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Norgate Elementary – Xwemélch’stn

Vision to Goal Setting

What is our Vision for Learning?

Xwemelch'stn Vision and Values

Students, community and staff members at Norgate Xwemelch’stn work together to cultivate a welcoming, inclusive, engaging and aware learning environment. We are partners in making steps towards Reconciliation and our strong, authentic and vibrant learning community is built on reciprocity and respect. Gifts of protocol and tradition from our local community help us honour students living in two worlds and help us provide a safe environment for all students to learn. By making time and space to create opportunities to connect with students and their families, our staff aims to create a genuine sense of belonging for all students. We recognize the value of school staff and families working together. The Norgate Xwemelch’stn community shares learning through balance and circle: Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional and Physical. Chen kw’enman tumiyap “We thank you all.”
Student voice:
– “If you don’t have trust, it really isn’t a community.”
– “We need to lean on the value of being responsible.”
– “It is important to show respect to Elders and community members so they want to come back to Norgate Xwemelch’stn.”

Our Process: Engagement and Learning

  • Watch. Listen. Show Respect – Murray Sinclair (Truth and Reconciliation Commission)
  • Engage the three pathways for change: Students, Community and Staff (NVSD Indigenous Ed Team)
  • Included student, staff and community input, in alignment with NVSD core values and vision, in our revised Code of Conduct and Mission statement
  • Appreciative inquiry: What has brought Norgate Xwemelch’stn to where it is now? What positive changes have been implemented, and where to next to advance student learning?
  • Continually review and revise school goals/objectives to reflect where we are now, where we want to go, and how we aim to get there
  • Strategic Action Plan: How can we enhance learning experiences and strive for equitable outcomes for all students?
  • “Walk together as one” – Swalkanexw Dallas Guss

Core Planning Team

2021-22 Planning Team:
Community: Stephanie Aldridge, Jenna Orr, Cristina Padres
Staff: David Andrews, Robyn Pinese, Alexis Dobie, Devon Mcleod, Natalie Atari, Kammi Clark, Glenda Robertson
Students: Grade 6 class

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Planning & Implementation

What is our Action Plan?

School Plan Goals

Three Pathways for Change

ASSESSMENT PRACTICES

Objective 1.b: Involving students in process of self-reflection/self-assessment on a regular basis (assessment as learning).

Students are building their capacities to self-reflect and self-assess by:

  • Sharing their perspectives at SFT Conferences
  • Engaging in ongoing self-reflections and self-assessments including their summative self-assessment of their development of the Approaches to Learning skills (Core Competencies)
  • Developing agency by seeking a clear understanding of expectations and success criteria (what they need to do and show understanding of).

Objective 1.c: Including families through ongoing communication related to student learning (assessment for and as learning).

  • Attending Meet the Teacher event
  • Participating in Student-Family-Teacher Conferences
  • Participating in Spring Family Conferences
  • Participating in IEP Meetings (for students with identifications)
  • Accessing and reading Report Cards (IEP and English Language Support progress reporting)
  • Reading/responding to weekly student self-reflections (some classes)
  • Ongoing communication with classroom and Learning Services teachers

Objective 1.a: Engaging in school-wide assessment processes to inform intervention model (assessment for learning).

Learning Services teachers will work closely with classroom teachers to determine best ways to support students needs, determining what supports/strategies/methods can be implemented universally (i.e., in the classroom that will benefit all students); what targeted supports will be beneficial for small groups of students; and how the team will provide intensive supports for students with unique learning needs.

Learning services teachers took the lead on building and implementing a year-long assessment calendar. Assessments utilized:

  • K to Gr. 3: Early Literacy Assessment (ELA); school-wide writing samples (4 times this year) assessed using ELA rubrics
  • Gr. 4 to 7: PM Benchmarks, Jerry Johns, Fountas & Pinnell (F & P) Assessments for reading; school-wide writing samples (3 times this year) assessed using BC Performance Standards
  • Kindergarten Numeracy Assessment
  • Gr. 1 to 7: SNAP Math (Chilliwack School District)

Objective 1.b: Involving students in process of self-reflection/self-assessment on a regular basis (assessment as learning).

