The Story Behind the Anahim Lake School Viral Video

Trent Leon, a student from Anahim Lake Secondary, takes a shot on his hero, Carey Price, on a recent visit to Montreal.

Trent Leon, a student from Anahim Lake Secondary, takes a shot on his hero, Carey Price, on a recent visit to Montreal.

Mikel Brogan is the Principal of Anahim Lake School.  Last Friday afternoon, Mikel and I sat down in my office to watch a video telling the story of a young student from his school who had the chance to spend time with his hometown hero, Carey Price, a couple of months ago in Montreal.  Of course, the video was not a surprise for either of us as the preparation time, a week of filming in the school and the Anahim Lake community, and a crazy few days in Montreal had been pretty intense.  It had been six weeks of anticipation leading up to the release of the video on youtube.  After watching the video, it was pretty easy to predict that the video had an excellent chance of going viral.  At the time, we were the 61st youtube view.  As of the writing of this blog post, the video has been viewed over 315,000 times.

While Carey Price and young Trent Leon deserve all of the accolades they are getting in the media world these past few days, there is much more that we as a district can take pride in.  The projects which are featured in the video brought all of the students and many members in the community together.  Every single member of the school had a hand in the planning and creation of the projects.  To top it all off, this came at a time when the community of Anahim Lake needed some healing.  I’m very proud of our staff and the students at the school.  I’ve asked Mikel Brogan to give our readers a glimpse behind the scenes of this viral video. – Mark  

 

 

By Guest Blogger Mikel Brogan

Principal, Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary School 

In the middle of January 2015, Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary was visited by a full documentary film crew for approximately one week. The film crew included five members: Producer (Tara Johns), Director (Jeremie Levesque), an Editor, a Camera Man, and a Sound Technician. The film crew filmed the school in its natural state for the week. They filmed classes, assemblies and all other normal school activities. The purpose of the project was to highlight the Breakfast Program where the school provides warm breakfast and lunches to students on a daily basis. This money is partially provided by the Breakfast Club of Canada which is primarily based in Eastern Canada. The spokesperson for the Breakfast Club of Canada is All-Star NHL goalie Carey Price who is also an alumni of Anahim Lake Elementary/ Junior Secondary School. The purpose of the project was to highlight a day in the life of one of the school’s students: grade 6 student Trent Leon. The idea was to demonstrate how the Breakfast Program is helping lead youth towards healthier and more successful lives.

One of the highlights of the project was the involvement of internationally renowned artist, Marina Papais, and master woodworker, Daniel Collett, who spent a combined two weeks with the students of the school creating two large glass art pieces. Both Marina and Dan are retired BC teachers who enjoy volunteering their time in giving back to students through art. The project was partially aimed at commemorating Carey Price for his excellence and contributions to the school and community of Anahim Lake. Every student participated in the making of this project, and it will stand in the front entrance of the school for many years to come.

Principal Mikel Brogan, secretary Dianne Chamberlain & students

Principal Mikel Brogan, secretary Dianne Chamberlain & students

The project took almost a combined month of work and preparation and encompasses a large glass tile border which highlights the students of the month. A large wood and glass tile bench sits in front of the frame (pictures of the project can be seen on the school website).  This project was then photographed professionally by the film crew and then made into a giant thank you card that was signed by all students. The photo of the students working on the project and the final product was put on the centre of the card. Then, grade 6 student Trent Leon and I travelled to Montreal with the film crew to personally deliver the thank you card to Carey Price on behalf of the students and community. Students also made cards with personalized messages which were also delivered to Carey. It was important to me as Principal of the school that the students acknowledge and give back to Carey for his many contributions to the school through the Breakfast Club of Canada. It means a lot that we are able to offer our students hot breakfasts and lunches on a daily basis. The students very much appreciate this and embraced this ideal, going above and beyond in their efforts to thank Carey. This is something that was touching for all involved.

Student mosaic

In Montreal, the film crew filmed Trent hand delivering the cards to Carey Price after flying First Class from Anahim Lake to Montreal. Then Carey left his normal practice with his team, the Montreal Canadiens, and spent almost an hour with Trent Leon taking shots on him. Filming this experience was over half a dozen cameras including numerous Montreal film channels and the hit reality show, 24/7 CH, which is a very popular reality show in Quebec that essentially follows the daily lives of the Canadiens.

