Ministry Evaluation and Things to Celebrate! - Blog - Kelowna Christian School
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Ministry Evaluation and Things to Celebrate!


Every six years, independent schools go through a ministry review. This review process is a deep dive into our curriculum and pedagogy (as well as files, policies, and certification) at Kelowna Christian School. As a previous public school teacher, this concept was foreign to me; the idea that someone from the Ministry of Education would come in and do a deep dive into your unit and lesson planning was unheard of. Yet, our teachers have been preparing for this review for the past year and a half ( realistically, since our last inspection).

In my role, I am responsible for reviewing all the teachers' unit plans and lessons. To give you some context into the work this is for teachers, teachers create a unit plan for every topic they teach in every subject. For example, Humanities teachers in K-9 could have as many as twelve unit plans, each unit plan ranging from 7-45 pages. The unit plans contain all the items from the ministry documents (and are checked for compliance), outline assessments, and lesson plans to meet the desired learning outcomes. I won't bore you with all the curricular jargon (but if you are interested, it is one of my favourite topics to share about). Still, teachers must include all ministry requirements, students' diverse learning styles and abilities, and Biblical worldviews in their plans.

Planning with our teachers and reviewing their unit plans reminded me again of the absolute gift we have in the educators at Kelowna Christian School. I was excited to show off all we had been doing in our classrooms to the Ministry Inspectors and anticipated the praise I knew our teachers would receive. I was incredibly confident that not only would they be blown away by the planning documents themselves, but if they were visiting the classrooms, they would be blessed with seeing these exceptional plans (and educators) in action.

On the first day of the review, I had the opportunity to share some of the things our staff had been working on in assessment and professional development with all three inspectors. I was then able to tour one of them around in both the Elementary and Middle Schools and loved watching their genuine surprise (and wonderful comments) at what they were witnessing in our classrooms. During the tour of the Elementary campus, the evaluator asked Mr. Martens and me if we had "set up" what was happening in the primary classrooms, as he couldn't believe the differentiation level in our literacy instruction. I proudly responded, "No, that's how we teach." Truthfully, our teachers have worked tirelessly for years to refine and create an exceptional differentiated station-based approach to literacy and numeracy (and I was thrilled he noticed).

Over the two days (and the week prior when they were reading unit plans), I was impressed at the attention to detail and the extensive conversations the evaluators had with our staff. They wanted to ensure that what was written down on paper was what the teachers were teaching and doing in their classrooms. Again, I was thrilled that these gifted educators would have a chance to see and hear from our teachers.

At the end of the two days, the evaluators brought everyone together (two campuses on Zoom) to share their recommendations and commendations. Our school was commended on many different curricular areas. We were commended for our planning (and the competency-based education and common planning documents), extensive work in standards-based assessment and the development of proficiency scales, excellent ADST program (from Elementary programming in the library to Middle School Exploration Opportunities and our Robotics and Engineering classes in the High School) and teachers professional development through the lens of professional growth plans and professional learning communities.

My prayer throughout this process was that the teachers would be recognized for their incredible planning and that we would show off all of the work we had been doing in so many areas. These two days with our Ministry guests provided that opportunity, and it was such a blessing to be commended for our educators' incredible work.

I would be remiss in not mentioning that the hard work went beyond our curriculum documents and classroom pedagogy. Our office (Kimberly, Jessica, Charlene, Mel and Laura), business (Connie, Rose and Don) and maintenance (Mark) staff were hard at work ensuring that all our records, policies and procedures were up to date. Wendy Martens and Mel Campbell worked tirelessly to ensure student files and documentation were completed to the highest standards and entered into a new system. Campus Leaders worked alongside their teachers to support, encourage and ensure their schools were ready to show off.

KCS is an incredible school filled with outstanding educators and people who love students and love Jesus. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, going above and beyond what would be expected if they worked in the public system. Every six years, we get to show off to the Ministry just how amazing they are and how innovative and exceptional our school's teaching and learning are. I am so grateful for the hard work and dedication that they put in every day and how hard they worked to ensure our school would not just be in compliance but be commended for the great work that is being done. If you get a chance, take some extra time to thank them; they deserve much praise. 

Kristi Cooper


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Thursday, 18 July 2024