Parent Advisory Council=Pretty Amazing Community

Where to begin? Let’s start at the beginning. In September, a new school opened its doors in the Louis Riel School Division. A staff of over 60 were hired and we welcomed 630 students from over 20 different schools in both of our programs (French Immersion and English).

Knowing that positive relationships are key to developing strong and confident learners, our staff knew right away what our focus was – we wanted to get to know our students and incorporate their passions and interests within their learning. We wanted our dual track school to feel united and build community in our brand new building.

What some may not know is that our school’s Parent Advisory Council has been an integral part of this process. These parents volunteer their time to organize amazing opportunities for families to come together and get to know one another. At their meetings, anywhere from 45 to 65 parents show up wanting to share their thoughts, help in sub committees and make our school a great place to be, not only during school hours, but after! I’ve never seen a PAC so dedicated to its school population. From organizing regular hot lunches, school dances, movie nights, paint nights, theatre evenings, mental health workshops, gym nights and more- they work tirelessly to give our students and families opportunity to build friendships and bond. They have played such a part in building our school community. They have strengthened relationships because, like the educators in the building, they are here for the same reason-their kids.

Today however, all of the attention was on the staff for our Staff Appreciation day. I was overwhelmed with the amount of thought, time and attention to detail the PAC and families from our school had in planning this event. An abundance of food (breakfast, lunch and snacks-needless to say we were stuffed by first recess!), flowers and sweets, a banner, kind words, a video, cards and generous gifts. Not one detail was missed. They even covered recess duty!

Thank you! Merci! From all of us to all of you, thank you for making École Sage Creek School an amazing place to be. Thank you for your time, your dedication and your kindness. They do not go unnoticed. We are so lucky to be on the same team! As much as we felt appreciated today, know that we are equally grateful to you. It’s a pretty amazing community to be a part of!

Encore une fois, merci! Thank you PAC and all the families who contributed in some way to make us feel so special!

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Growth Mindset Read Aloud #MindsetMondayLRSD

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Starting May 7th, we challenge you and your students to partake in our #MindsetMondayLRSD Growth Mindset Read Aloud! Each week, for four weeks, a new book that will deepen your learning and engage your students in powerful and meaningful conversations will be featured by a hosting class. You will also be able to connect and share your learning with other classrooms globally through slow Twitter chats, and more if you choose. So why join?

Importance of Growth Mindset

Stumbling, falling, and knowing how to get back up is an important step in our learning process. We all need to build resiliency and develop the skills to persevere when we hit road blocks. #MindsetMondayLRSD will allow you and your students to explore different children’s literature focusing on Growth Mindset while reflecting on who we are, where we are, where we’re going, and our uniqueness on that journey.

What you can expect

Each week, you and your students will be invited to watch a prerecorded video of a Growth Mindset book being read by the hosting class. Throughout the book, the hosting students will invite you to answer questions based on the book and your experiences. You can share your learning using the Q1 A1 format on Twitter. Don’t forget to include the #MindsetMondayLRSD hashtag in your answers. If a certain book inspires you further, feel free to share your extended activities through art, poetry, blogs, #BookSnaps, video reflections, etc. to the hashtag. Please note that you can view the video and participate in the slow Twitter chat as it fits into your schedule that week! Watch for new blog posts coming out every Sunday that will include all of the info you need for the week, including what class is hosting, what book they will be reading, the video link, and the Slow Twitter Chat questions.

We look forward to connecting with you and your students to see where this Growth Mindset adventure will take us!

Nycol & Annick

2016: The year I allowed myself to be a student in my own classroom

As the school year comes to a close and staff and students are counting down the days until summer, I’m also counting the days until I get to set foot into my new learning space this September at École Sage Creek School. This year more than any other, I’ve taken greater risks, allowed my students to lead and have grown in ways I would have never even imagined. From flexseating, to Hangouts, to coding, to Seesaw, to Twitter, to blogging and vlogging, I have become a better teacher for my students. On top of that, I have become a better learner because this year, I allowed myself to be a student in my own classroom. This was the turning point for me. 

Being a student in my classroom has allowed me to better understand and define my role as a teacher, to practice empathy and to show my students that there are times when things don’t go as planned. Being Type A, I always wanted to micromanage every.single.detail. of every.single.moment in my classroom. Now that I’ve come to realize that placing the power in the hands of my students is where learning soars, I’ve learned to let go of the small stuff. I used to want to be the sole leader- now I adore being a co-leader, a collaborator and a co-constructor in the classroom with my students. It’s impossible to believe we can solely rely on ourselves to be able to do it all. As much I’d like to take the credit for taking these steps forward, it’s all thanks to my village. There’s an entire community of people who have shaped me into the teacher I am today. As I continue to read and reflect, I’m at peace knowing there will be many more (students, colleagues..) that will influence the teacher I will become years from now. I also find relief knowing Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. constantly has incredible educators hot off the press! I’ll always have a book in hand and a few more waiting on my nightstand! On Twitter tonight, I came accross Rex Ferguson-Baird and I found what he said to be true : “It takes a village to raise a child but it takes a Community to be a village”. This supported the very message I wanted to pass on. Everyone needs a village, not just children.

I’m a life-long learner. I’ve said it before, and I’ll never stop saying it. I love learning. It’s the main reason why I never stopped taking university classes once I got my Bachelor of Education degree. I thought I would have had enough when I completed my post-baccalaureat degree in counselling, but I still felt I needed to learn more so I enrolled in the Master’s program, specializing in Inclusive Education. Learning from and with others is my thing. I used to say if I could get paid to take university classes to continue  to learn and grow, I would earn my living that way. What I didn’t realize at that time, was that I was already doing just that.

Allow me to explain.

A number of years ago, I used to think that I could only learn from attending university. I thought and was brought up to believe that this type of education was considered superior to any other form of learning. Was I ever wrong! Although I would never want to alter or take away my formal education (I value what I’ve learned and take pride in what I’ve accomplished), there’s so much to be said about spending time and learning from people who make you better- whether it be in person, on youtube or from the comfort of a good book.

Last summer I got my hands on Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and it was the spark that fueled my fire. Throughout the entire read, I wanted to be a student in his classroom. That had me thinking about whether or not my students wanted to be in their classroom. After reading The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros and Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz, I joined Twitter, read blogs and I was hooked. These high profile authors who had such an impact on me were educators who started out just the same. Today, they spread their message to better the system, to spread their passion, to make a difference… and are they ever making a difference!! Simply put, they are amazing, brilliant and what I aspire to become. Even though these authors are Education Gurus, at their very core, they remain teachers and still have those same everlasting qualities. They are kind, caring and compassionnate. They’re human and that’s what makes them so incredible. The people I have connected with through PD and my PLN/PLC are also outstanding. They are my village and my community. Because of them, I am learning more than ever and funny thing is, I am getting paid for it! I’m learning in my classroom with my students everyday as I put into practice what I’ve learned in my spare time.

img_3019.jpgI came accross a picture of dominoes and it reminded me that perspective is so powerful. Some may look at these tiles and see they are falling, crumbling, failing to withstand the pressure of others. For me, this image represents the very opposite. Each domino is standing strong and has a purpose. In a circle, they form one unit, a community. When someone in line falls, there is always someone within reach to catch them, support them and help them get back up. There is always someone to lean on and learn from. That’s what community is. You don’t give up on one another, you don’t all fall down. You help one another get back up and become a stronger unit… and that’s the mentality I plan on having this September as I welcome my 23 new community members into their village.

Everyone needs a village. I’m grateful that in the past year, I feel that I’ve found mine.