Two days later, Trent had the opportunity to watch the Canadiens play the Nashville Predators from the press box with Mrs. Angela Price, the founder of the Breakfast Club, Daniel Germain (Order of Canada recipient for his effort in founding the Breakfast Club of Canada), the film crew that created the project, and other top executives from the Air Canada Foundation who funded the short documentary. At the end of the game in which Carey was awarded First Star, he took Trent and me down to the players’ dressing room where he introduced his teammates and gave us a personal tour.

Carey Price & Group 2

From left to right, Daniel Germain (Breakfast Club of Canada founder), Angela Price, Carey Price, Trent Leon, Micheline Villeneuve (Director of the Air Canada Foundation), & Mikel Brogan (Principal of Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary School)

While watching the game, Angela Price had mentioned how she and Carey had a long discussion about the card and project the day before and how much it meant to him that the students and staff of the school would go through so much effort to extend their appreciation to him.

It should be noted that the project has been in the works for the last year. As the video indicates, the project was finally completed the day before Trent left for Montreal. We worked hard to get everything completed so that photos could be taken for the card that was delivered to Carey and for the purpose of the documentary. The broader scope for this project was to bring the community of Anahim Lake together so that everyone felt a closer connection to the school and each other. Additionally, it was the goal of this project to increase a sense of ownership among students and to strengthen their sense of belonging within the school. It is the feeling of many in the community that this project went above and beyond in achieving these goals. This project has been a big sense of pride for all students and other members of the community who took part in making it. The fact that we were able to honour Carey with this project for his many contributions to Anahim Lake School and the community only made the whole process that much more special.

Artists Marina Papais and Daniel Collett pose beside the two school projects.

Artists Marina Papais and Daniel Collett pose beside the two school projects.

In regards to the Carey Price portion of the bench, the idea was to show the development of Carey from a youth growing up in Anahim Lake to the leader he is now. On the bench in the project, we can see the sun rising over Anahim Peak which symbolizes Carey’s inception into the world.  As the image progresses to the east (or to the right of the bench), we can see a large glass star made of reflective mirror. This star symbolizes Carey’s success. The idea for this was so that the students could look into the star and see their own faces. It was explained to the students that with hard work and determination, they, like Carey, can achieve their dreams and become a star in whatever they strive to become in their lives.

If you’re ever in the Anahim Lake area, please stop by the school and check out the project as it is now on permanent display at the front entrance along with other notable signed pictures of Carey.

Mike Brogan and Carey Price

Please refer again to the school website for links to many other articles and podcasts that have been written and recorded in the past few days.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

 

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Energy In, Energy Out!

(Written with Rupert Whiting, Rede Energy Solutions)

Bert

Our maintenance department rarely gets the credit they deserve.  The department is so vital in ensuring that our facilities and buses run smoothly, yet we really only appreciate the work they do after something goes wrong.  It’s time more people knew about some of the proactive and preventative work they do, more specifically the behind-the-scenes work that is going into managing the energy consumption in School District No. 27 because this impacts everyone in the district in different ways.

First, let me start by explaining the overall intent of the program, and then I will get to how it impacts you.

The program has been created in response to two key circumstances and two key objectives of the district.

The first circumstance is the ongoing program of work that we are doing in conjunction with BC Hydro & Fortis BC to make major capital investments in our schools to lower energy usage in the future, and the second circumstance is the rising costs of the energy that we do consume.

The first objective that has driven this program is our aim to be good stewards of our environment. More than wasting money, wasting energy is something that we need to cut down for the good of both our local and global environments. The other significant objective that we have is to have our students graduate as contributing, aware citizens who are responsible for the impact that they have in life. This program advances both objectives.

Our aim is to have “Every Joule Drive a School.” We are happy to pay for energy as long as it advances education, and we have discovered that we could certainly improve in this area.

Therefore, unknown to most of you, we have been meeting monthly for a year or so to make sure that SD27 will be amongst the most energy smart school districts in Canada. The Quantum Team, as we have called ourselves, is made up of me, Kevin Futcher, our Secretary Treasurer, our Maintenance Team led by Alex Telford (Manager of Facilities & Transportation), representatives of the teachers and principals, our IT dept and our external energy management consultants, Rede Energy Solutions. Together we have been putting in the foundations of a really cutting-edge energy management system that involves the in-depth analysis of the patterns of our energy use. This analysis is helping us to identify and prioritize the investments needed to minimize any waste of energy.

