Springvale Elementary

Communication Plan

Our Mission Statement

Springvale will nurture and challenge learners to reach their full potential to be resourceful, self-assured individuals, with self-respect and respect for others and the skills, attitudes and desire to learn in a changing world, through maximal use of resources from our global community.


At Springvale Elementary School we believe that a child's success depends upon a collaborative approach to education. Students, teachers and parents/guardians can all work effectively together when they have a shared understanding of expectations and achievement. This plan outlines the means by which we will achieve improved communication between school and home.

Principles of Learning

We develop our education programs on the basis of a common set of understandings about how students learn. These understandings were developed by the Department of Education and are referred to as the Principles of Learning. The Principles of Learning state that:

  • students construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of their prior knowledge and experiences
  • learning is a process of actively constructing knowledge
  • learning is enhanced when it takes place in a social and collaborative environment;
  • students need to continue to view learning as an integrated whole;
  • learners must see themselves as capable and successful;
  • learners have different ways of knowing and representing knowledge;
  • reflection is an integral part of learning.

At Springvale Elementary School we work collectively and collaboratively to create learning environments based on these principles so that all students can achieve to the best of their abilities.

Curriculum Outcomes

There are two major goals of the Public School Program (PSP). The first is "to help all students develop to their full potential cognitively, affectively, physically, and socially" (p. A-4, PSP). The second goal of public school education is "to help all students acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for them to continue as thinking, learning, physically active, valued members of society" (p. A-4, PSP).

In order to achieve these goals, the Department of Education has identified six Essential Graduation Learnings (EGLs):

  • aesthetic expression;
  • citizenship;
  • communication;
  • personal development;
  • problem solving;
  • technological competency.

To be able to achieve the Essential Graduation Learnings, the Public School Curriculum identifies outcomes for each curriculum area. The General Curriculum Outcomes (GCOs) state what students are expected to know upon the completion of a study in a particular curriculum area. The GCOs are broken down into more specific statements of what children will be able to do by the end of Grades 3, 6, 9 and 12. These are referred to as the Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes (KSCOs). Finally, the Specific Curriculum Outcomes (SCOs) state what children will know and do at the end of each grade level.

There are a number of ways parents/guardians can become more informed about the prescribed learning outcomes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • attending information sessions at the school, such as curriculum night and parent in-servicing nights;
  • accessing the Department of Education website for curriculum documents (http://www.ednet.ns.ca/ or http://camet-camef.ca/);
  • attending open houses;
  • observing your child's school work;
  • volunteering in the school;
  • reading the curriculum information the school provides;
  • requesting meetings with the teacher or administration to ask questions about curriculum;
  • monitoring homework;
  • make every opportunity to attend parent-teacher conferences.

​Assessing and Evaluating Student Learning

In order to provide all children with ample and fair opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the expected learning outcomes, teachers use a variety of different assessment methods. Because children learn in different ways, referred to as learning styles, and demonstrate their learning in different ways, teachers use a range of methods realizing that any one method suits some students more than others. In addition, gathering information on student learning from several different types of tasks ensures that the teacher has a full and accurate picture of what a child knows and can do. Comprehensive assessment enables not only clear communication with students and parents/guardians, but also allows the teacher to plan more effective instruction for individuals and groups of children.

To continue to work to ensure fair and balanced assessment that reflects the diversity of our learners, teachers at Springvale use a variety of assessment methods. These may include:

  • Work Samples- collected and dated daily assignments;
  • Journals- informal, personal writing shared among students and teachers;
  • Informal Observations/Anecdotal Records/Checklists- specific methods that support continuous gathering of information on student learning
  • School / Class Based Assessments- a time limited oral or written response to prepared questions on a specific concept or a topic, or a demonstration of the understanding of a concept or skill;
  • Peer Evaluation- students assessing the learning of their peers, using clear guidelines such as rubrics (a specific set of criteria that the class creates for a specific activity or piece of work) against which their work will be assessed;
  • Self-Evaluation- students assessing their own learning and setting goals using clear guidelines, such as rubrics;
  • Projects/Presentations- formal assignments extending over a period of time demonstrating an understanding of a concept or topic;
  • Special Events/Performances- public speaking, concerts, plays, skits, showcase assemblies, Readers' Theatre, puppet shows, singing and dance, instrumental music, role playing;
  • Standardized Tests- students participate in HRSB and Department of Education testing at a variety of grade levels in literacy and mathematics;
  • Surveys- are conducted by the HRSB in the fall of the year. Parents, Students and Teachers participate in the surveys. The information gathered is used to develop and support our school improvement plan.

