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Handsworth Secondary

Vision to Goal Setting

What is our Vision for Learning?

a. Students and staff both benefit from a sense of belonging within the school community.

b. Strong personal connections enhance learning.

Students who are engaged in their learning are less likely to struggle academically and emotionally.

Learning happens best when students are socially and emotionally well.

Learning is having a growth mindset and seeing opportunities in challenges.

Goal-Setting Process

Informed by the North Vancouver School District’s priority areas to enhance student learning and guided by Handsworth’s unique context (outlined above), our stakeholders contributed to the development of 3 big ideas. Goals were set and an implementation plan was drafted to facilitate the meeting of these targets within an approximate period of 3 years. These goals are subject to adaptation/refinement based on changes to contextual factors that impact Handsworth’s school community.

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Planning & Implementation

What is our Action Plan?

First Peoples' Principles of Learning

Goal 1

a.To nurture students’ development of self-identity while cultivating their sense of belonging to a shared land and community.

b. To foster a learning environment that is relational, focusing on connectedness and reciprocal relationships (e.g., inclusivity and diverse perspectives).

Students and staff both benefit from a sense of belonging within the school community.

Strong personal connections enhance learning.

  • Incorporate diverse perspectives in curricular content.
  • Explicit mention and incorporation of FPPL in teaching.
  • Experiential learning opportunities where applicable.
  • Increase opportunities for pro-d re: incorporating inclusive practices in teaching.
  • Increase opportunities for collaboration re: incorporating inclusive practices in teaching.
  • Acknowledge and learn about knowledge systems that differ from the dominant culture.
  • Events spearheaded by student council, clubs, and classes.
  • Bringing to light/attention to events and celebrations.
  • Video announcements to build community and familiarize students with Handsworth peers/staff.
  • Teach mental health literacy across all grades. Define what is taught and in which classes at each grade level.
  • Advocate for ideal teaching/learning spaces to be part of the new school.
  • Student services helping to support self-advocacy.
  • club and assembly.
  • Continue developing Wellness week.
  • Promote student self-assessment of core competencies.
  • Wellness Cafe catch-ups for staff.
  • Spotlight on Staff
  • Explicit teaching of core competencies, specifically: communication skills; positive personal and cultural identity; personal awareness and responsibility; and social awareness and responsibility.
  • Exposure and promotion of trades.
  • Exposure and promotion of post-secondary institutions that are not universities (such as vocational schools).
  • Careers and volunteer opportunities involving community, e.g., care homes.
  • Implementing First Peoples’ Principles of Learning in non-curricular areas.
  • Providing students with the option to travel internationally to learn in a different context.

Goal 2

To develop a learning environment grounded in awareness of the impact that past and present experiences have on our mental health and well-being and the way these experiences affect our ability to learn, grow, and interact positively with others

Students who are engaged in their learning are less likely to struggle academically and emotionally.

Learning happens best when students are socially and emotionally well.

  • Teaching metacognition – cultivate student ability to identify strengths as learners.
  • Provide choice in student assessment (highlight what academics teachers are doing).
  • More opportunities for reflection under core competencies: creative thinking; critical and reflective thinking skills; personal and social responsibility; social awareness and responsibility.
  • Incorporate mental health curriculum in PHE classrooms.
  • Encourage Trauma-informed and holistic practices in classrooms.
  • Foster social connections and a positive classroom culture.
  • Facilitate  opportunities for students to share their experiences and perspectives.
  • Incorporate learning in the environment which is beyond the classroom.
  • Incorporate mindfulness techniques (e.g.deep breathing) into class routines
  • Teach mental health literacy across all grades
  • Continue to develop wellness week
  • Teach and model self management techniques, self awareness, social awareness and decision- making skills
  • club to lead more whole school activities
  • Survey students re: social emotional wellbeing.
  • Introduce and encourage all students to join a club, program, event, or participate in athletics.
  • Exposure of career paths that align with student interest and promote social agency.
  • Options and promotion of work and volunteer experience in areas of student interest.
  • Provide curricular and extracurricular offerings in various areas of student interest.
  • Survey students re: how often they were given opportunities for self-directed learning in class/clubs/other extra-curriculars.
  • Have specific subject departments bring in industry experts to discuss career paths.
  • Diversity of course offerings across all departments.

Goal 3

To build capacity to be adaptable, flexible, and able to face adversity in order to grow a resilient mindset.

