Southdale-North Woodside Celebrated as Metro's First Accredited School
Department of Education (to March 26, 2013)
February 26, 2008 10:59 AM
Southdale-North Woodside School has become the first school in metro to be awarded accreditation through the Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program.
The distinction caps five years of work by the Dartmouth elementary school to set higher standards, increase student achievement and improve the school's overall performance.
"I am proud of the staff, students and school advisory council members who put so much effort into meeting their goals," Education Minister Karen Casey said today, Feb. 26, at a ceremony honouring the school. "This school has successfully implemented a school-improvement strategy that is increasing student achievement."
Southdale-North Woodside was one of eight schools selected in 2002 to pilot the Nova Scotia Accreditation Program, a provincewide school-improvement process identified as a priority in Learning For Life II, the province's multi-year plan for education. There are now 229 schools working on school-accreditation plans.
"The Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program helps ensure that every one of our schools is continually improving, offering quality programs and ensuring that the academic needs of all students are being met."
Southdale focused its efforts on improving student achievement in mathematics and language arts, and enhancing overall school performance by establishing programs to improve the school learning environment. The school demonstrated progress in raising student achievement in mathematics and literacy, and establishing a more caring and safe learning environment for its 345 students.
"Teachers and our school advisory council have worked very hard to create goals, implement strategies and assess progress for continuing the cycle of improved student achievement," said principal Allan Gaskin. "Our school improvement plan has
helped us track real improvement in targeted areas in literacy and math. Before accreditation, it was much more difficult to track school-wide progress."
The school demonstrated to an external review team last June that it had successfully met its goal of increasing student achievement in language arts by 10 per cent. The school increased reading performance in seven of 10 areas assessed, including reading accuracy, which increased to 83 per cent of students meeting expectations in 2005-06 from 62 per cent five years ago. In mathematics, there are now more students reaching the highest levels of student achievement. Students showed particular improvement in geometry and use of mathematical language.
The school also met its goal of increasing parental involvement in education. The school launched a number events and activities -- including literacy and math nights -- to welcome and include parents in their children's education.
"Engaging parents in the learning of their sons and daughters is a huge support to their success in school," Mr. Gaskin said.
The Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program requires schools meet a standard of excellence based on goals that are specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-based and timely (SMART).
Under the program, schools establish internal review teams to collect and evaluate data to identify both strengths and areas needing improvement. Based on those areas needing improvement, schools develop goals and a five-year school-improvement plan.
The plan is examined by an external review team of independent educators and administrators who visit each school before approving it. Schools implement their improvement plan, and provide annual updates to school advisory councils. An accreditation team returns to the school after four years to assess progress. Schools receive accreditation after they show progress toward the goals in their improvement plans.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Southdale-North Woodside School has become the first school
in the Halifax Regional School Board to be awarded accreditation
through the Nova Scotia School Accreditation Program.
The distinction caps five years of work by the Dartmouth
elementary school to set higher standards, increase student
achievement and improve overall performance.
The Nova Scotia Accreditation Program ensures schools meet a
standard of excellence based on achieving goals that are
specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-based and
Media Contact: Peter McLaughlin
Department of Education