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Norgate Elementary – Xwemélch’stn

Vision to Goal Setting

What is our Vision for Learning?

Norgate Xwemelch'stn Values & Vision

The Norgate Xwemelch’stn learning community works together to support students’ academic, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual well-being. We strive to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring people who demonstrate intercultural respect and understanding.

This statement aligns with our values as educators and articulates a vision for the skills and dispositions we aim to help your children develop. Through partnership with you, their families, we will support your children’s well-being and help them find balance. And, by providing them rich learning experiences at school and in the community we can share our collective wisdom and expand the children’s capacity to think critically and creatively, so that they may choose to act compassionately.

The Norgate Xwemelch’stn community strives to cultivate a welcoming, inclusive, engaging and aware learning environment, where all students and their families feel seen, heard, and appreciated. We are fortunate to have students from diverse backgrounds and origins at our school, and this makes for a beautifully rich learning community.

Importantly, we are committed partners in making steps towards Reconciliation with Indigenous students and their families through 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 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.”

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?
  • Strategic Action Plan: How can we enhance learning experiences and strive for equitable outcomes for all students?
  • Application to the International Baccalaureate Organization to become an authorized IB World School offering the Primary Years Programme submitted in Spring of 2022; anticipate IB Authorization Visit in Fall of 2023

Core Planning Team

2022-23 Planning Team:
Community: Stephanie Aldridge, Cristina Padres, Trevor Shoaf
Staff: David Andrews, Karen Birchenall, Chris Murphy, Jeffrey Chan, Glenda Robertson
Students: Intermediate Classes

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Planning & Implementation

What is our Action Plan?

School Plan Goals

Three Pathways for Change


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).

Student Voice:

“Self-reflection is useful because you can track where you are and what you can do better.”

“Reflect on what you did – what you can do well and what to do better. We can learn from our mistakes and know what to do differently.”

“It’s good for your brain, thinking about your learning.”

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 – some parents/caregivers expressed desire for more frequent updates regarding student progress
  • A number of families were not able to attend conferences. Therefore, we will explore possibilities around how students can share their learning with the broader school community.

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
  • Teachers’ communication with their students’ 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


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 providing teachers of Skwxwu7mesh language classes to the Indigenous students in the school. Students not only learned language with Ms. Diana, Ms. Cathy and Ms. Jule, they also learned 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 Social Thinking/Wee Thinkers; SOGI; Safe Bodies, Strong Kids; Open Parachute.

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. We have collectively noticed that the pandemic has had lasting impacts on the children, and your partnership in helping them develop emotional intelligence, resilience, and key social skills is deeply valued.

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.

Indigenous Support Workers led cultural teachings and activities including, but not limited to stories, legends, weaving, beading, medicines; facilitated professional development sessions with support staff; and helped Indigenous students with their learning and provided them social-emotional support.

Squamish Nation teachers, provided through partnership with the Squamish Nation’s Language and Culture Department, taught language classes 1 day per week as well as culture classes 1 day per week.

Classroom teachers included First Peoples Principles and circle teachings/medicine wheel, 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.

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

Ongoing development and reflection on the Programme of Inquiry (POI) through collaborative planning processes. All units of inquiry that make up the POI have been written, taught and reflected on, and all include more than one subject area.

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

  • School-wide implementation of Second Step
  • Direct counsellor supports are provided for many students, and the counsellor also provides full-class support through lessons/presentations.
  • Counsellor teaching Wee Thinkers, facilitating SOGI presentations, arranging student sessions by outside facilitators
  • 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


Highlights of the 2022-23 school year worth noting:

  • LOTS of buddy class activities throughout the year.
  • Earning Our DRUM – This year, the students earned extra outside recess time six times! That means they earned 600 DRUM tickets!
  • Grade 3 “Identity Impressions” art exhibition
  • Grade 2 personal histories exhibition
  • Kindergarten year of learning exhibition and graduation
  • Orange Shirt Day Walk for Wenjack
  • Winter holiday musical performances and sing-along
  • Community Clean-Up
  • FUN day!
  • Talent Show
  • Pow Wow
For the 2023-24 school year, students expressed a desire to establish some clubs, as well as have more choices of activities they can participate in.

    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. For the 2023-24 school year, they are seeking greater parent participation at PAC meetings and school events. Some parents expressed they would like more opportunities to volunteer in the school, and shared a want for even more “school spirit” activities and events. We encourage parents to step forward with your ideas and offer of support and assistance.

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

    Class/school events to which families were invited: Grade 3 art exhibition, Grade 2 personal history sharing, Kindergarten exhibition of learning, Grade 7 Farewell, Kindergarten graduation

    Displays to recognize important occasions, share teachings and appreciate groups of people: Orange Shirt Day, Black History month, Pink Shirt Day, Asian Heritage month, Red Dress Day/Moosehide Campaign, Earth Day, Pride month and LGBTQ2S+, National Indigenous Peoples month, Medicine Wheel teachings, Indigenous plants, and more. Thanks to staff members for your leadership on these impactful displays.

    Gardening – We have added to our garden boxes and planters in the courtyard. Thanks to our “Grub Club”, a small and dedicated group of students as well as Ms. Kelly Sangha for being the gardening leaders this year!