It is this program that instigated projects such as:

• The solar wall at Lake City Secondary

• The new wood pellet boilers in Alexis Creek and Tatla Lake

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• Anahim Lake School’s improved insulation, better lighting and lowered ceiling & daylight harvesting

Ceiling
• The geo-thermal installation at Mile 108 Elementary
• Several hot water generating solar panel installations
• The removal or replacement of 20+ refrigerators that were energy hogs in our schools

Some projects create energy, others save it, and it is all progress towards our goals.

What makes our program even more groundbreaking is that we are also using the projects created by the Quantum Team and our maintenance department to provide content for classroom learning.

We have installed numerous new meters in some of our schools to gather more data on how we use energy. Through these, we now have information available to most schools that can be used in the curriculum from Grades 4-12.  Aligned with our desire to see more learning conducted in a project-based format, these engineering projects are great catalysts for full-class and individual study projects. What is more, the data is coming from the students’ own environments, and it directly impacts their lives which, we hope, will make it all the more relevant and interesting.

Let me give you two prime examples of where the behind-the-scenes energy management data can drive student learning:

1. Through our new monitoring system at Lake City Secondary (Columneetza Campus), we know that the Industrial Arts building has an hourly energy consumption that never falls below 12kW (kilowatts) during the day.

LCSS (Columneetza) Shop Wing

That goes for weekends, overnight, school closures. It never seems to get below 12kW and, to be honest, we don’t yet know why. Just that base energy consumption alone is costing over $10,000 per year.  To put that in context, the entire school at Horsefly School manages to get down to 16kW, so why is this Industrial Arts building so energy demanding? We need to investigate where so much money is being spent.

Before Quantum, this would have been a task for Alex Telford and his Maintenance Team to handle on their own. The students and teachers at the LCSS Columneetza Campus would be unaware of the problem and the solution. However, now we are going to open up the process of investigating that energy usage (and other puzzles like it) to the students and teachers who are interested. There will certainly be some math calculations, some physics and some chemistry involved and also some real-life work experience to be had as the engineers work out where all that power is going. There would even be opportunities to get Art, English, French and Social Studies projects from that single investigation.

2. Take a look at this graph that shows the energy used in Cataline Elementary on a typical school day.

Cataline 1

 

With support from the Maintenance Team and our Energy Management Consultants, the students and teachers could have an educational experience and a lot of fun finding out why we hit peaks at some times and use less energy at other times. If in the process they find opportunities to turn something off sooner or to change how we use energy in the school, then so much the better. Any changes that the school decides to make will show up on the graph, and, through this new feedback loop, the students can really see the impact of their decisions and their actions.

On Friday, February 20th, we are holding a Pro-D day workshop for teachers interested to find out more about what data their school is capturing and how they can use that data and some fun new tools that we have available. The aim is to create interactive, deep and relevant learning opportunities for our students and new content for our teachers to get excited about too. I encourage any interested teachers to connect with Frances McCoubrey, the Teachers’ Representative on the Quantum Team, to learn more.

In summary, we are happy to be making great progress towards a time where SD27 is a leader in reducing energy wastage for the good of the environment, for the good of learning, and for the good of the budget.

You can find out more by visiting our webpage here on the district website where we are posting news about our program and some tips for how you and your class can do your bit to support these efforts.

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3rd Annual Christmas Photo Album

This is the third annual edition of the School District 27 Christmas photo album with snapshots from around the district.

Have a very merry Christmas!

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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New Board Begins Term

The new Board of Education for School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) was sworn in at the public Board meeting on December 9th.  Trustees include (back row L-R) Linda Nielsen, Brice O'Neill, Sheila Boehm, Chris Pettman, Christine Dyment, (front row L-R) Joyce Cooper and Tanya Guenther.

The new Board of Education for School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) was sworn in at the Public Board Meeting on December 9th. Trustees include (back row L-R) Linda Nielsen, Brice O’Neill, Sheila Boehm, Chris Pettman, Christine Dyment, (front row L-R) Joyce Cooper and Tanya Guenther.

The new Board of Education for School District No. 27 took office at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, December 9th as they were sworn in at the Public Board Meeting.  Elections also took place at the meeting with the following results: Trustee Tanya Guenther was elected as Chair, Trustee Joyce Cooper as Vice-Chair, Trustee Sheila Boehm as BCSTA (BC School Trustees Association) Board Representative, and Trustee Christine Dyment as BCPSEA (BC Public School Employers’ Association) Board Representative.  District Committee representatives will be appointed in January.

