Inclusive Learning Plan
Foothills School Division (FSD) serves the learning needs of approximately 8,200 students in junior kindergarten (pre-kindergarten) through grade 12, and employs more than 900 teachers and support staff who are focused on their common goal of “Improving Learning for ALL Students.” Located on the City of Calgary’s southern border. FSD offers a rich variety of innovative programs and services to meet the needs and interests of a broad spectrum of learners.
2013 was a significant year for Alberta’s Education System. Several major initiatives were introduced to provide proactive solutions to support higher enrollment of students and direct focus to evidence-based decision making. The Foothills School Division has always had a digital strategy in place and not afraid to pivot, so when it came time to revamp their Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) they looked for a flexible solution with secure access from anywhere. The primary users for the new system would be school-based teams as well as school-linked teams providing services to students who need it most. The challenges with other tools were:
- Microsoft Word – fear of formatting as the fields had preset character limits and boundaries that were extremely sensitive and could “break” the whole document. Also sharing between staff and teams was manually done and the saved document was locally stored on the school’s common drive which meant you had to be physically in the school building to work on them.
- SharePoint Form – this helped with multiple user access and accessibility online, however it was cumbersome and again had many limitations with regards to content and layout. This was frustrating when users wanted to provide additional details and simply couldn’t.
- Writable PDF – the department developed writable PDFs which some schools tried however, the document was enormous and hard to navigate. Again, this was stored on the school’s common drive.
Searching for solutions, Foothills discovered clevr, leader in cloud-based data collection for K12. Many Divisions within Alberta had already adopted the system and the integration with Maplewood SIS was well established. From a set-up perspective, Foothills identified 11 differentiated roles that would require unique permissions that would control read/write access for every user. Delegating user roles and permissions was incredibly easy since clevr could handle unlimited roles and aligned with existing division roles being managed within Maplewood. This significantly reduced the IT user account workload. The Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) initiative was launched in September 2014. Immediately, frontline staff such as Teachers, School Administrators, Learning Coaches, Educational Assistants, School Counsellors and other support staff started using the system and really appreciated how intuitive and tailored the system was based on their role. Learning Coaches who meet with parents to review goals and strategies could quickly pull up the ILP on any device, capture data in real-time and the system would auto-save as the user tabbed over to different sections. All changes within clevr are automatically recorded “who, what, when” to support full audit functionality.
The consistency across all schools and centralizing the data into one system has allowed Foothills School Division to build a comprehensive student profile that has replaced an entire file cabinet of paper documents. At any moment, anyone with appropriate access can view a snapshot of everything that has been done with a particular student, whether it’s past assessments, strategies, goals, medical needs or strengths which can be passed on to the next teacher so they can be better prepared and not reinvent the wheel. The work is not over yet – student services continue to evolve as new requirements and standards are introduced. Editor training has allowed key staff like Amber Kreis, Systems Analyst at central office to implement changes as required. In fact, she even started building Division forms from scratch including the new Behaviour Support Plan, Medical Plan and Counselling Tracking. Looking forward to the future, Foothills has planned to add a “Parent” role within the system that would enable parents to login and provide their perspective and comments directly within the Inclusive Learning Plan itself. Foothills School Division continues to innovate and iterate, improving on their process, and finding more ways to be efficient and delivering a responsive, meaningful, high-quality learning environment.