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Norgate Elementary – Xwemélch’stn

Vision to Goal Setting

What is our Vision for Learning?

Xwemelch'stn Vision and Values

Norgate Xwemelch’stn shares powerful stories of how students, community and staff are leading the way in Reconciliation and how Norgate is a strong, authentic and vibrant learning community 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. The Norgate community shares learning through balance and circle: Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional, Physical. We welcome others to be a part of our journey. Chen kw’enman tumiyap “We thank you all.” We have initiated a process with students to develop community values built on a foundation of the Squamish Nation’s way of living and NVSD’s established values of Responsibility, Collaboration, Trust and Respect. Xwemelch’stn will create something new that will guide our work.
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 Team)
  • Share story to develop vision
  • Lean on local way of living, NVSD values and student input to identify and include shared values as we re-write our Code of Conduct and Vision/Mission statements
  • Appreciative Inquiry – What is the most magnificent thing about Norgate Xwemelch’stn?
  • Develop goals: “How do we Go Forward with Courage?”
  • Strategic Action Plan How do students, community and staff support change?
  • “Walk together as one” – Swalkanexw Dallas Guss

Core Planning Team

Huy Chexw a, thank you parents and staff!

2018-2019 Development Team:
: Marylou Tamayao-Gibbs, Naomi Williams, Adriana Bathurst
Staff: Beenisha Ali, Dallas Guss, Heather Myhre, Alexis Dobie, Trish Summers, Kammi Clark Willow Mumford, Brad Baker and Rob Smyth.

2019-20 Team:
Community: Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Adriana Bathurst, Dallas Guss
Staff: Kammi Clark, Alexis Dobie, Gail Morrison, Glenda Robertson

Huy Chexw a, thank you students!

Students: Erica, Sarah, Josephine, Logan, Sylus, Rylan, Phoebe, Telisia, Marcel, Ameira, India and Gabby

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Planning & Implementation

What is our Action Plan?

School Plan Goals

To include the Indigenous Worldview in all learning

To modernize instructional strategies for enhanced learning

Three Pathways for Change


– Continue to lead the way; share teachings, express knowledge and learn the local history

– Spelexilh Angie Dawson – “When asked to share, students should say yes, as per protocol.”

– Continue to work as a Legacy School and lead ReconciliAction

– Include the Indigenous voice in all discussions

– Acknowledge Territory to begin meetings establishing a common sense of place

– Understand the strength in reciprocal relationships

– Adopt patience and time with an open heart and mind to guide the work

– Incorporating the Indigenous Worldview in the four pillars of instructional practice: Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Social Emotional Learning

– Explore ways to include the Indigenous Worldview to enhance reporting (communicating student learning)

– Include Indigenous Worldview in all decision making 

– Adopt patience and time with an open heart and open mind to guide our learning

– Understand the importance and strength of reciprocal relationships 

– Include Protocol to strengthen community


– Take risks in learning

– Demonstrate a commitment to learning

– Adopt a growth mindset and make learning safe for self and others

– Participate in Student Family Teacher Conferences and support student goal setting

– Connect with teachers to strengthen student learning at and outside of school

– Consider invitations to learn about modern instructional practices used at Norgate

– Create safe learning learning environments where staff are supported to take risks with instruction

– Incorporate Circle Teachings to support safe learning for students (Intellectual, Spiritual, Physical, Emotional) 

– Bring clarity to student learning through whole school, targeted and intensive teaching

– Include Oral Storytelling as a foundation to learning

– Communicate learning clearly with parents

– Build flexible learning environments 

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Monitor Evaluate & Adapt

What are our Indicators of Progress?

Learning includes Indigenous Worldview, place-based learning, and local ways of living

– Earning our Drum – school wide protocol to promote community and well-being (Sept 2020); used this as basis for revising Code of Conduct (Current version published Feb 2020)

– Community Lunch – sharing food and teachings, celebrating student voice

– Welcoming and appreciating visitors through gifting protocol

– Welcome Slips to welcome students as per longhouse protocol. “Ta new chew tl’ik!” (Hi, you have arrived)

– School Board Presentation Dec. 11, 2019 – shared song and reflections of visit to St. Paul’s Residential School Site

– Norgate Xwemelch’stn drum group share local teaching through the sound of drum and song; hosted a student drum-making workshop and now have 20 drums to use for drum group; hosted a staff drum-making workshop, and staff members have expressed they’d like to have staff drum group sessions

– Downie Wenjack Foundation work – Stanley Park Greeting of the Day trip, Visiting the UBC Longhouse

– Norgate Xwemélch’stn Community Pow Wow (2nd Annual); unable to host 3rd annual Pow-Wow in 2020 (pandemic)

– First Peoples’ Principles of Learning intentionally included into instructional planning and daily teaching

– Including teachings about animals’ meanings and significance (Squamish and Métis) with the Second Step Program

