School Action Plan


About Us
North Otter Elementary is a rural K-7 school, located in Aldergrove, B.C., serving 385 students and families. Amongst the diverse learners in our school, 35 students (9%) are indigenous, 44 students (11%) are identified with diverse abilities and are supported with an IEP, and 11 students (3%) are ELL learners. Our school includes a preschool and a day care on-site.  We also have a robust breakfast/lunch program that is co-ordinated through our school’s PAC.


North Otter Elementary has an active and caring parent network, who support the community through volunteering in the classroom, hosting school-wide events, providing monthly Hot Lunches, and fundraising for school-wide initiatives. Parents and community volunteers are always welcomed additions in our building.


North Otter’s teaching and support staff are active participants in professional development and have a history of hosting student teachers and SEA practicum students. Each year, North Otter houses anywhere from 8-10 teacher and SEA candidates.


North Otter strives to create a safe and respectful community, where all students learn, belong, and are empowered to reach their full potential.



History of Goals
For the past 5 years, North Otter has set goals around reading and writing, using various strategies to target literacy. From 2017-2020, that focus was around self-regulation and social-emotional learning to increase reading skills. Last year, our focus turned to small-group literacy instruction to improve student achievement in reading and writing.

As we move forward, we are also guided by our District Strategic Plan which guides the work we do at the school level. The District Plan includes the following two goals for student learning and growth.

–       Students will be reading at grade level or to their IEP goals (80% of students by the end of Grade 3)

–       To support school-based models to create improved learning conditions for students


2022-2023 Target
North Otter will increase the percent of students reading at grade level in each grade by strengthening…

1.     School-wide, self-regulation and social-emotional programming

2.     Data-informed, small-group reading instruction

3.     Early identification and intervention for struggling learners




The Team
Classroom Teachers – One of the greatest strengths at North Otter is the level of expertise and staff commitment to professional development that is embedded into the school culture. Staff joining our team are amazed, time and time again, that collaboration is a way of being, not a lofty ideal. This commitment to a professional learning community undergirds the educational programming at North Otter. In addition, collaboration times are provided for staff to connect with grade team members and experts around the building. Our grade level teams participate each term in a RTI process to collaboratively place students in tiers in the area of literacy and SEL, and together plan for supports for all learners. Collectively, staff set directions to support all learners in their grade, in creative ways.
Resource – Our resource team comprised of resource teachers, SEAs and the YCW, meet every second week to collaborate around student needs, strategies and support. They share strategies for supporting students, learn together and deepen our culture of “every child can”. Our music specialist and our TL collaborate to develop projects that support all of our students in areas of our action plan for learning. They are embracing the APFL in ways that are creative and focused on ALL learners.
Vulnerable Support Team – Our Vulnerable Student Support Team meets periodically to provide unique attention to our students who are lacking physical, financial, emotional, social, or role modelling resources. A variety of voices come together on this team: Classroom Teacher, Aboriginal Support Worker, Youth and Childcare Worker, Principal, and Special Education Assistant. A solution-based team, responses range from reaching out to community agencies, organizing mentorship opportunities, connecting with financial support, and classroom instruction.
School-Based Team – Our School-Based Team meets every two weeks to support learners and follow up on student learning needs. This multi-disciplinary team supports learners through the promotion of Universal Design for Learning, behaviour support practices and plans, accessing student screening and testing to gather more information, connecting with outside agencies, gathering data for our school and students, developing intervention plans, and promoting social-emotional learning with well-being
Aboriginal Support Worker – Our Aboriginal Support Worker engages with students through the teaching of indigenous perspectives and culture. In her short time at North Otter, Ms. Hiebert has worked to establish positive, supportive relationships with staff and students. She works in concert with our staff, students and Aboriginal department to bring cultural and learning experiences to the community which will help in building understanding and connections. She collaborates with individual classroom teachers, along with SBT and VSST, to address the needs of students and support cultural learning for all learners.
District Support Team – District support comes from our colleagues and team at the school board office: district principals, integration support teachers and instructional services teachers are important members of our wider team. The team is outstanding and requests for help, such as a video to support our parents in accessing their report card, is heard and addressed.