  • Hosted Student-Family Teacher (SFT) Conferences through which individual student goals were set in relation to the Approaches to Learning (ATL)
  • Spring SFT goal reflection included on Term 2 report card
  • Some teachers have had students engage in weekly reflections
  • An increasing number of teachers incorporated student self-reflection into lessons and unit plans
  • May ATL reflection

Objective 1.c: Including families through ongoing communication related to student learning (assessment for and as learning).

  • Meet the Teacher event
  • Student-Family-Teacher Conferences
  • Spring Family Conferences
  • IEP Meetings (for students with identifications)
  • Report Cards (IEP and English Language Support progress reporting)
  • Weekly student self-reflections (some classes)
  • MS Teams / email communication
  • Weekly Principal communications to families

Objective 1.d: Designing assessment tasks and providing ongoing formative feedback to allow students to transfer their learning in new contexts (assessment for and of learning).

  • Staff learning related to concept and inquiry-based instruction and learning
  • Staff learning related to assessment using the Carson Graham Family of Schools proficiency scale
  • Co-planning of units of inquiry with guidance from IB Coordinator

INSTRUCTIONAL PLANNING & PRACTICE

Objective 2.a: Embedding Indigenous Worldviews, and ways of knowing, doing and being into units of inquiry and daily instruction/learning.

Students at all grade levels have participated in many lessons and activities intended to help them learn from Indigenous Worldviews and knowledge. They have also participated in outdoor place-based learning opportunities. The Indigenous Education team has provided many teachings and have facilitated a broad range of cultural learning opportunities. We are grateful to the Squamish Nation Language and culture department for having wonderful Metuliya Victoria Fraser teach Skwxwu7mesh language classes to the Indigenous students in the school. Students not only learn language with Ms. Victoria, they also learn important teachings from their culture.

Objective 2.c: Supporting students social and emotional wellbeing and development through instruction and wrap-around supports.

Students have participated in weekly Second Step lessons, as well as other sessions such as Wee Thinkers, SOGI, Foundry, TCO2. 

Objective 2.a: Embedding Indigenous Worldviews, and ways of knowing, doing and being into units of inquiry and daily instruction/learning.

Again during the 2021-22 school year, we were limited in our ability to welcome community members and Elders into the school due to the ongoing pandemic. It was wonderful to finally have some community members join us for our ceremony to reveal our new school logo. Your presence and support made for a very special event. We look forward to opening the doors to more opportunities for Elders and community members to share your wisdom and gifts with the students, staff members, and other families during the 2022-23 school year.

Objective 2.c: Supporting students social and emotional wellbeing and development through instruction and wrap-around supports.

Thank you to all caregivers for the support you provided this year to your children as we navigated through another challenging year with the pandemic and other local and world events. We have appreciated your partnership in helping the children come through this year with a greater sense of normalcy.

Objective 2.a: Embedding Indigenous Worldviews, and ways of knowing, doing and being into units of inquiry and daily instruction/learning.

Indigenous Success Teacher worked with all classes many times throughout the school year and shared Indigenous teachings, stories, songs, games; facilitated circle meetings

Indigenous Support Workers led cultural teachings and activities e.g., stories, legends, weaving, beading, medicines; facilitated professional development sessions with support staff; helped Indigenous students with their learning and provided them social-emotional support

Indigenous Language Teacher (provided through partnership with the Squamish Nation) taught language classes 1.5 days per week (until Spring Break to Indigenous students in Grade 5 thru 7, then expanded to include students in K thru Gr. 3).

Classroom teachers included First Peoples Principles and circle teachings/medicine wheel (some classes), Indigenous stories/legends, oral storytelling practices, and cultural activities (with IST/ISW leadership) in their instruction. They taught about historical and current-day interactions between Indigenous peoples and settler-Canadians as well as Indigenous perspectives on present-day local and global issues (e.g., Wet’suwet’en water pipeline, Autumn Peltier, Kamloops Indian Residential School).

