Silver Creek Elementary School is a small, family oriented school. Being located just outside the larger center of Hope allows us to be an integral part of the Silver Creek community and garner strong community support. Having a forest on our school grounds as well as being situated close to rivers allows for a wealth of place-based learning opportunities. Our small school takes pride in being able to provide students with leadership opportunities for students, Effective Behavioral Support, community service, intramural programs, the Virtues Program, the Super Reader program, Math Challenge, participation in the district soccer tournament, Geography Challenge, Reading Link Challenge, We Club, Homework Club, a grade 5-7 Music/Band program and a growing outdoor education program. Enrollment projections for 2017-2018 are at 120 students, representing similar enrollment to last year. Our classes for next year will be decided in August and September when we have a clear picture of new enrollment. Our First Nations student enrollment is now more than 30% of our total population and we will continue to work with partners to support the learning needs as presented. Outdoor education is the focus of the school growth plan, utilizing the Spirals of Inquiry model for the foundation of this plan. Past school goals will still be part of the school culture, including healthy living initiatives, improving student literacy, and improving Aboriginal student academic performance. MISSION STATEMENTS BRITISH COLUMBIA The purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable learners to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy. SCHOOL DISTRICT #78 FRASER-CASCADE School District Number 78, in cooperation with the community, promotes an educational environment that fosters a love of learning, personal integrity, a strong self-concept and a respect for the dignity of others, encouraging each student to reach his or her potential. SILVER CREEK ELEMENTARY The mission of Silver Creek Elementary is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where students can develop their intellectual, physical, emotional, and social capacity so that each student can be a life-long learner and productive citizen.
Scanning: (What is going on for our learners?)
During staff and Pro D meetings last year, the staff at Silver Creek discussed school goals and our own school improvement wishes. A number of ideas were discussed including numeracy and behaviour. However, the topic that garnered the most focus and excitement was outdoor education. Although many topics were discussed, staff continually came back to outdoor education, learning outside, and engaging students. Outdoor education has been gradually increasing over the past years with Fraser-Cascade Mountain School and the kindergarten “Forest Friday” program. Staff commented that many students are increasingly spending more time inside and are not experiencing our local areas.
We also noted: *Students at Silver Creek feel safe at school and are connected to two or more adults. *Involvement in daily physical activity at school has increased. *Recent school goals have focused on improving results in literacy and healthy living initiatives. The initiatives need to be a focus due to the relationship between learning and health. *Most students have access to the internet. *Continued support for staff for their professional learning will be crucial for school goals to be met.
Focus:(Where will concentrating our energies make the most difference?) -Continued focus on foundational skills. -Social and emotional learning will need to be a focus to improve on behaviour and self-regulation. We will include the “Virtues Program” to address this need. The outdoor education focus supports this as well. -After staff meetings and many conversations, a majority of the staff agreed about a common area of student need. The following area of focus will benefit the greatest amount of students and academic areas.
The agreed topic is to increase student participation in outdoor activity and education. We believe that connecting students to nature will improve relationships; hands-on and place-based learning will increase stewardship; and behavioural concerns will decrease.
