I teach the Grade 9 applied, and it’s also a split class, and it’s split with the locally developed. And so I have 29 students: 26 are in the applied and 3 are in the locally developed. And I’m lucky enough to have my classroom set up directly next to the library. There’s actually a hallway that connects the two, so that students can go back and forth between the classroom and the library if they need extra support. In the library we have our Student Success teacher; we have the teacher-librarian, who is there full-time; and we have a Grade 12 peer tutor, who will support the students whenever they need help. Usually our locally developed students will go directly into the library and work with the Grade 12 peer tutor and then come back and forth when they need support. And so the way that we use that model, as students are working in class, when we start to work on practice problems, they’ll go into the library; they’ll split up; sometimes we’ll have individual students going in there, or we’ll have students working in pairs, and they’ll work either with an adult, or they’ll work with the peer tutor to answer their questions together.
So, last year the classrooms were not connected, and over the summer, through some discussion with our vice-principal and our principal, we decided that it would be a priority to make sure that our 9 applied math class is taught in a classroom that has easy access to the library. So we actually had the contractors come in and create a door between the two classrooms to make that movement really easy. And so it becomes one less barrier to have. We used to teach the class across the school, and we ended up moving it purposefully, so we could support our students better.
On occasion, about three times a week, our EA will also come in and support our students inside the classroom. So as we’re doing problems, or as we’re doing a lesson, the EA helps to keep the students focused, so they’re not getting lost. Everyone is supported constantly, and classroom time is supported full-time, so students are working all the time.
We had a collaborative inquiry that started first semester, and it included our second-semester students, and we discussed what those students will need for support coming into second semester, and we talked about how that Grade 9 math class is a huge priority. So whenever students needed support—for example, we have some students that need a scribe—our Student Success teacher has made herself available for that class to scribe whenever there is a test or quiz or an assignment that needs to be handed in. And our teacher-librarian is 100% available for those students that need support. So she will work with the 9 applied students as well as the locally developed students as they’re working on their assignments and their questions. And that is a priority of our school in general, so it is a priority for those teachers.
Having extra support from fellow educators is really helpful, because I know that if students are struggling and I’m working with the class, I can send those students to the library, and then they can work with those adults, and they can receive the support that they need at school.
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