During the 2018-2019 school year, the École Van Belleghem school community collaborated to support goals that had been established in the areas of: citizenship/engagement, self-regulation, and mental health/well-being. These priority areas were established through consultation with staff, parents, and students. Each of these goals connected with our students' development as learners and helped create positive paths to a healthy school climate that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone.
As a staff, we reviewed the progress of these goals at the end of the school year and examined the successes, as well as the next steps that will be required in connecting our work with the Louis Riel School Division's Multi-Year Strategic Plan. We established the ways in which the school's goals from 2018-2019 fit into the Circle of Courage and the quadrants of Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. (see below) These four areas are the cornerstones of our daily work as a school team and the guiding principles of the Louis Riel School Division. The Circle of Courage will continue to be the inspiration and guiding framework for all our goals in the upcoming years.
We are very pleased to share the highlights of the 2018-2019 school year with our community and are proud of the work we have done at École Van Belleghem.
As a school team, we view the quadrant of Belonging as where our work must begin each day. For our students, staff and families, it is essential that we foster meaningful ways for everyone to feel a part of our community. This includes making connections within the school, as well as within the greater community.
For the 2018-2019 school year, our goal of helping students to develop as positive, contributing citizens aligns with the principles of the quadrant of Belonging. We have been able to develop a sense of belonging in the school in the following ways:
- Morning meetings in classrooms (Responsive Classroom)
- Partner classes (petits amis, grands amis)
- Middle Years' team building (Festi-Gym, monthly presentations from speakers)
- Sources of Strength
- Various clubs (including a G.S.A.)
- Whole-school mindfulness initiatives
- Friendship groups (through Student Services)
- Parent Council Events (BBQ, Movie Nights, Yoga/Tai Chi Nights, Bake Sales)
In addition to making connections within our own school community, École Van Belleghem has also worked to develop a sense of Belonging within the larger community by increasing our connections with other communities in a spirit of reconciliation. The school was part of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg's Schools Reconciliation initiative. École Van Belleghem and Wanipagow School on the Hollow Water First Nation worked together to build and foster relationships between the students of both schools and learn about the different ways of living in urban and rural settings. In addition, École Van Belleghem focused on the continued spirit of reconciliation by integrating the Treaty Acknowledgement each week (led by students) and celebrating Aboriginal Week in June with a special assembly and a school-wide smudging ceremony. These connections are very important to all members of our school community and help to maintain a positive, healthy and inclusive school climate for all members of our community.
For the 2018-2019 school year, our goal of helping students to develop self-regulation skills aligns with the principles of the quadrant of Mastery. In focusing on self-regulation as a staff, we provided students with the opportunities to gain mastery in their daily routines and to develop resiliency when faced with challenging tasks or social situations that may be difficult to navigate. As a team, a great deal of time was spent planning and collaborating on instructional methods and school-wide initiatives that increased students' confident and skills in this area. These methods and initiatives included:
- Zones of Regulation (common language, discussions, in-class instruction)
- Whole-class movement breaks
- Discussions during Morning Meetings
- Calming Room
- Quiet corners (in various classrooms)
- Sensory tools (instruction, as well as opportunities to use tools)
- Big Brain, Little Brain (Self-regulation instruction)
- Small group work (with Student Services)
- Five-Point Scale for recognizing emotions
- Class contracts created by students and staff
- Flexible seating in classrooms
- Social Stories (explicit instruction)
- Peaceful Minute (after lunch)
This goal is a priority for the École Van Belleghem community and helps to provide students with positive interactions and fosters a school climate that is safe and inclusive for everyone.
INDEPENDENCE and GENEROSITY
For the 2018-2019 school year, the goals of helping students to develop as positive, contributing citizens and providing positive mental health development for our community both align with the principles of the quadrants of Independence and Generosity.
In providing various occasions for students to develop as young leaders, we can create important connections between young people and the world around them. Students can see that that they have a role to play in the larger community and world and that their actions affect others around them. This helps students develop into Independent learners who take responsibility for their actions and look for ways to help people and the environment around them (Generosity). In working in these areas, it is important for members of the school community to also learn about managing their own mental health and well-being. Helping to increase knowledge and understanding about issues relating to mental health is a definite priority for the École Van Belleghem school team.
There are various ways in which students were provided with leadership opportunities relating to Independence and these are also very connected to Belonging:
- Morning meetings to build relationships
- Partner classes to create relationships with older/younger students
- Leadership groups (student secretaries, milk program, patrols)
- Sustainability (Earth Day clean-up, composting program, environment group)
- Middle Years' (Various presentations, including Mental Health and LGBTQ topics)
From this, students see themselves as independent learners who can help others in very positive ways. As a school community, École Van Belleghem has continued to model Generosity daily, with staff, students and families being involved throughout the school year. Our connections within our own school, the larger school community, as well as in Winnipeg, have been significant. Some highlights of the initiatives relating to Generosity include:
- School garden and composting projects
- Annual Mitten Tree
- Donations to the Rielevate Foundation
- United Way campaign for the school staff
- PAC Welcome Back BBQ for all families<
- Winnipeg Harvest campaign
- WE Day participation
We are very proud of the work that we do in involving students in important initiatives that connect them to others. We are also thankful for the leadership our Parent Council has demonstrated in making our school a great place to be and in welcoming everyone.
The connections that are being developed within the École Van Belleghem family are important and we look forward to continuing the important work in the 2019-2020 school year. The Louis Riel School Division's Multi-Year Strategic Plan, as well as the Circle of Courage have provided us with a true North Star, which guides us in the daily work we do at École Van Belleghem. It is a privilege to collaborate and plan with all stakeholders and to see the positive results that this collaboration creates within the school climate. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the 2018-2019 school year a positive one.