Trustee representation by zone is as follows:

Linda Nielsen (Zone 1) Bridge Lake, Forest Grove, Buffalo Creek, Horse Lake

Tanya Guenther (Zone 2) 108 Mile, Lac La Hache

Chris Pettman (Zone 3) District of 100 Mile House

Christine Dyment (Zone 4) 150 Mile, Big Lake, Horsefly, Likely

Sheila Boehm (Zone 5) Williams Lake Fringe

Brice O’Neill (Zone 6)City of Williams Lake

Joyce Cooper (Zone 7) Chilcotin

 

Joyce Cooper takes Trustee Oath of Office from Secretary Treasurer Kevin Futcher.

Joyce Cooper takes Trustee Oath of Office from Secretary Treasurer Kevin Futcher.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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Using the Medicine Wheel for Project-Based Learning

IMG_9875

At the beginning of November, I had the pleasure of visiting Dog Creek School. Dog Creek is similar to many of our remote schools. With twenty students in Kindergarten to Grade 10, the challenges of differentiated instruction are immense as there are often only one or two students in each grade. How does one ensure that the only student in Kindergarten is provided with a play-based literacy-rich environment while also ensuring that the two Grade 10 students are able to take all of the courses needed for the Graduation Program so that they can successfully transition to Lake City Secondary next year and graduate two years later?

One very successful way of providing the education that every student needs and deserves is to use project-based learning.  On the day I visited the school, I had the pleasure of being in the audience as the students in the elementary class were sharing for the first time about group projects they had been working on for the previous weeks.  Each of four groups created a project related to the four spokes of the Medicine Wheel – the emotional, the physical, the spiritual, and the mental (knowledge).

The traditional Medicine Wheel can be represented in many different ways.

The traditional Medicine Wheel can be represented in many different ways.

As opposed to telling you how the projects turned out, it makes far more sense to show you.  Please notice the range in ages of the students in the photos below.  While each student was expected to participate in both the creation and the presentation of the project, students were expected to take part in ways that were appropriate to their grade level, but in all ways, the students were a team, and no one felt like they were any less important to the creation of the project than the student who was working alongside them.

Medicine Wheel - Emotional

Medicine Wheel – Emotional

For representing the emotional spoke of the Medicine Wheel, students and their sponsor Sandra Archie talked about, and acted out, how emotions are an important part of our lives, fundamental to our well-being.  Then students and their sponsor decided to write a song to share what they had learned.  They chose a song because music connects us to our emotions.

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Medicine Wheel – Physical

The group representing the physical spoke of the Medicine Wheel thought in terms of what exists in the world that supports us and keeps us alive and well.  The students and their sponsor Lillian Harry looked at the whole year to see how each season makes new foods and materials available to us, how each must come in its own time, and how each is connected to what comes before and after it in the year.  The drum is a tangible form of the physical world.

Medicine Wheel - Spiritual

Medicine Wheel – Spiritual

Students and their sponsor Louise Harry who were studying the spiritual spoke of the Medicine Wheel looked much more closely at the cultural traditions that have given us the sq’ilye (sweat house), and how central it is to our well being, both as individuals and in our community.  Students spoke to a band member who has built a sq’ilye and visited the site.  They learned so much about the importance of each of the elements of the squ’ilye, which they had always taken for granted or hadn’t ever noticed before.

Medicine Wheel - Knowledge

Medicine Wheel – Knowledge

The group researching the knowledge spoke of the Medicine Wheel reflected on how learning and knowledge keep us alive and connect us to our culture.  Principal Jane Hancock was their sponsor and had each student think about 0ne skill they have been taught that helps them to survive (hunt, fish, preserve food, use horses).  The students then made a village model, showing the activity, to see how they are all connected closely to us and where we live.  This group included school as part of that heritage of knowledge.

Meanwhile ... in the classroom across the hall, secondary students were taking their courses through the Rural Secondary program taught by a teacher in Williams Lake.

Meanwhile … in the classroom across the hall, secondary students were taking their courses through the Rural Secondary program taught by a teacher in Williams Lake.

My thanks to Principal Jane Hancock and her staff and students for the wonderful day.  Like many of our small schools, Dog Creek School feels as much like a family as it does a school!

