their Three Year Education Plan for 2018-2021.

The AERR is published annually and is dedicated to improving their services for the 900 people employed by GHSD and the 7000 students from K-12 who attend their schools.

In the report, GHSD outlines five goals they have set for themselves and details their strategies within these areas as well as their results for the year and targets for the next three years to come. The GHSD six person Board of Trustees states: “We want every one of our schools to be the first choice for parents and students in their communities. Our staff has worked hard to provide innovative, caring and creative learning environments across all of our schools. We are proud of the work and we are also very proud of our hard working and dedicated schools.”

The first goal is that “Every Student is Successful” which shows that overall learning achievement in the Provincial Achievement Test scores and Diploma Examination scores could use improvement. The High School Completion Rate was higher than last year’s result, and the Drop Out Rate was low, receiving an Excellent score.

GHSD’s strategies for student success include using “Powerful Learning” which is “the design and implementation of purposeful and impactful learning experiences that foster deep student understanding of curriculum outcomes and competencies designed to prepare students for future challenges,” fostering and maintaining strong partnerships with organizations such as Regional Collaborative Service Delivery, Alberta Health Services, Child and Family Services and school health partners, remaining “with the times” in terms of teaching technique and technology, and being strategic in student achievement.

The second goal is that “First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are successful.” PAT and Diploma results for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students was well below where they would like them, at 54.1% of a 75% target for PATs and 67.1% of an 85% target for Diplomas and is as such an area of concern. However, the High School Completion Rate for these students was marked as acceptable overall at 63.5% of a 60% target.

The GHSD seeks to provide academic supports and cultural opportunities for these students through a fostered relationship with the Siksika Board of Education and through increasing teachers’ and leaders’ awareness and knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture.

The third goal that the GHSD has set is that “our schools support diversity and inclusion” by providing a safe space “where our students feel secure, supported, welcomed and hopeful.” The target in this area was that 93% of teachers, parents, and students would agree that the school is a safe place, and 90.6% answered this way. The evaluation in this area was therefore marked as Excellent.

The fourth goal was to “have quality leadership across our district and in our classrooms.” A large component in this area was to maintain small class sizes, and the GHSD “exceeded provincial expectations for class targets” for grades 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12 and was only 1.6 students above the Alberta target in grades K-3.

In evaluating the percentage of “teachers, parents and students satisfied with the opportunity for students to receive a broad program of studies including fine arts, career, technology, and health and physical education” GHSD was at 79% of their 87% target.

The fifth and final goal is “Golden Hills is governed effectively.” Teachers, parents, and students answered that 83% felt that their schools “have improved or stayed the same in the past three years,” 81.6% were “satisfied with parental involvement in decisions about their child’s education,” and 92.0% “are satisfied with the overall quality of basic education.” The overall Alberta percentage was 90.0% in satisfaction of basic education, putting the GHSD above the average in this area.

In the area of Budget and Financial Information, 84% of the division’s revenue in the past year came from the Provincial Government, and for the 2018/19 year most of the expenditures in its $88 Million budget is allocated to instruction, at 72%.

In the past year, the GHSD has completed the George Freeman School, a K-9 school in Strathmore which was opened in September 2018 and is integrated with the Strathmore Motors Sportsplex. As well, the “state-of-the-art” Wheatland Crossing School was opened in May 2017 and serves the communities of Hussar, Gleichen, and Rockyford.

Looking ahead, there are two priority Facility needs in the GHSD. The first is a modernization of Acme School which includes “a learning commons, Career and Technology Studies areas, handicapped access for students and community members to an appropriately sized gym, front entry upgrades to ensure student safety and security, and gathering areas appropriate for students” as well as spaces “to support innovative partnerships with local businesses and career learning opportunities for Acme students.” The second is the Westmount Elementary School, which requires maintenance of $4.2 Million over the next five years.

To read the full Annual Education Results Report and Three Year Education Plan, visit the GHSD website under “Publications.”