Objective 2.b.: Incorporating learning objectives (skills and content knowledge) from multiple subject areas in units of instruction.

Development of the Programme of Inquiry through collaborative planning processes.

Objective 2.c: Supporting students social and emotional wellbeing and development through instruction and wrap-around supports.

  • School-wide implementation of Second Step
  • Direct counselor supports are provided for many students, and the counselor also provides full-class support through lessons/presentations.
  • Counselor teaching Wee Thinkers, facilitating SOGI presentations, arranging student sessions by outside facilitators (Foundry; Safe Body, Safe Kids; Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of Others)
  • Liaising with community providers including Capilano Community Services, North Shore Child & Youth Mental Health, Foundry, and more to support students/families
  • Purchased Social Thinking and Self-Regulation resources and tools
  • Many staff members are Ukeru trained including trauma-awareness training

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Students have done their part to bring a sense of joy and community to the school despite doing so through the pandemic! During the 2022-23 school year, they built positive relationships with classmates, developed social skills through play during recess and lunch, and as we have started to be more able to have students/classes intermingle have shown how much they bring in terms of ideas and contributions to create an amazing sense of community! Some highlights of the 2022-23 school year worth noting:

The extraordinary empathy and care students expressed and showed after learning about the 215 unmarked graves found on the T’Kemlups Indian Residential School site. Students’ responses and contributions to our school-wide video project were profound. The learning students have engaged in has helped non-Indigenous children and staff members (and hopefully their families too) develop a stronger understanding of true Canadian history and inspiration to do more towards meaningful reconciliation.

Students’ pride in being recognized for the intentional compassionate acts they do as part of our Earning our DRUM tickets during February (and beyond). A focus on compassion as kindness and empathy being put into action helped students understand even better the significance of Pink Shirt Day. Many students remarked that Pink Shirt Day should be every day, showing their understanding that every day is an opportunity to make someone else’s day brighter!

This year’s Fun Day was SO much fun! The students were grouped in multi-age groups for the morning and participated in a variety of fun activities.They were supportive and encouraging of their group mates, and many staff members commented on how the students did this without prompting, showing how special the students at Norgate Xwemelch’stn are! Their enthusiasm, good sportsmanship, and enjoyment made for a very FUN day!

During our new logo ceremony, it was wonderful to see students willingly take part in the ceremony, to take part in local Indigenous protocol as leaders in the school community. One student was also a risk-taker who eloquently shared the school philosophy and teachings in Skwxwu7mesh. What was so special was the tremendous enthusiasm of all the students to see and appreciate the school’s new logo and it’s meaning.

We hosted our third annual teaching Pow Wow on June 24th.

We appreciate our wonderful PAC Executive team members who consistently strive to make families feel welcome and include families in school initiatives. They are also very helpful in raising with school staff feedback they hear from parents/guardians. This helps the school staff understand parents’ perspectives and be responsive to parents’ concerns/questions. 

The PAC has helped with a variety of community spirit-building events and fundraising initiatives this year: Coffee and Meet & Greet outside on the first day of school, plant fundraiser, hot dog lunch for Fun Day, Meridian Market fundraiser, Morning Coffee Mingle and more.

Staff members have initiated, planned, coordinated, and led a variety of community-building events and activities including:

Displays to recognize, teach about, and celebrate important occasions and groups of people (Orange handprint hearts to show support for the 215 children’s remains found on the T’Kemlups Indian Residential School site, Orange Shirt Day display, Black History month display, Pink Shirt Day display, Asian Heritage month display, Red Dress Day display, Pride month and LGBTQ2S+ display, National Indigenous Peoples month display, display of various Indigenous arts pieces including Wampum belts and other crafts created by students). Thanks to Ms. Jamie Allan, Ms. Kelly Sangha, Ms. Katie Pettit, Ms. Pat Taylor, Ms. Courtney Kessel, and Ms. Sonja Nahanee for your leadership on these impactful displays.