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Given cards, gifts, and a whole bunch of hugs, it was a memorable day at Dog Creek School.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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Poverty Challenge Becoming an Annual Success Story

Once again, the Poverty Challenge fundraiser was a huge success story this year.  The Saturday evening Variety Show & Silent Auction raised $9100 and a grand total of $11,850 was raised for the Williams Lake Salvation Army Food Bank.

Generosity is one of the four foundations of the Circle of Courage, upon which our school district vision is based – “We envision an encouraging and understanding learning environment where everyone demonstrates a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.”  While we aim to develop these qualities in our students, we will not be able to achieve this without the adults in our district modeling these qualities first.  “Everyone” means all of us.  In the case of the Poverty Challenge, the spinoff is that some of our students and their families will be the beneficiaries of a healthier Food Bank.

Poverty Challenge volunteers Catherine Getz, Sandee Davis, Grant MacLeod and Danielle Mader hand off a generous cheque to Williams Lake Salvation Army Captain Ben Lippers.

Poverty Challenge volunteers Catherine Getz, Sandee Davis, Grant MacLeod and Danielle Mader hand off a generous cheque to Williams Lake Salvation Army Captain Ben Lippers for the Williams Lake Food Bank (photo courtesy of Monica Lamb-Yorski, Williams Lake Tribune)

Special thanks go to Catherine Getz, Danielle Mader, Sandee Davis and Melinda MacKinnon for all of their contributions to the planning and running of the event.  Thanks also go to our wonderful entertainers for the evening –  musicians Dena Baumann, Carmen Mutschele, Brent Morton and Troy Forcier and belly dancers Samira and Danielle Mader.

Thanks also to everyone who made donations of food or their hard-earned cash to support those less fortunate in Williams Lake.

My biggest thanks are saved for former IUOE President and longtime custodian Grant MacLeod and his wife Cathy for donating so much of their time.  Grant has been retired for more than a year but continues to spend hundreds of hours in his retirement each year seeking donations and organizing the Poverty Challenge events.

It is my hope that the Poverty Challenge will continue to be an annual event that makes School District No. 27 proud.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

 

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Poverty Challenge Variety Show & Silent Auction

It’s that time of year again when School District No. 27 is involved in raising funds for the Williams Lake Salvation Army Food Bank.  For a mere $15, you can buy a ticket to the 2nd Annual Poverty Challenge Variety Show & Silent Auction.  With a retail value of over $10,000, the one hundred items up for silent auction are sure to attract both big and small bidders.  There should be something for everyone.  On top of that, we have entertainment provided by Dena Baumann, Brent Morton, Carmen Mutschele, and Troy Forcier.

This year’s fundraiser is happening this Saturday, November 1st at the Signal Point Centre, beginning at 7pm.  There are still tickets available.  Tickets can be purchased at the offices of either campus of Lake City Secondary, at the Board Office front desk, or at the Signal Point Centre itself.  Tables can seat six or eight people.  I encourage you to purchase a table with a few other staff members from your school for a fun social night out that will benefit those less fortunate in our community.

See you Saturday!

poverty-challenge-silent-auction-variety-show

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

 

 

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Recognizing one of our own

As Superintendent, I have the honour of observing classroom instruction, having conversations with teachers in staffrooms and in committee work, and hearing many wonderful stories about our teachers from other teachers, principals, parents and students.

Last week, we found out that one of our amazing teachers, Nesika Elementary learning support teacher and district math teacher leader Sylvia Swift, has been honoured with a 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

For more information about Sylvia’s award, click here. You can also read an excellent article about Sylvia’s award in the Williams Lake Tribune.

I have known Sylvia as a colleague for approximately ten years.  She has worked as both a teacher and principal at four of our schools: Anahim Lake Elementary Rural Junior Secondary, 150 Mile Elementary, Cataline Elementary, and currently at Nesika Elementary. As a District Principal, I first met her as she travelled from her remote school in Anahim Lake to other remote and urban schools to share her teaching expertise in math. In more recent years, she has organized and led a guided math professional development series for her teaching colleagues. This series of dinner meetings which gathered teachers together from around our district regularly included professional reading, discussion, and demonstration of related skills.

Sylvia Swift (middle) works with other teachers during a recent math cohort group meeting.  The group meets twice a month after school.

Sylvia Swift (middle) works with other teachers during a recent math cohort group meeting. The group meets twice a month after school.