Learning is having a growth mindset and seeing opportunities in challenges.

  • Encourage students to embrace challenges and view mistakes as opportunities to learn.
  • Provide opportunities for students to problem solve in groups or individually.
  • Provide opportunities for reflection on experiences, challenges and successes.
  • Encourage teamwork, cooperation and empathy among students.
  • Provide world-wide experiences.
  • Foster connections that provide a sense of belonging.
  • Encourage help- seeking behaviours.
  • Set achievable goals to work provide students with a sense of achievement. 
  • Create leadership opportunities for older students to be role models and mentors.
  • Establish strong supports and connections between peers for staff and students.
  • Encourage positive thinking patterns which are strength- based.
  • Provide opportunities for staff and students to get to know each other in a way that fosters understanding and collaboration.
  • Creation of volunteer opportunities within FOS.
  • Promotion of the TA program.
  • Promote and increase visibility of service/volunteering with seniors and children and service involving mentorship and care.
  • Provide opportunities for student feedback, accountability and ownership in their learning.
  • Work on creating strategies and processes for encouraging student accountability (e.g., what is a workable solution for re-writes. Only those who submit work on their due date ever get this chance; it is an earned opportunity versus a “given.”

  • Develop adaptability skills which allow students to be open to change and willing to adapt to new situations.

  • Seek out and value diverse perspectives and experiences .

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Monitor Evaluate & Adapt

What are our Indicators of Progress?

We monitor our goals and implementation strategies by gathering first-hand anecdotes, photographic documentation, survey results, feedback, and quantitative data from members of the Handsworth community including students, teachers, parents, and various stakeholders.

To measure progress among diverse student groups in an education system that is becoming increasingly personalized, diverse indicators of progress provide invaluable information.

Visible indicators allow us to monitor progress in different ways from quantitative data, at times offering a better view of when goals and implementation plans need adaptation and/or refinement.

“Teen Idols”- Over 100 Handsworth actors, dancers, singers, and techies united to explore: How do youth navigate truth in a complex social media-driven world? How do we resist the urge to make quick judgements without facts? How do we hold ourselves and others accountable for on-line interactions that impact people’s lives?
The Environmental Club weeding out ivy on community grounds - a display of students taking initiative to look after our natural surroundings.

Goal 1

a. To nurture students’ development of self-identity while cultivating their sense of belonging to a shared land and community.

b. To foster a learning environment that is relational, focusing on connectedness and reciprocal relationships (e.g., inclusivity and diverse perspectives).

  • Increased number of unit plans that incorporate diverse perspectives.
  • Student ability to name and reference FPPL.
  • Students can make connections across and within subject areas (see SACC evidence).
  • Increased number of experiential learning opportunities.
  • Increased number of events.
  • Student involvement in events.
  • Student/staff survey responses to video announcements.
  • Counselling dept. Reports of student belonging, wellness, and feeling connected.
  • Increased student participation in athletics teams.
  • Increased participation in Intramural Sports such as: soccer, volleyball, floor hockey, etc.
  • Increased staff team-building events.
  • Feedback from counsellors regarding status of mental health in our students.
  • Increased number of staff Wellness activities and increased participation.

  • Increased student ability to self-assess their communication and personal and social competencies (SACC).
  • Increased interest in trades, vocational school options (track numbers/responses) – careers/WEX for info.
  • Increased number of volunteers and volunteer opportunities within the community.
  • Increased student participation in clubs.
  • Increased number of and participation in staff lunch and learn sessions.

Goal 2

To develop a learning environment grounded in awareness of the impact that past and present experiences have on our mental health and well-being and the way these experiences affect our ability to learn, grow, and interact positively with others

  • Teacher testimony on students’ ability to self-assess accurately.
  • Student survey – ability to identify strengths as learners.
  • Number of student projects that incorporate student choice/interests.
  • Average number of reflections focusing on personal and social responsibility per course.
  • Number of curricular opportunities for students to connect to the community.
  • Increased number of project-based learning opportunities based on department.
  • Number of teachers who have tried an instructional practice new to them.
  • Documentation/featuring of student successes.
  • Number of instances tracking community initiatives.
  • Students feel confident articulating their thoughts, ideas and feelings (teacher survey).
  • Students are able to self-reflect on their social and personal responsibility.
  • Increased number of students who incorporated their own interests into classroom projects.
  • Tracking number of events related to community building.
  • Number of volunteer or work placements within the community.
  • Student can communicate where to find information on extracurricular opportunities.
  • Increased number of WEX opportunities (see data).
  • Increased number of students reporting on frequency of self-directed opportunities for learning in class/clubs/other extra-curriculars.
  • Increased number of industry experts to talk about career paths.

