2021 - 2022 School Year:
In our opening year, our school community is very proud of all that has been accomplished this year to support students in the Lake Country community. As a team, we have worked diligently to build strong communities, cultivate curious learners, and ignite individual passions. Students are always at the centre of every decision we make!
This year we used the following inquiry question to guide our work.
"As a brand new school, how might we build a community of learners that will develop foundational skills and core competencies so that they can be empowered to follow their passions and strengths and thrive holistically as resilient and engaged global citizens?"
Scanning and Focusing:
In January 2022, our team of Currucular Leaders engaged in an Empahthy interview processess with students and families. Approximately one third of our student population particpated in the process and shared important information about Belonging, Connection, and Identity and Learning. This street data along with other map and satelitte data was used to triangulate "what is going on for our learners" to help us identify priorties to focus on.
Below are the three priorities that our school will focus on as we move forward with our inquiry question.
Spring 2021 - Prior to Opening:
Since the spring of 2021, we have had the opportunity to engage with our HMS school community through a number of events. This included individual information sessions for each of our Elementary feeder schools, a parent survey, five parent "Coffee and Connect" meetings (group sizes ranging between 18-47), weeklong school visits to the Elementary feeder schools (spending time with students and staff), and 150 empathy interviews with students entering grade 6 and 7 next year. We also held 6 transition meetings with classroom teachers, and many smaller ones with support staff. Additionally, parents came alongside us to explore "how we can increase parents confidence in engaging with the school community."
What we have learned:
Through these opportunities we have learned much about our school community, and some significant themes are starting to emerge.
- Our new learners and parents overwhelming shared that they want an inclusive learning community where everyone has a strong sense of belonging. They highlighted that they want to feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe. Students value a community that they are excited and happy to come to each and every day, and where they build trusting relationships with peers and staff.
- There was also a general theme that students like having choice in their learning, and the ability to pursue their interests/passions. They like having flexible workstations and the ability to work collaboratively and independently. Parents shared that they too want their students to pursue their passions and be challenged yet supported in their everyday learning experiences while ensuring they continue to develop their foundational skills.
- Many students had a difficult time answering the question what success looks like for them in terms of their learning. The question made many students pause, and the pause was often followed by good grades, praise from teachers or parents, or recognizing that something has become easier. Some students however, shared that success is building their confidence, trying new things and persevering, failing several times and learning through that process, and overcoming something that they never thought they could do.
- Our scans with parents and transition meetings with elementary school staff have underscored a need for mental health support. A number of our students are consistently accessing the school counselor, ARC support workers and trying to access other community supports.
- Families have appreciated the opportunities to connect with the school and want continued opportunities to connect informally with school staff and share positive experiences. When input is valued from all partners, and effort is made to ensure all perspectives are honoured, confidence is increased.
As a new school community, an initial emerging
focus will be on co-constructing our values and vision and building shared
understanding around what learning and success look like. This will provide us an opportunity to build
culture and create additional sub focus areas when our community (students,
parents, staff, etc) come together. The particulars are to be determined.
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING & TAKING ACTION
As we bring together our team and delve deeper
into the scanning data we currently have and the new data that we will have collected
we will be able determine what learning will help support our goal of changing
the all-day everyday experience for our children. At this point we recognize that we need to
begin creating a culture of learning that is inclusive, safe and centred around
OUR INITIAL HUNCHES
We will work together to build a culture:
- of learning for our community around the Principles of Learning
- of trust the ensures beliefs, values, attitudes, and practices align
- that engages families as partners in our learning community to ensure they are part of this transformation - from the very beginning
As we open up the new school September 7, 2021 and move into the school year, we will be able to share our checking strategies. We anticipate that this will include:
- Conducting further empathy interviews with all our school partners (students, families, staff, community members etc.)
- Examining student data such as engagement in clubs, after school activities, passion blocks etc.
- Triangulating classroom assessments, local assessments, and provincial assessments
- Collecting observations, and documenting conversations
- Developing and refining our own process around student learning stories