Gardening – students at all grade levels have gotten their hands dirty planting vegetables, and we will be adding Indigenous pollinating, medicinal, and edible flowering plants to our new planters in the courtyard.

Healing Circle – Thanks to Mr. Dallas Guss and Mr. Alroy “Bucky” Baker for leading us through whole-school a healing circle after we heard the news of the 215 children. Being together to share words, song, and dance was restorative.

Pink Shirt Day Bollywood dance – Thanks to Ms. Sura Ravindran for choreographing our much-looked-forward-to Pink Shirt Day dance again this year! We had so much fun dancing outside together!

Talent Show – Thanks to Ms. Robyn Adefowokan for putting together an amazing talent show this year! Though we had to share it through video, it still beautifully showcased our students’ many talents.

Athletics – We were finally able to have kids participate in Track & Field and are appreciative to Mr. David Andrews, Mr. Chris Murphy, Ms. Jan Au, Mr. Jason Bott, Mr. Keith Mitchell, Ms. Robyn Adefowokan, and Ms. Robyn Pinese who volunteered to coach and supervise at the meets.

Fun Day – Thanks to Ms. Robyn Pinese, Mrs. Gail Morrison, Mr. Chris Murphy, and Ms. Jan Au for organizing such an amazingly fun Fun Day, and to all staff members for organizing stations, and/or helping students circulate between stations.

Assemblies – We have been able to gather as a whole school community a few times this year including a presentation by the BC Lions, our new logo unveiling, a performance by Andy the Musical Scientist, and of course our Pow Wow!  Thank you to Ms. Kelly Sangha for your help with assemblies.

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Monitor Evaluate & Adapt

What are our Indicators of Progress?

Objective 1.a. Engaging in school-wide assessment processes to inform intervention model (assessment for learning).

Kindergarten Literacy Assessment (ELA/TOPA) – after the initial assessment, 2 students were identified as needing intervention. On the final assessment all students scored above 25 (benchmark indicating further support required). 40% of students are at an “applying” level, 40% are at a “developing” level, and 20% are at an “emerging” level. One students’ program is significantly adapted, and therefore, this student did not participate in the literacy assessment.

ELA data has been very informative and has enabled us to identify and implement supports at universal, targeted, and intensive levels. This data has shifted practice with regards to reading instruction as teachers from Grade 1 thru 4 have implemented individual and small-group reading instruction, with support from LST/Indigenous Literacy Teacher.

For students in Grades 4 thru 7, we have used the PM Benchmarks and Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) assessment tools to assess students’ reading progress.

We have also implemented a school-wide reading program through which students read daily at their reading level. When they feel they have mastered their book (have read it fluently and understood it at least 3 times), they read to an adult who assesses the degree to which students are ready to move up a level. This has proven effective to get more students moving up in their reading levels and abilities. That said, many students are still reading at below grade level; therefore, we will continue with this universal approach to supporting their reading into the 2022-23 school year.

The F & P tool provided more detailed data with respect to students fluency, accuracy, and levels of comprehension. In general, the F & P data has shown that most students are able to read fluently, accurately, and can recall what they read at their instructional level, however, many are not yet reading at their grade level, and need more support with inferencing, identifying message/theme, genre and understanding literary devices.

K thru 7 writing samples revealed that we will need to continue our efforts to bolster students’ abilities as writers. Form, style and conventions continue to be focal areas for instruction.

K Numeracy assessment data shows one student requires further support. One students’ program is significantly adapted, and therefore, this student did not participate in the numeracy assessment.

Gr. 1 thru 7 SNAP Math Assessment data helped teachers identify areas of focus specific to number sense. Many classes have also implemented a Fast Facts program designed to help students develop their abilities to automatically and accurately recall basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. We are keen to seek out other assessment tools and instructional resources to augment what we have currently to support mathematics instruction and assessment.