Goal 3

To build capacity to be adaptable, flexible, and able to face adversity in order to grow a resilient mindset.

  • Increased number of collaborations with feeder schools.
  • Increased number of collaborations between classes and grades.
  • Increased number of staff collaboration sessions that lead to collaboration between classes.
  • Anecdotal evidence from grade 8s on how welcoming it’s been for them.
  • Increased number of events accommodating grade 8s.
  • Visible interaction between older and younger grades.
  • Student reporting of more positive connections with teachers.
  • Increased awareness of staff participation in fundraising endeavours.
  • Increased participation in Royal Games.
  • Reported increase of younger students’ perception of older students as positive role models.
  • Increased levels of participation in clubs.

  • Increased number of volunteer opportunities within FOS.
  • Increased promotion of the TA program.
  • Increased number of volunteers in the community (particularly with seniors or young children).
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Communicating Progress

How do we Communicate our Progress?

Identity Masks, a collaboration between English: Composition and Visual Arts


 Handsworth’s theme for the 2023-2024 school year is Connectedness. In moving forward with some of our focus areas from last year, the school planning team worked on pairing our school goals into shorter value statements; ” We are Inclusive, We are Resilient, We Belong” and the work this year includes making our value statements more visible.

Handsworth was one of three sites across the district where staff connected on December 4th District Curriculum Implementation Day. The focus on Healthy Relationships with Technology,  Land and our self and others tied well into our school theme of “Connectedness” for this year.

Some of the work to move our goals forward this year included:

  • Gr 9 workshop on “Resiliency and working on failure”
  • Gr 8 Breakfast club and basketball sessions at lunch
  • PA messages on ways to be resilient
  • Continue to foster inclusivity in our Remembrance Day Assemblies
  • Student presentations at September School Based Pro-D by Social Justice 12 students on ” The Personhood Project: Challenging Sexism starts in Your Classroom” and  By the Pride Club on “Experiences and Ways to make classrooms more Inclusive for an LGBTQ2+ student”
  • Foster connectedness in Staff through pro- D activities, the coffee club, staff socials and friendly inter-district volleyball competition
  • Increased opportunities for staff to collaborate on the use of the new proficiency scale and communicating the new learning updates
  • Grades 8-12 Students’ Goal Setting and Student Conferencing in classes
  • Handsworth Pride Club had been granted a $10 000 USD grant and organized a Queer Prom to connect and create a sense of belonging for all queer youth
  • A buddy program for our diverse learners
  • The Theatre of Possibilities where our diverse learners were able to feel valued by performing for staff and students
  • First Responders Club presentations at school and district level for an understanding of the level of training and support they provide to the school community
  • Student Council implemented a change to include younger members on the exec to ensure growth in leadership skills
  • Teacher leaders led multiple sessions on the reporting order 

An annual reflection of the year left us believing while we had created opportunities to connect staff and students, the work was not yet done.  Our hope is that work on inclusive reporting this next year leads to discussions on how we assess so there is an entry point for all learners.


Handsworth’s theme for the year, “New Beginnings” found us working to bring a sense of belonging to our school community. Our approach began with examining “what we want to leave behind, what we want to keep and what we want to do more of” using an indigenous lens of “hands forward, hands back”.

We are grateful to Rose Green who at a District Curriculum Day shared this indigenous teaching of “hands forward, hands back” with us.  When we hold our left palm upward it is to symbolize reaching back to receive help from our Ancestors and those who have walked before us. We learn to use these teachings and our responsibility is to help those who come after us. We then extend our right palm downwards as a symbol giving help. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn, share and grow on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish people, specifically the Skwxwu’7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. 