    Diwali dance – Thanks to Ms. Sura Ravindran for choreographing and teaching us a dance to celebrate Diwali.

    Music Classes & Spring Break Camp – Thanks to Ms. Natalie Atari for offering music classes before and after school, and to Ms. Sonja Nahanee and Ms. Michelle Bean for offering a fun day camp during Spring Break.

    Talent Show – Thanks to Ms. Natalie Atari for putting together an amazing talent show this year!

    Athletics – Students participated in extra-curricular Cross Country, intramural basketball, and Track & Field. Thanks to Ms. Megan Friesen for taking the lead on coordinating these sports activities and to the volunteer coaches and supervisors who helped make these opportunities possible for the students. During PE classes, students had opportunities to try out sports they might otherwise not have gotten to try. These included: basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, and field hockey. Thank you to Ms. Kelly Sangha for arranging these special classes.

    Fun Day – Thanks to Ms. Karen Birchenall, Ms. Janine Malahoff, and Mr. Chris Murphy for organizing such an amazingly fun Fun Day, and to all staff members for organizing stations, and/or helping students circulate between stations.

    Pow Wow – HUGE thanks to Ms. Sonja Nahanee, Ms. Courtney Kessel, Mr. Alex Buque, and Mr. Dallas Guss for all your work to make our fourth annual Pow Wow such a success!

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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, 6 students were identified as needing intervention. On the final assessment all but 3 students scored above 25 (benchmark indicating further support required). Two of these students are English Language Learners (ELL), and receive regular ELL support. One student’s program is significantly adapted, and therefore, this student did not participate in the ELA/TOPA assessment

    Early Literacy Assessment (ELA data) has been very informative and has enabled us to identify and implement supports at universal, targeted, and intensive levels.

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

    Students have continued to read daily a book that is at their reading level, and they read with a teacher regularly so that teachers can gauge their ability to decode, read fluently, and comprehend what they read. There is a wide range of reading abilities in all classes, with many students who are not yet reading at grade level; therefore, we will continue with this universal approach to supporting their reading into the 2023-24 school year.

    As informed by reading assessments done last and this school year, teachers of students in Grades 4-7 have focused reading instruction on inferencing, identifying message/theme, genre and understanding literary devices.

    Reading and writing assessments completed last and this year led Kindergarten-Grade 3 teachers to have a more intentional approach to teaching phonics and phonemic awareness. This helped students build capacity to decode an increasing number of words, as well as spell many more words accurately and to use “inventive spelling” for words they aren’t familiar with how to spell.

    K Numeracy assessment data showed four students require further support. One student’s program is significantly adapted, and therefore, this student did not participate in the numeracy assessment.

    Gr. 1 through 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.

    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). 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.

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

    It was great to open the doors for Meet the Teacher night, and we were pleased that so many families attended.

    Student-Family-Teacher Conferences were offered in-person or through MS Teams, dependent on family preferences. This allowed approximately 80% of families to participate. Spring Conference participation rates were similar to SFT participation.

    IEP Meeting participation was strong again this year and this resulted in families having input and clear understanding of student learning profiles and associated goals and objectives.

    Some parents expressed they would like to hear more frequently from teachers regarding their children’s progress. Many also shared they find it hard to access report cards online and therefore they do not read them.

    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.

    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 continued focus.

    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 regularly and intentionally embedded into instruction. This is thanks to collaboration with the Indigenous Ed team, intentional inclusion of, and reference to, the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and use of available resources.

    We are fortunate to have an excellent Indigenous support team at our school. Ms. Sonja Nahanee, Ms. Courtney Kessel, Mr. Dallas Guss and Mr. Alex Buque provide cultural teachings and invaluable support for students and staff.

    We welcome the opportunity to connect with and learn 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.

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

    All units of inquiry have been planned, taught and reflected on. Each of these units is multi-disciplinary (i.e., they incorporate learning objectives from multiple subject areas) and collaboratively developed.

    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.

    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 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.

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

    We were able to offer many community-building events this school year within classrooms, between classes, and with families. We were also pleased to be able to welcome parents and caregivers into the school for conferences, school community events, and to volunteer. Please look for opportunities to come into the school during the 2023-24 school year!

    Data gathered from Grade 5 students (21 students) through the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) revealed the following:

    Overall Well-Being Index: 20% Thriving, 30% Medium, 50% Low

    Percentage of children reporting the presence of an asset:

    65% Adult Relationships, 75% Peer Relationships, 52% Nutrition & Sleep, 90% Out-Of-School Activities

    Related to the above, we identified the following as opportunities for the 2023-24 school year:

    • Help families connect to services that are available in the neighbourhood and school by inviting community partners to present at PAC meetings/Parent Meet & Mingle mornings.
    • Continue to provide opportunities for parents to meet other parents whose children attend the school.
    • Possible parent/guardian information sessions: Healthy eating/sleeping/screen time habits, neurodiversity in schools, anxiety in children
    • Enhance school climate through ongoing emphasis and support for having a caring school community
    • Aim to increase number of children who report a sense of belonging and importance at school through positive recognition and inclusion of more student voice
    • Continue with anti-bullying/pro-kindness teaching, and responsive follow-through when bullying situations are witnessed/reported
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    Communicating Progress

    How do we Communicate our Progress?

    Communication, Collaboration, Community


    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