From staff member feedback related to this objective, the teaching team will go over our assessment calendar to make sure there is a better balance in the timing of the assessments. Staff members’ average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.8 for the 2022-23 school year.

Objective 1.b. Involving students in the process of self-reflection/self-assessment on a regular basis (assessment for and as learning).

Goals set during Student-Family-Teacher (SFT) conferences this year show growth across the grades. An increasing number of students’ goals are more specific and focused on skills for learning (Approaches to Learning) as opposed to content-related goals. Student voice came through in the phrasing of many of the goals.

The reflections on the goals set during SFTs show that many students were supported to take intentional steps towards achieving their goals. Some also indicated they felt they had achieved their goals, and therefore, set new ones for the remainder of the year.

Staff comments related to this objective indicate that they would like to incorporate more student self-reflection into their practice. They also indicated that many students find self-reflecting difficult. A goal moving forward, therefore, is to have students reflect on their development of the ATL and conceptual understandings more frequently. Staff members’ average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.33 for the 2022-23 school year.

Objective 1.c: Including families through ongoing communication related to student learning (assessment for and as learning).

Hosting virtual Meet the Teacher sessions proved somewhat effective as a means for teachers and families to connect. As noted last year, participation rates might have been better had we been able to host in-person sessions.

Student-Family-Teacher Conference participation; MS Teams platform helped with this to enable parents/guardians who would not normally be able to make it into the school to participate; 70-95% of families participated in these conferences in November.

Spring Family Conference participation rates were consistent with SFT participation.

IEP Meeting participation was stronger than in former years and this resulted in families having input and clear understanding of student learning profiles and associated goals and objectives.

Keen to gather data related to parents accessing and reading Report Cards.

Communication between home and school occurs through various forms – in person, via email, on Teams. Many teachers expressed they have good communication lines with their students’ families. Some expressed it is sometimes hard to reach families. The teaching team has started discussions about information they can provide families specific to each unit of inquiry so that they have insight into what the students are learning through the units, and can support their children’s learning related to the units. Staff members average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.92 for the 2022-23 school year.

Parents on the school planning team and PAC indicated they would like to learn more about the IB framework and about what their children are learning at school. We plan to host a dialogue session for parents in September related to IB PYP framework and how we teach BC curriculum through this framework.

Objective 1.d: Designing assessment tasks and providing ongoing formative feedback to allow students to transfer their learning in new contexts (assessment for and of learning).

Assessment through formative feedback and feed forward, and designing assessment tasks to allow transfer of learning will be an ongoing focus. We have identified the need to make more use of the PYP rubric to assess students. Moreover, ongoing learning related to designing transfer tasks will be a focus of the 2022-23 school year.

Staff members average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 3.13 for the 2022-23 school year.

Goal: To advance instructional planning and practice to help students develop and apply skills for learning to deepen their conceptual, interpersonal and intercultural understandings.

Objective 2.a: Embedding Indigenous Worldviews, and ways of knowing, doing and being into units of inquiry and daily instruction.

Indigenous Worldviews, perspectives, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Ways of Knowing, Doing and Being are now being more regularly and intentionally embedded into instruction.

The Indigenous Connections box on the Unit of Inquiry planners is now being more fully and comfortably filled in. This is thanks to stronger collaboration with the Indigenous Ed team, greater ease with including the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and improved use of available resources.

Classroom teachers regularly sign up to have Indigenous Success Teacher Mr. Dallas Guss provide instruction that is connected to their units of inquiry and other units of instruction. Because he is scheduled to be at our school at least once a week, teachers have had the opportunity to benefit from his knowledge on a regular basis.

We are fortunate to have three wonderful Indigenous Support Workers at our school. Ms. Sonja Nahanee, Ms. Courtney Kessel, and Mr. Alex Buque provide the students support and help staff members meaningfully include Indigenous teachings in their practice.

We look forward to connecting with and learning from Indigenous community members to even more authentically and thoroughly embed Indigenous Worldviews, and ways of knowing, doing, and being into how we engage with students and families and into how we teach the students. This year, due to the pandemic, opportunities to do so were very limited.