The Handsworth school community has a strong history of student achievement, performance, service and growth. In continuing to shape our shared sense of belonging we have a collective, and individual, responsibility to continue listening and learning from our Indigenous communities. This includes understanding truth before reconciliation. We hope a focus on a new beginning will help support our school community settle into our first full year in our new modern state-of-the-art building. The shift back to in-person events brought a new excitement and opportunity to showcase our brand new learning spaces and rebrand ourselves while keeping our traditions alive. Some areas of focus include:

  • Communicating our stories to the greater school community
  • promoting our goals 
  • foster inclusivity in all that we do
  • highlight all sports equally

Our progress was communicated throughout the year via outlets such as social media, newsletters, PAC meetings, announcements, assemblies, and staff meetings. 


This year found us packing away decades of memories, history and tradition as we moved into a seismically safe and state-of-the-art, student-centred school that is designed to meet today’s standards for accessibility, sustainability, and modern learning. Almost every space in our new building provides an opportunity to bring the natural beauty of our surroundings into the school. Our new school consists of eight learning communities with spaces for our students and staff to collaborate.

Not only a move into a new building but 2 years of a global pandemic where our students and community had not fully experienced community-building events led us to examine “What do we value as a community?”. This year our intentionality has been to review and revive what we are doing that’s working and how we bring these values, traditions, and sense of belonging into our new building. Below are some findings which informed our goals :

  • Importance of who we are as Royals. Continuing to foster development of a stronger self/identity in our school community.
  • Revival of Handsworth Pride in Arts and Athletics program and community building events.
  • Targeted efforts by student council to encourage grade 8s to participate in clubs and events.
  • Transition of grade 7-8 : Revival of the grade 8 retreat for September 2022 to instil our Handsworth values, traditions and build a sense of belonging in our incoming grade 8s.
  • Continue to foster wellness in our staff and students. To approach situations with a trauma- informed lens. 


During a year where significant changes have altered Handsworth’s context, we gathered information from stakeholders early in the 2020-21 school year. This was in effort to identify shifting needs due the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaching completion of our new school. Here were our key findings, in summary, which informed the refinement of our goals:

  • Importance of inclusivity, diversity, and belonging (shared spaces inside and out of school, non-traditional programs/alternative learning) higher than ever;
  • foster development of stronger sense of self/identity and finding where it fits within the broader context of the community;
  • pride in Fine Arts programs and athletics but significant changes due to the pandemic created a loss of identity. Without these programs and the loss of pride, showcasing new/innovative practices within the academics and elective areas like ADST is especially important;
  • FOS communication, transition between grade 7-8, social skills, executive functioning, encouraging grade 9/10s to become leaders


As our staff and students work towards the goals highlighted in this document, we look back on feedback received from staff, parents, and students. In particular, results from past Employee Engagement Surveys alongside the OurSchool student surveys remind us of our school community’s needs. One of the notable findings of the student surveys is the high levels of anxiety caused directly or indirectly as a result of school.

Below are small steps that highlight our response to these findings:

Our Choices program created a wellness questionnaire for high school aged students. Questions were shared with Handsworth staff who could then tailor these to the needs of their classes. This questionnaire is a tool which can be used to better understand the temperature of classrooms from the students perspective. Questions range from “when do you feel you are being listened to?” to, “when do you feel it is OK to make a mistake, or show that you do not know something, or how to do something?” It may be a small gesture, but regular inquiry into student well-being (and small adjustments to acknowledge this) may provide them a platform for expression.

Handsworth’s Wellness Committee meets every week to discuss wellness initiatives for those involved in the school community. Most recently, they have been planning Wellness Week for the end of January. With involvement from counsellors, teachers and their classes, support staff, and Grad Council, a slate of events including presentations, workshops, introduction to Indigenous medicines, interactive exhibits, and wellness challenges will be on view.

The Social Justice 12 class at Handsworth is a place where students participate in project-based learning, tackling socially relevant issues that pertain to people their age. Project topics were sparked by a simple class brainstorm with the prompt, “what do students in school need?” In preparation for wellness week, students are planning dance workshops, interactive stations, art installations, and collaborative posters between Social Justice and Graphic Design classes. Some areas of focus include:

    • New Masculinities in Hip Hop Dance workshop: Hip Hop artists are embracing their emotions and re-writing the script for what it means to be masculine in popular culture
    • Slamming Diet Culture: Fostering body neutrality and self-expression. This workshop will help students recognize how we are affected by social media as well as the many ways that diet culture affects our daily lives. This will be displayed in the form of a dance and slam poetry performance
    • The “You Are Enough” Art Installation encourages students to think of their qualities and skills beyond grades and extra-curriculars. What are some of our overlooked qualities that we have the right to be proud of?