– Partnership with Squamish Nation Education Department to support students; We are grateful to be able to offer Squamish Language Classes to all Indigenous students in Grade 4 – 7 and planning to expand to other grades in the 2020-21 school year

– Using circle as main means of holding class meetings; incorporating circle teachings into these meetings

– 2019-2020 Student Learning Survey Ministry Data and Grade 7 students stating many times or all the time: 1. At school, are you being taught about Aboriginal or First Peoples in Canada? (82%) 2. At school are you being taught about local First Nations? (76%) 3. I feel like I belong at school. (Sometimes 29%; Many/all times 40%) 4. I feel safe at school. (Sometimes 29%; Many/all times 46%) 5. Do you feel welcome at school? (Sometimes 29%; Many/all times 58%)  6. How many adults do you think care about you at your school?  (4 or more adults 64%)

– 2019-2020 Student Learning Survey Ministry Data and Grade 4 students stating many times or all the time: 1. At school, are you taught about local First Nations? (52%) 2. At school, are you taught about First Nations people? (59%) 3. I feel like I belong at my school. (82%) 4. Do you feel safe at school? (79%) 5. Do you feel welcome at your school? (80%) 6. How many adults do you think care about you at your school?  (4 or more adults 80%)

Goal: Modernize instructional strategies to improve student learning.

– TOPA results improved 2018: 10 students require intervention vs 2019: 1 student requires intervention

– 2019-2020 – Our school became a pilot school for the NVSD’s Primary Literacy Assessment.  The data gathered through the assessment process has enabled us to identify for each student areas of focus, and provide targeted support to improve literacy skills.  This data will further inform our guided reading practices as we enter into the 2020-21 school year.

– School Wide Write Baseline Data: Grades 1-6 at or above grade level using June 2019 Writing Assessment snapshot: 57%.  We were unable to complete a school-wide write in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 School Wide Reading Assessment Baseline Data: Grade 1-6 students at or above grade level using 1. Jerry Johns Fluency (73%) 2. Jerry Johns Comprehension (72%) Grade 1-4 students at or above grade level using 1. PM Benchmark (76%)

– School Wide Numeracy Data: Grade 1-6 students at or above grade level (67%)

– Student Learning Survey Data and Grade 7 students who indicated many times or all of the time: 1. At school, I provide input into what I learn and how I learn. (2018-19: 38%; 2019-2020: 52%) 2.Is your school helping you to be more media literate? (2019-20: 76%) 3. At school, are you helped to understand important ideas? (2019-20: 58%) 4. At school, are you learning to be a critical thinker? (2019-20: 52%) 5. At school, I am learning to understand and support human rights and human diversity.  (2019-20: 69%) 6. At school, I am learning to communicate effectively. (2019-20: 64%) 7. At school, I am learning how to care for my mental health.  (2019-20: 42%) 8. At school, I am learning how to care for my physical health. (2019-20: 69%) 9. I continue to get better at reading. (2019-20: 75%) 10. I continue to get better at writing. (2019-20: 58%) 11. I continue to get better at mathematics. (2019-20: 64%)

– Student Learning Survey Data and Grade 4 students who responded most of the time or all of the time: 1. Do you have choice about what you are learning? (2018-19: 35%; 2019-20: Sometimes 40%; Most/all the time 19%) 2. Are you helped to understand how to improve your learning? (2018-19: 42%; 2019-20: 53%) 3. Are you learning ways to think of and explore new ideas? (2019-20: 53%) 4. I feel I am getting better at math. (2018-19: 77%; 2019-20: 66%) 5. Are you learning to explain the way you solve problems? (2019-20: 66%) 6. I feel I am getting better at reading. (2018-19: 92%; 2019-20: 93%) 6. I feel I am getting better at writing. (2018-19: 56%; 2019-20: 100%) 7. Are you learning how to care for your mental health? (2019-20: Sometimes 40%; Most/all the time 33%) 8. Are you learning how to care for your body? (2019-20: 66%)

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Communicating Progress

How do we Communicate our Progress?

Collaboration, Communication, Community

In this section we will share student learning stories. 

Parents’ stories can be found here, showing how they are helping to strengthen our learning community.

Modernizing Instruction: For the 2020-21 school year, our staff members will be collaborating to develop instructional year plans. They will also share weekly “Windows Into the Week” with families to provide overviews of what learning opportunities will be offered each week.

Sharing Story Archives

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Latest Progress & Updates

Learning Requires Exploration of One's Identity

Courage of Metis Jigletts sharing traditional Metis Dance led by Kiskino Heather Myhre

Learning Recognizes the Role of Indigenous Knowledge

Community Lunch: students listening to local legends shared by Swalklanexw Dallas Guss

Learning Involves Generational Roles and Responsibilities

Norgate Xwemélch’stn Drum Group led by Swalklanexw Dallas Guss

Learning is Embedded in Memory, History and Story

Assistant Superintendent Sharing Story at Norgate's Weekly Sharing Story on Tuesday mornings