Inquiry Question:(What is the driving question?) Will an increased focus on outdoor experiences and education improve academic performance and decrease behaviour issues? Hunch: (What is our intuition?) Benefits of outdoor learning: -Increased retention rates -Benefits to tactile, experiential, and visual learners -Lowers negative behaviour issues (ie. hands on) -Improves mood -Increases environmental stewardship -Increased sense of ownership for the environment -Increased physical activity leads to improved healthy living choices -Increased opportunities for inquiry-based learning -Increased opportunities to build school community -Increased problem-solving skills -Increase knowledge of aboriginal culture and heritage
New Professional Learning:(How and where will we learn more about what we do?) The following resources will be used: Spirals of Inquiry (Halbert and Kaser) – the resource will be used for staff discussions during meetings and made available for all staff. Summer Professional Development – Wild B.C. presented to staff in August 2016; planned for August 2017- application to become a Wild School (this is a three year commitment) Learn about place-based learning Provide opportunities to visit local resources, for example: “You Grow Food Aquaponics”, Thacker Marsh, Camp Squeah, Sucker’s Creek, Blue Heron Reserve, Cheam Wetlands, Fraser River, Rotary Trails, Silver Hope Creek Increase linkages across curriculum School visits (ie. Kelly Creek)
Taking Action:(What can we do differently to make a difference?) Collaboration Days – reflect, review, and revise outdoor education programs, opportunities and teaching practices. Staff meeting – regular agenda item Staff members will share projects, professional development and strategies at meetings Collaborate and work with Hope Mountain Centre Continue to plan and expand Fraser-Cascade Mountain School opportunities Increase opportunities for all classes to participate with the school garden. Continue to have naturalists give presentations (ie. AJ Fedoruk) Kindergarten outdoor program “Forest Fridays and Wilderness Wednesdays” Increase focus in the local history including the use of Silver Creek’s FNSW and her resources (plants, cultural practices). School Wide Trips: Camp Squeah school trip in September; White Rock beach study field trip in March; and we are currently hoping to go to Monck Provincial Park near Merritt for a desert study trip as well. “Get Outdoors” program presented by Wild B.C. Applied to become a “Wild School” in Spring 2017 Outdoor opportunities this year: School wide trip to Camp Squeah (Sept.), Mt Frosty Hike (Sept.), UBC Research Forest trip (Sept.), Wetlands Program to Thacker Marsh (Sept.), Sumallo Grove Trip (rescheduled to the spring), Lightning Lake snowshoe trip (March), Mt. Ottomite snowshoe trip (April), School wide beach study trip to White Rock (March), Skagit Camp (March), Watershed study at Wardle St. (April), Grade 2 Insect Study (May), Grade 3 Forest Ecology Study (May), Silver Hope Creek and Silver Creek’s back forest (ongoing throughout the year) Classes have also been teaching various courses outside including Art (drawing pictures during different seasons at the same place, sketching); Science (nature walks, habitat studies, ecosystems, properties of snow); Math (weights, angles); Social Studies (mapping, local area); PE (movement, scavenger hunt); and Language Arts (writing activities) Outdoor School Visit – Over Spring Break, one teacher visited Kelly Creek Community School. The purpose of the visit was to see what other schools were doing including looking at budgets, equipment and activities.
Projects: *New Playground – The PAC is currently fundraising for a new playground. The new outdoor play space will help foster outdoor learning and increase outdoor play time. *Garden – The Silver Creek garden now has a committee and improvements are being made. All classes will have a section of the garden. *Outdoor Learning Structure – In the future, we would like to add two 10 by 10 structures in the back forest as an outdoor classroom. *Track and Tennis Courts – In the future, we would like to improve our tennis court area. Improvements would include resurfacing the tennis court and adding new basketball backboards. We would also like to add a running track to our school grounds.
Checking:(Have we made enough of a difference?) Office referrals Measure growth of core competencies Collect baseline data in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. They will include: staff and student surveys; DERAIT; reading assessments; and report card data. At collaborative and staff meetings review and assess progress Anecdotal notes Increased self-regulation and recognizing personal emotions Increased responsibility Communication Strategies: (How will you communicate your results and inquiry to the school community?) Communication regarding the inquiry and results will be through a variety of methods including: -Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) meetings -Staff meetings -Monthly newsletters -Social media -School website -Assemblies -Back to school barbeque and various school events -Local newspaper (Hope Standard) -School displays -Individual teacher notices and social media -Bulletin boards and display case
District Goals:(Connections to the district’s plan) Goal: To foster a culture of inclusiveness for all learners (K to 12) Evidence: Engagement in place-based, inquiry and hands-on learning.
Goal: To improve literacy and numeracy skills and IEP goal attainment for all K-9 students. Evidence: Engagement in learning through inquiry based learning and increasing problem solving skills.
Goal: To improve aboriginal students’ sense of identity and achievement. Evidence: First Nations Principles of Learning and Aboriginal presenters.