Our students are working towards contributing to their community by building a sense of urgency – recognizing everyone’s collective responsibility on the front of advocating for wellness. 

Making our learning visible

Goal 1

a. To nurture students’ development of self-identity while cultivating their sense of belonging to a shared land and community.

b. To foster a learning environment that is relational, focusing on connectedness and reciprocal relationships (e.g., inclusivity and diverse perspectives).


E-Sports Club participants
Robotics Club participants
Art Club participants
Celebrations of Diversity
  • Lunar New Year
  • Nowruz / Persian New Year
  • Pride Week
  • Orange Shirt Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Black History Month
  • Asian Heritage Month
  • Trans Awareness Day
  • National Indigenous People’s Day
  • National Indigenous History Month
  • Christmas theme days
School and Community Partner events

… increasing awareness of causes, social justice initiatives, and cultural events.

Athletics Teams
Estimated Participants


 Creating community and belonging for queer youth

In Spring of 2023, Maya Mount and the Handsworth Pride Club applied to and received a grant of  $10,000 USD from “It Get’s Better” to organize a Queer Prom. The club is dedicated to social justice and inclusion and have created partnerships with North Shore Restorative Justice and Project LETS (a disability rights organization) to make sure the event is accessible to all queer youth and allies on the North Shore.

Along with the monumental task of organizing the Prom, Maya and the club members have organized a series of monthly themed events for youth to get to know each other before the prom. 

In June 2023, The club organized a full week of lunch time activities during Pride week, ending in a block party and an official unveiling of the rainbow cross-walk.

Embracing Diverse Experiences and Bringing Awareness to Anti-Asian Racism

May 20th is the inaugural Asian Gold Ribbon day to celebrate Asian heritage and to support one another against racism. On May 18th, 2023, 15 Handsworth classes made time to learn about anti- Asian racism. 23 Handsworth students from grades 8-12 volunteered to visit these classes to raise awareness and to educate students. Many Handsworth students choose to wear a gold ribbon to show their solidarity with the Asian community and to represent hope and unity. Aria Duggan, now a Grade 12 student has shown initiative in bringing forth this campaign at Handsworth for the past 3 years.

This campaign is relevant to Handsworth because of the diverse school community. It applies to parents, teachers, and students. Even if it is not always noticed, racism can happen at school. On Asian Gold Ribbon Day, there was a Youth Summit with seven panelists from ages 16 to 21, including myself, who spoke about their experiences with racism and calls to action. The goal of the campaign is to start a conversation with this generation and bring awareness instead of being silent. It is important to unite, respect everyone, and call out racism if it is seen.

– Aria Duggan, Asian Gold Ribbon Youth Ambassador, BC

Grade 8 Retreat

Our Grade 8 Retreat is an  opportunity for our grade 8 students to find their sense of place, and to make connections with peers and staff.

Indigenous Support

Connecting through Athletics

Participation in athletics at Handsworth is a source of pride for many students, whether as an athlete or a supporter in the stands.

With over 40 teams, the student demand for sports to be part of their high school experience is high. This is supported by data from the student surveys between 2017 and 2019, which show that Handsworth students have a higher rate of participation in athletics relative to the the Canadian average.

Our students also connect with the community. The Buchanan Bowl, alumni games or basketball against the RCMP are some examples. 

Handsworth School

We are a staff which shares, grows and connects together.

Handsworth has a staff of nearly 130. Not only do we collaborate over sharing instructional practices, we also love to connect over a game of pickleball, inter-district volleyball, a game of bowling, at morning coffee, and organized events with community members such as our RCMP partners or Grads. Our latest initiative, staff spotlight features a staff member and something about their life journey. Our pro-D planning includes team building sessions and opportunities for professional development. While our staff meeting are an opportunity to share instructional practices and stories of growth.

Handsworth cultivates greater community connections everyday through the work staff and students do in clubs, extra-curricular activities and even in classrooms, bringing community members and outside organizations into the learning environment. We have a number of clubs who host community days. Our band concerts and our theatre program are exceptional at cultivating community leadership.

Community Connections

Connecting through Clubs and School Wide Events

Involvement in Handsworth’s clubs and extracurricular activities allows students to feel more connected to and a part of our school community. Becoming more involved in school clubs encourages students to broaden their social horizon to people that they potentially may have never been friends with otherwise. Handsworth should be a place where students are able to feel that they belong. Our clubs are a way for students to find that place of belonging.