Goal #1 – School-wide, self-regulation and social-emotional programming
In the 2018-2019 school year, North Otter implemented a school goal around self-regulation. While self-regulation may not be at the top of the trait list for proficient readers, research has found that students who are better able to control their behavior pick up on early literacy skills more quickly than those who enter school with weak socio-emotional skills. Conversely, negative emotions have been found to affect processing speed, working memory, concentration, self-monitoring, and attention, all of which are cognitive skills connected to reading success.

Students who experience reading difficulty often have less frustration tolerance, increased anxiety, and lower self-esteem. Older remedial readers are particularly at risk for experiencing these negative emotions during reading, due to the discouragement and even embarrassment that can result from slow progress. This creates an unfortunate cycle, since negative emotions about reading can affect performance, just as negative performance on reading tasks can affect emotions about reading.

With this in mind, North Otter is committed to school-wide programming to strengthen self-regulation for students including the following…

–       “Ready to Learn Scale” – Five-point scale to help students self-monitor levels of noise

–       MindUP Program aimed to help students manage stress and build resiliency

–       Kelso’s Choice – Program aimed to help students manage conflict and build independence


In addition, North Otter is composing a school-wide approach to character develop by creating, implementing, and instructing the following.


1.     Identifying School Values (Otter Traits)

2.     Defining Behavioural Expectation (code of conduct/behaviour matrix)

3.     Behavioural Expectations Taught (student input, modelling, role-playing)

4.     Reward System (acknowledging positive behaviour)

5.     Continuum of Consequences (Guide to discipline)

6.     Collection of Data (Behaviour referrals)

7.     Analyzing Data (Access to school-wide data for those supporting the student)




Goal #2 – Strengthen small-group reading instruction
In the 2021/2022 school year, North Otter focussed professional development towards improving small-group instruction. Depending on the grade level, classroom teachers used the one or more of the following literacy programs

–       Word Works Daily

–       Words Their Way

–       Levelled Literacy Intervention

–       Use of decodables in early primary

–       Heggerty Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

–       The Next Steps in Guided Reading

–       Literature Circles


This work will continue this year in the following ways.


Colleague-led Professional Development – Staff will be provided professional development within bi-weekly staff meetings, as well as Professional Development days.


Peer Coaching and Teacher Support – Our collaboration time is often spent by having a support teacher in the room during Literacy Lineup. This allows teachers to see what is happening in previous/future grades and to create a consistent routine that exists throughout the school.


Staff Resource Library – Staff is provided resources in the library to sign out and incorporate into their practice.


Primary Resources

–       The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading (Jan Richardson)

–       Decodables (various publishers)

–       Reading Power (Adrienne Gear)

–       Heggerty Phonological and Phonemic Awareness (Michael Heggerty)




Goal #3 – Early identification and intervention for struggling learners
North Otter Elementary is committed to tracking student progress for the purpose of timely interventions. Data is collected in the following ways.


–       School-wide reading data by term in a spreadsheet

–       RTI pyramids completed at grade levels each term to see our needs and our progress

–       FSA data and other standardized tests for: increased stamina and literacy results

–       Tracking our students – each staff member will choose 1-3 barriered students to track over the course of the year through qualitative and quantitative data.



Staff will have access to school-wide data that records 2-3 years of student reading data. Throughout the year staff will be instructed on how to filter data and use it to identify learners that may be struggling. Once struggling readers have been identified, classroom teachers will take the following steps.


1.     Meet with administration to discuss instructional approaches to address the gaps.

2.     Meet with grade level teaming teacher to discuss collaborative approaches to supporting students from both classrooms.

3.     Review with school-based team to determine additional supports that may be provided.



At school-based team, the following services may be provided


–       RTI review of current tier 1 approaches

–       SEA reading support using an appropriate reading or phonics program

–       Learning assistance provided by a reading specialist teacher

–       Level B testing to determine more significant learning challenges

–       Recommendation for psychological educational assessment by the school psychologist