Staff members have indicated they still feel there is room for use to make continued improvements in how we include Indigenous teachings, celebrations and ceremony in the school. Staff members average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.8 for the 2022-23 school year.

Ministry of Education Student Learning Data (13 Grade 7 respondents, 8 Grade 4 respondents, 5 parent respondents:

92% of Grade 7 respondents indicated they are learning about First Peoples many times/all the time

50% of Grade 4 respondents indicated they are learning about First Peoples sometimes and 37% indicated they are learning about First Peoples many times/all the time

76% of Grade 7 respondents indicated they are learning about local First Nations many times/all the time

75% of Grade 4 respondents indicated they are learning about local First Nations sometimes and 12% indicated they are learning about local First Nations all the time

100% of parent respondents indicated they are satisfied with the efforts at the school to teach students about Indigenous peoples in Canada

100% of parent respondents indicated the students are being taught about local First Nations

Objective 2.b: Incorporating learning objectives (skills and content knowledge) from multiple subject areas in units of instruction.

By the end of this school year, all units of inquiry will have been planned, taught and reflected on. Each of these units is multi-disciplinary (i.e., they incorporate learning objectives from multiple subject areas). This year, to ensure the units are planned collaboratively, we created planning teams for each grade level that include non-enrolling teachers and administrators. This has leveraged the full pedagogical know-how and creativity of our staff team to craft these units. Teachers have expressed that some subject areas lend themselves better to the units of inquiry than others. Some subjects are difficult to meaningfully incorporate. It is also a shift for some teachers to teach through multiple subject areas in one unit. Staff members’ average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.57 for the 2022-23 school year.

Objective 2.c: Supporting students social and emotional well-being and development through instruction and wrap-around supports.

We have implemented the Second Step Program school-wide with positive results; many students are able to use the skills for learning, can recognize and name their emotions, can identify and use strategies to calm down, and are able to engage effectively in problem-solving.

By helping the children navigate the pandemic, and continue their learning through it, family and community members have been amazing partners for us as educators. 

To support well-being, sense of belonging, and shared responsibility as part of the community we give out DRUM tickets. When we reach 100 DRUM tickets the school community earns a reward (the current favourite is an extra outdoor recess break).

All classes are supported by the school counsellor and Indigenous Support Workers.  Many students access additional support from these staff members in small groups and/or individually.

Students’ social and emotional wellbeing is also supported by the classroom teachers, educational assistants, and administrators.  We work as a team to support all of the children.

Staff members’ average rating on 4-point scale for this objective was 2.88 for the 2022-23 school year.

Goal: To cultivate a collaborative, engaging, and aware learning community for all students, families and educators.

We are proud to be a community school and have put much time, effort, and energy towards creating a strong sense of belonging and community pride in the school. Early in the year and with the continued restrictions due to the pandemic we were only able to focus our energy on the students. Within their class groups, students had opportunities to build a sense of community through class meetings/class circles, class celebrations, learning activities through which they shared about their unique identities, class games, and more.

Students in the Grade 6 class indicated they were pleased to be able to participate in gym classes, and other spaces in the school (library, lab). They also expressed they were happy to participate in buddy class activities, assemblies, field trips (Game Ready, Cheakamus Centre, walking field trip to Capilano Elementary for Gr. 7 Exhibition), after school programs, and athletics. These activities brought a heightened sense of fun to the spring season at school and into the summer. They also identified the many adults at the school who support them and their learning, as well as the importance of their peer relationships to helping them feel connected and supported.

We were also thrilled to be able to welcome parents and caregivers back into the school! We look forward to forging strong relationships with you as our partners in educating your children.

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Communicating Progress

How do we Communicate our Progress?

Communication, Collaboration, Community

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Through regular newsletters, we share with families and the community stories of learning as well as school-related information. To read school newsletters, please click HERE.

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Latest Progress & Updates