This year we offered a diverse range of clubs numbering over 33 at Handsworth, including; Pride club, Creative writing and slam club, First Responders, Robotics club, and Coding club. Especially for Grade 7 students transitioning to high school, finding something that you can be a part of and getting involved in is an amazing way to make the high school transition as smooth as possible. Student wellness is something that we really value at Handsworth and the support that comes along with a club, team, or other extracurricular group goes a long way in improving student well-being and building a healthy school community.

Goal 2

To develop a learning environment grounded in awareness of the impact that past and present experiences have on our mental health and well-being and the way these experiences affect our ability to learn, grow, and interact positively with others


Work Experience Employers
Additional online opportunities
Subject Departments
Advanced Placement Courses

Diverse course offerings, including AP, French Immersion, Indigenous Grad Courses and Young Entrepreneurship and Leadership Launchpad (YELL)

Reported Project-Based Units Completed

Providing students with opportunities to learn about topics and using their medium of choice.

The hope is to increase engagement, stretch/challenge student learning, and develop creative habits while allowing space for risk-taking.

Identity in the classroom

Students in Art explored identity and personality by producing work of cultural identity and stereotypes using different mediums.

Handsworth’s Studio Arts 2D 11/12 class created acrylic illustrations reflecting their identity as high school students. Inspired by the late Norman Rockwell and contemporary artist, Jordan Casteel, students aimed to capture various “truths” that may be interpreted differently depending on the viewers’ experiences within the school setting..

hummingbird animation

French 8 Animation Project

French 8 classes collaborated with Loig Morin, a French singer, songwriter and music producer to create an animation. Each student had a part in the animation while others wrote and sang a song. Students researched, wrote and read cultural information to tell how the Legend of the Hummingbird had been adapted and is part of many Indigenous cultures in North and South America, including the Haidas in BC, although the legend originated from the Quechua peoples of Peru. One of the main messages of the legend is about reciprocal relationships and doing one’s part to protect the earth. The project connected students to the  local Francophone community. A screening was held on June 15, 2022 to celebrate their creation, foster more of a connection to the new school building and to mingle with local Francophone community members. 

Origin Story Project- In French 9, students presented their stories as part of the  Origin Story project. Students explored their own identity by telling their own story. Learning to be respectful and reciprocal in sharing of ourselves and attentively listening to others. Students approached this by asking the permission of each storyteller before they shared their story and reciprocated by checking if they would like to know what was shared by the class after the story was told (this was created in alignment with the First Peoples Principles of Learning). The project included a reflection on our connection to the land on which we live, on how we can acknowledge and honour the territories of the Xʷməθkwəy̓əm Nation, Skwxwú7mesh Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation and how we connect and find our sense of place within the communities that surround and support us.

Francophone Expo 2023 –Francais Langue 11 classes presented their learning on  various Francophone countries at the Handsworth Francophone Exposition in May.

Modernizing the Curriculum

Project-Based Learning is being facilitated in both, academic and elective courses at Handsworth. Subject teachers of Comparative Cultures, English, Social Justice, Visual Arts, Aventures (Science, Social Studies, and PE).

In Science 10, students were provided a variety of topics related to DNA Technologies such as genetic engineering, gene therapy, GMOs, and designer babies. They were tasked to demonstrate their understanding of their chosen topic using their choice of media. Some options included:
    • Cartoon
    • Comic strip
    • Stop motion animation
    • Animated video
    • Film

Incorporating Indigenous Ways of learning

English 12 class engaging in Fireside Chats. The class is transformed into a circle with a fire lamp in the middle. Students are invited to share stories of real life experiences based on a prompt. Students pass an object like a pencil case and bear witness to each other’s stories, one at a time, going to the left, from the heart to others. The focus and purpose of Fire Side Chats is connection to the community, to the self, to the past and to the potential futures. They just happen to also showcase the English 12 competencies in “creating and communicating” at the same time.

Exposure to Real-World Experiences

Opportunities to exhibit artwork at major institutions do not come by easily, which is why Handsworth’s Visual and Media Arts students take advantage of an experience afforded to only established artists working in their area of expertise.