Communicating Student Learning

At Springvale School we recognize there are many ways to communicate student learning. To communicate student learning, we may utilize the following:

  • Home Books- provide an opportunity for daily communication between student, parent/guardian and teacher;
  • Reading Logs- provide ongoing communication about literacy development;
  • Phone Calls- provide parents/guardian and teacher opportunities to share successes and concerns;
  • Projects- provide diverse opportunities for communicating understanding of curriculum;
  • Self-Evaluation- provides communication about the student's perception and ownership of their learning;
  • Peer Evaluation- provides opportunities for students to communicate with one another;
  • Curriculum Night- provides parents/guardians with an overview of the curriculum and expectations for student learning;
  • Parent Information Nights- provides parents/guardians with an opportunity to understand educational theory and practices (focusing on literacy and mathematics) and how these practices can be best used to support a child at home;
  • Family Nights- provides students with the opportunity to share their learning experience (focusing on literacy and mathematics) with their parents/guardians;
  • Open House- provides students with an opportunity to showcase their learning and their school to their parents/guardians, and community members;
  • Newsletters- provide ongoing communication about classroom and school events;
  • Web Page- provide on-line access to information about Springvale, its students, its programs and events.
  • Performances- provide opportunities for students to showcase a variety of talents, such as public speaking, drama, singing, dancing and instrumental music.

In addition to the ongoing communication of your child's progress, you can also expect to receive three written progress reports. The first reporting period will end in December, the second in March and the third at the end of June. Just as our curriculum planning and assessments are focused on the learning outcomes outlined in our provincial curriculum guides, these reports will provide information about your child's progress in meeting these outcomes.

There will be two parent – teacher conferencing periods, the first, in November, and the second, in April. It is important for parents to know that they are not limited to the scheduled conferencing times; all parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the teacher to discuss their child's progress at other times if they feel it is necessary.

Ongoing Communication

  • Home books
  • Newsletters
  • Phone Calls
  • Web Page
  • Home and School/SAC
  • Twitter Accounts  @SpringvaleElem

Children Requiring Additional Support

During the course of fair and balanced assessment, it may become obvious that a child is experiencing difficulty achieving the prescribed provincial learning outcomes. In this situation, the classroom teacher would inform the parents of her/his concerns and may make a referral to the Program Planning Team. This team works collaboratively with parents to coordinate the planning and development of individual programs, taking into account the needs and strengths of the child, as well as the specific difficulties that the child is encountering. The Program Planning Team consists of a school administrator, the resource teacher, and the child's classroom teacher. The Program Planning Team may also include any other teacher or specialist resource personnel, such as social worker, school psychologist, speech pathologist or outside agencies, who may be able to assist in the development of a plan to support the child's learning.

As a result of team meetings, it may be decided that adaptations to the program are required which will make it possible for a child to achieve success within the stated outcomes. Adaptations might be made to the environment, resources, classroom organization, instructional and management strategies and motivational strategies. If a child continues to experience difficulty despite the adaptations, an Individual Program Plan (IPP) may be designed and implemented. The process for developing an IPP is defined by the Department of Education. An IPP changes the essential outcomes and/or creates new outcomes for the child. Essentially, an IPP involves creating annual and specific goals tailored to the needs of the learner. These annual and specific goals will often differ from the prescribed provincial learning outcomes. They are designed to ensure continuing student success and growth as a learner.

Parents play an important role in supporting their child as a learner and need to be involved in planning for their child's successful learning. If parents are concerned about their child's progress, they may make referrals to the Program Planning Team. Written consent from parents is required before any formal individual assessment is conducted.

Review of School Plan

The School Plan for Communicating Student Learning will be reviewed and amended as needed by the principal after consulting with staff and the School Advisory Council. This review will take place in conjunction with the annual updating of the School Improvement Plan. Our school plan is developed in relation to information received from assessment results, surveys and input from our Planning for Improvement Committee, Staff and SAC. On going professional development is provided to school staff to assist with planning for improvement.


Your continued involvement as parents/guardians in your child's academic endeavors will convey to your child and his/her teachers your commitment to, and support of, the school and your child's learning. The staff of Springvale Elementary School value and support each learner through careful planning and effective communication. We all share with parents/guardians a concern for the well being of children. We acknowledge that the process of change is often a stressful one and requires us to continually examine our practices and beliefs. We ask for your support as we embark on this journey of discovery. During the year 2014-15, we will continue to ask parents to provide feedback on student learning and the communication plan.