Last year, Sylvia put her experience with multi-grade classes to the test. Due to low enrolment in our Balanced Calendar program, she taught in a Grades 2-6 classroom. Using personalized student inquiry projects, students were pushed to be experts in the field they happened to be studying at the time. To the casual observer, grade levels would have been impossible to distinguish in a class where everyone was a learner and was treated with respect.

Sylvia’s work was also featured last year at a District Education Committee meeting and on our School District No. 27 Showcase Blog. An even better testament to her work and her students’ work can be found at last year’s classroom website – The B.C.K. Balanced Calendar Kids. I would highly recommend that all educators in our district check out this site where personalized learning and public displays of student work come together to share the richness of Sylvia’s class for all the world to see.

Last year's Balanced Calendar Class website

Last year’s Balanced Calendar Class website

What is so exciting about working and leading in our district is that master teachers like Sylvia have been willing to open the doors of their classrooms and share their instructional practice with all of their colleagues from around the district.  Book clubs, dinner meetings, inservice workshops and the annual Summer Institute have attendance numbers that are continually on the rise.  While we are so proud that Sylvia has been recognized on a national level, Sylvia herself would be the first to say that without a culture of collaboration and “iron sharpening iron”, an award like this would never be possible.

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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Thanks for the help!

My daughter turned 18 yesterday. She’s my eldest child and my only daughter, so that’s a pretty big deal in our family. She’s also in the midst of her last summer at home before she heads off to university in the fall. For those of you who have gone through this transition with your children, you know all of the mixed emotions that come with this stage in life. Sadness, pride, and fear all come to mind. My youngest son aptly described it yesterday at the traditional family birthday supper:

“I’m kind of sad and happy that she’s going to university in September. I’m sad that she’s not going to be here, but I’m really happy I finally get my own room.”

His sentiments are different than the ones that I’m feeling, but he’s definitely feeling that jumble of emotions as we all anticipate the end of August.

When our children reach milestones, it’s also a chance for reflection. As my wife and I look back on our eighteen years of parenting, we hope we’ve done our job well. As we’ve reminded ourselves a few times over the last year, while we will continue to have some impact in our daughter’s life, it’s too late if we were hoping to make any major changes. With a driver’s license, the abolition of early evening curfews, and friends who are also young adults, her independence has arrived. As she leaves for the next social outing, our reminder of “Make good choices” is much more for our ears than hers at this point.

I’ve given speeches at many graduation ceremonies over the years, but this year was very different as, for the first time, I could relate to all of the parents sitting in the audience.

Graduation cartoon

As in every grad speech I give, I thank all of those who work in the school district for the part that they have played in a graduating student’s life:

Thank you to your parents, your extended families, your principals, your teachers, your teaching assistants, your school secretaries, your youth care workers, your custodians, your school bus drivers, and your noon hour supervisors ever since all of you lovely people were in Kindergarten. The district staff and the maintenance workers who work quietly behind the scenes deserve some credit too. As important as you students are to reaching this milestone, all of these people played their important roles along the journey.

This year, I felt even more grateful as my daughter reached the end of thirteen years of school and prepared for the next journey in life.  My wife and I really do thank all of you who have had an impact on our daughter’s life over the last thirteen years. While we firmly believe that parents play the biggest role in a child’s life, there are so many of you who have played other key roles along the way. You have taught grammar, math formulas, and how to pass a basketball, but you have also counseled, coached, modeled, and mentored. Sometimes it was easy because she wanted to learn what you had to teach her. At other times, it was a struggle because she couldn’t understand why that day’s lesson was relevant to her life. Even on those days, she learned how to learn, and this will prove invaluable as she now takes much more control over her own future learning.

My daughter’s final year in high school ended strangely. It was sudden, and there were fewer chances for those final goodbyes, handshakes, and hugs. While we all would have loved for it to end differently, it does not take away from everything that came before.

From the bottoms of our hearts, my wife and I thank you for your help in raising our daughter to be the young woman she has become. Keep doing what you’re doing … we’ve got three sons we’re not finished with yet!

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries.  As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain.  While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel.  I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources.  While one of my goals for this blog is open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved.  Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

 

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Future Teachers Spending Time in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Late in the spring of 2013, UBC’s Faculty of Education approached School District No. 27 about the possibility of being involved in a program that would send future teachers to our district to participate in a new kind of practicum experience.