The experience of planning, creating, and showcasing artwork at the Vancouver Aquarium allows students to develop resiliency. They worked with strict deadlines to ensure not only that their work was ready to be exhibited, but at a standard fit to be seen by everyone who walks through the Aquarium.
Poster for the Breakwater Exhibition @VanAqua
Opening reception of the 2nd annual exhibition

Student Opportunities

Handsworth has a proud tradition of offering students a technologically progressive education facilitated by leading edge technology. This has been supported in our school through a number of initiatives.

Our PAC has been supportive through their cheques for tech fundraisers, whose funds go exclusively to providing technology in classrooms. Recently, PAC Gaming Funds have contributed to the purchase of new drawing tablets for the Mural Society in addition to new digital SLR cameras for the Photography Club. This not only allows for further student engagement, it empowers students to pursue extracurricular activities, developing skills for a digital future.

Handsworth is proud to have clubs such as Robotics and Tech Club. The latter supports many of the other events and groups in the school with all of their technological needs, including setting up speakers, microphones, projectors and the like.

Our school boasts the use of dedicated state-of- the art computer labs in the business department as well as the Visual/Digital Arts. In addition to these labs, the school also has computer stations for use in the learning commons, the learning centre and Choices room. For classrooms there are 4 sets of COWs (Computers on Wheels), 2 of which are Apple and the others sets of PCs. These are mobile laptop cards, each equipped with a class set of working laptops connected to the network. Each classroom is also equipped with a display projector, so teachers and students can mirror their device. The in-school Wi-Fi is state-of- the- art and students can login with their credentials to access the wireless network on their personal devices. 

Goal 3

To build capacity to be adaptable, flexible, and able to face adversity in order to grow a resilient mindset.

2023/24 PROGRESS

We take on challenges. We have much to learn from our neuro-diverse learners who overcome many barriers to experience success each & everyday. They have to manage their sensory needs, social skills challenges, anxiety and many more stretches to attend a class and get work done. Our Inclusive Ed Team is using research based strategies to build more capacity, resiliency & flexibility for all our learners.

Not a bad turnout of four grade 8 students and their grade 10 leader. Together, they debrief and in a collaborative fashion, determine the next steps.

Mentorship Across Grade Levels

For Art Club members at Handsworth, teamwork is of utmost importance. Roughly 40 members are split into 5 teams, each led by a student-artist in grade 10 and beyond. The leaders facilitate communications on Teams, planning in-studio meetings to create artworks that represent the community. 

Their goal is to have 5 large-scale works completed for display in individual learning pods before we move into the new Handsworth. Plans to work with the elementary feeder schools within our FOS are also in consideration.

Both, leaders and members have been faced with challenges they might not have experienced in the past. For the grade 8s, this may be one of the first high-school interactions they have had with older peers. For the team leads, their communication skills and ability to teach and delegate tasks are put to the test. And this is only possible if they can get their team to show up! Despite these challenges, students in Art Club are keen to contribute as well as have positive interactions with their peers. It also speaks to the leadership qualities of some of our students!

We build Student Leaders

Students at Handsworth are given opportunities to build capacity in leadership skills. Our Students use these skills to develop positive peer relationships.

The 2019 student-satisfaction survey reports that the majority of students have friends at school they can trust and who encourage them to make positive choices. This was higher than the Canadian norm.

With the success of peer to peer mentoring experiences in the form of a grade 8 retreat leadership, we are envisioning more opportunities for different grade levels to connect.

In addition to the work for the grade 8 retreat, this year our students emceed and facilitated our Remembrance Day Assembly, supported the Parent Teacher Conferences, joined the working committee to provide a student voice for School Planning, spoke about their high school journey at the Grade 8 parent information evening and ran School Tours. 

Transforming the Learning Environment

This year 30 grade 9 students took part in a Japan Exchange program. 

Student Council on the Importance of Wellness and Resiliency

Establishing Connections with our Youngest Students

High school can be a daunting place for students who have just graduated from Elementary school. Student Council from the graduating class of 2021 had taken the initiative to help their young peers begin their new journey with a video on “How to High School”.

Illustrated storybook by Canyon Heights and Handsworth's Graphic Arts students

The Handsworth family of schools includes Canyon Heights, Cleveland, Highlands and Montroyal Elementary Schools. The family of schools models provides opportunities for elementary schools to connect in a more meaningful and substantive way with their feeder secondary school.

Family of Schools Connections

Communicating with Stakeholders

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Latest Progress & Updates