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Measuring our Network

Dan McWilliam

The Calgary Science School is a node in a large network of incredible schools, educators, businesses, parents, students and other stakeholders. Collaboration is one of our 6 Charter Goals as accepted by the Alberta Government in July 2013 (our complete Charter Document is available here.)

Financial capital is an ongoing concern in education. The Calgary Science School has made an investment in social capital to grow and improve our program. As a node on a large network we have been hosting tours, visitors, volunteers, experts and students teachers. We began tracking these metrics over the 2012-2013 school year in order to celebrate what we had achieved, but also to set a benchmark for the following year. It also provides an opportunity to discuss the different kinds of collaboration and outreach we are participating in, and reflecting on how to deepen these relationships.

Social Capital Metrics

Tours In- Tours given to groups or individuals who wanted to visit the Calgary Science School on an operational school day.

Tours Out- Small groups of our teachers touring other schools in our network.

Preservice Teachers- University students enrolled in education faculties that have either toured our school as a part of their program, or students that we have hosted as student teachers.

Accessing Experts- Instances where experts are brought in to enhance and support student learning.

Parent Volunteerism in the school- Parents record their hours in our sign in/out book in the office. From this we can calculate the number of volunteer hours.

Parent Volunteerism for field studies- Parent volunteers attend our field study out trips and overnight trips. They continue to be a significant part of these experiences.

Connect! Blog Analytics- Visits, time on site, referrals and audience are tracked through Google Analytics.

ConnectED Conference- An annual conference held at the Calgary Science School in 2012 and 2013. Attendees visit the school and classrooms on an operational school day followed by a weekend of sessions facilitated by innovative and passionate educators.

Outreach Feedback Form- In addition to tracking the numbers of visitors to our school, we also send a  digital survey for them to complete afterwards.

All of the data collected is compiled in a database with dates, contact information and notes for future reference or comparison.

Future Metrics

Student engagement and student achievement are our core business. Everything done in the school should have some positive impact on our core business. In tracking our outreach we also want to generate discussion about how do these partnerships enhance student learning at Calgary Science School? Where should we be concentrating our outreach efforts in the coming school year?

In the coming school year, we will be revising the Outreach Feedback form in order to obtain more information about the visit and future opportunities to collaborate.

Interdisciplinary collaborations and cross grade collaborations have been mentioned as areas that we could strengthen. We may look to track and celebrate these on the blog or as a staff.

Extracurricular athletics and clubs are areas that haven't been included this year, though they are certainly ways in which we connect with other schools to build networks of like minded individuals based on respect and reciprocity.

1 comment:

Garry McKinnon said...

Dan, I like your use of the concept of social capital to describe and celebrate initiatives to promote collaboration within the school and beyond and to recognize the impact of the network of collaboration with our colleagues in education. Your measure of 822+ reflects an incredible year for the Calgary Science School in welcoming guests into the school to learn from and with the members of the school community. You demonstrate the efficacy of developing social capital through collaboration. You have articulated through your Research and Innovation project an excellent framework for continued exploration.

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