Following the successful completion of their qualifying (traditional) 10-week practicum in the classroom, UBC students from the Faculty of Education are required to also complete a Community Field Experience (CFE) course. The Community Field Experience is a 3-week placement that takes place in various settings such as alternative youth programs, museums, youth correctional facilities, summer camps and school-based programs. It is rooted in a belief that this type of experience broadens teachers’ conception of education and gives the teacher candidates an opportunity to see how their B. Ed might be utilized in environments outside of the typical urban classroom.

Randy Chau joins in the fun at Heavy Metal Rocks.

Randy Chau joins in the fun at Heavy Metal Rocks.

The CFE is different from the formal practicum in that there is no formal evaluation – students are encouraged to experience programs and approaches that will enhance their formal teaching experience. It is between the community/school partner and the teacher candidate to decide on the goals of the field experience. So while UBC hopes – and expects – that their teacher candidates will be able to teach some lessons while they are with us, these placements do not require the host teachers/sponsors to provide any type of formal evaluation.

While the program had existed in and around Vancouver for the past couple of years, UBC was interested in partnering with a few rural districts to allow their students the option of experiencing other school districts and other parts of our beautiful province.  Within a few months, I was standing at the front of a UBC lecture hall with hundreds of UBC students listening to my short presentation about why a three-week experience in our district would be an adventure they could not pass up.

Tyler Allison spent his three weeks working in the educational programs at the Scout Island Nature Centre.

Tyler Allison spent his three weeks working in the educational programs at the Scout Island Nature Centre.

Fast forward to April 2014 and for the past three weeks, School District No. 27 has just had the pleasure of hosting our first group of eleven Teacher Candidates from UBC in and around our district in three-week community placements.  These eleven university students were secondary-trained future teachers who were given opportunities to ply their trade in different types of opportunities than what we would consider traditional classrooms.

By the end of June, UBC teacher candidates will have been involved in the following district programs: Graduation Transitions interviews, Heavy Metal Rocks, Skyline Alternate School, Anahim Lake School, Tatla Lake School, Naghtaneqed School, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary, the Making Connections/Transitions program, and Explore More Discovery Camp.

Other community placements in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House have included and will include the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre,  the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, Educo Adventure School, Scout Island Nature Centre, the Child Development Centre, and the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre.

We are so grateful to all of our school district and community partner hosts as we could not be involved in this program without them.  An unexpected bonus has been how people in our community have stepped up to offer other types of adventures outside of working hours.  UBC students rode GT snow racers on the Sacred Heart hill (making lemonade out of lemons on an unseasonably snowy May Saturday), rode horses at the 108 Hills, cruised on mountain bikes down South Lakeside, boated on beautiful Horsefly Lake, and dined at a wonderful BBQ at the home of our Director of Instruction in Human Resources.

Sledding at the Sacred Heart hill

Sledding at the Sacred Heart hill in Williams Lake in May

Heather Klassen & Megan Mattock go kayaking on Horsefly Lake

Heather Klassen & Megan Mattock go kayaking on Horsefly Lake.

Tyler Allison, Heather Klassen & Vitor Giberti reflect on their trip down the mountain.

Tyler Allison, Heather Klassen & Vitor Giberti reflect on their trip down the mountain.

Teacher candidates placed in Williams Lake stayed in the slightly spruced up former student dormitory at the Columneetza Campus of Lake City Secondary, while those placed in 100 Mile stayed in motels or room-and-board situations.  One teacher candidate who spent three weeks in the Chilcotin stayed in different teacherages in Tatla, Anahim Lake, and the Nemiah Valley.

David Schein tries out his newly made bow as Naghtaneqed School students look on during the school's Cultural Week.

David Schein tries out his newly made bow as Naghtaneqed School students look on during the school’s Cultural Week.

We are hopeful that some of these teacher candidates may choose to begin their careers in our districts.  We are also grateful to the UBC Faculty of Education to be involved in this program for the next few years.

Special thanks go to my Executive Assistant, Shannon Augustine, for being the Project Coordinator for the Community Field Experience program.

At the beginning of June, fourteen elementary-trained teacher candidates will make their way up to the Cariboo-Chilcotin to start their three-week practicums, and new adventures will begin again!

David Schein took this beautiful photo on a Sunday afternoon hike in Nemaiah Valley.

David Schein took this beautiful photo on a Sunday afternoon hike in Nemaiah Valley.

 

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