Minutes for November 29, 2011 lunch meeting. Present: David George, Andrea Valois, Erin Gibson, Barb Dickson, Krista Levely, John Connolly, Susan Little, Bob Spree, Tina Arthofer, Carm Iachelli, Nora Baboudjian, Adriana Potichnyj, Delora Skelton, Pam Linton, Erin Newton, Wendy Melnick

Recap on the positive experiences around the Grade 8 night November 24th where various displays showcased the Department.
Pam created a small committee to take on a holiday hamper for our needy students here at Westdale, organized by the Family Studies Department - Tina, Krista, Nora

Recaps the activities from PD day.
Skill development and assessment must be consistent across courses, not the assignments.
Expectations being met are consistent - the vehicle is different as all classes have different needs.
The activity doesn't need to be addressed, but the skills/expectations.
Wendy suggests that all teachers teaching the same course have regular course meetings to discuss/set the expectations or skills that will be addressed by the classes (course meetings are a staple of the dept as established by Susan Little years ago) and collaborate on the assessments and rubrics. The English Wiki was established last year to create collaboration, transparency for the department. There are pages for each course taught in our department. She also stated that the expectations can be met through a variety of assignment choices that can be made available to students to address DI and individual student needs.
Literacy assignments offered by Krista for preparation for the Literacy test. The templates can be shared with entire school to ensure that all teachers help prepare for this test.

Carm brings up the idea that parents will question the fact that each class does not give the same assignments across each course. If the skills/expectations are clear and the teachers in that course group are clear about what a level 1 - 4 looks like - there would be no It is the assessment practice that needs to be consistent. Support form Admin needs to support this endeavour. Consistency means teachers understand what the skills look like as demonstrated from each student.
The continuum from each year must be related to skills/expectation and assessment - not the activities.
Delora talks about the need to teach the 5 paragraph essay from grade 9 and focus on the essay from year to year. Adriana makes the argument that the emphasis is on the skill - not the assignment "developing and organizing content". What Delora does with her class does not have to dictate what Krista does in her class.

What conclusions can be drawn from the lists of activities for each grade?
We need to revisit the Key Skills - maybe not call it "key learning" and what are the many different ways to get there and have a rubric that is consistent across the board.