Good Things are Happening

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G O O D T H I N G S A R E H A P P E N I N G : N E W W E S T M I N S T E R S C H O O L S 20 18-19

Good things are happening New Westminster Schools 2018–19

A sign of excitement Grade 2 Queen Elizabeth student Ashdeep was so enthusiastic about her first day back to school in September, she made a sign to celebrate the event.

Contents Our bold initiatives


Our changing classrooms


The thinking classroom


Student explorers


Cutting edge connections 8 Beyond the classroom 10 Our changing worldviews 12 We’ve just begun 14 On the frontlines 16 Building momentum


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Good things are happening at New Westminster Schools Ashdeep’s excitement was ours too. At New Westminster Schools we’ve had a whole year of firsts and new beginnings, of bold initiatives and inspired ways of doing things – inside our classrooms and out. This year, too, we welcomed a newly elected Board of Education and a new district leadership team to set directions for student success. Mark Gifford, Board of Education

Now, as we prepare for 2019–2020, we are on the cusp of launching a Strategic Plan that will chart our course for the next five years. Our plan? To build on the momentum that is transforming our students’ learning experience; to be richly connected to our diverse communities; and to lead the way to the future for our next generation – open to change, willing to take risks, and inspired to be the model we want the world to be. At New Westminster Schools, we can do no less. As the fifth densest community in Canada – we are a district where diversity is a source of our strength, where three of our neighbourhoods are growing faster

Karim Hachlaf, Superintendent

than the national average, and where some 65 languages are spoken at just one of our elementary schools alone. Already, we are in the midst of a transformation in education, with BC’s redesigned curriculum now fully implemented from kindergarten to grade 10 – and due to roll out for students in grade 11 and 12 in the coming year. For all students, the emphasis on critical thinking skills, social and personal responsibility, and communication skills is a key to deeper engagement and lifelong learning in a rapidly changing world.



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Our bold initiatives Supporting our students, teachers, and staff at the frontlines of change. Our Board of Education is also taking the lead in

We’re particularly proud to be opening up new

tackling head-on the impacts of poverty and the

pathways for our students to share their voices,

barriers to inclusion for our most vulnerable children

perspectives and experiences when it comes to their

and families.

own education as we strengthen our commitment to full consultation and responsive listening.

Last year, we were the first school district in BC to adopt a sanctuary schools policy to welcome all children, regardless of immigration status. This year, we launched a groundbreaking, universally accessible school lunch pilot program: an extraordinary commitment to ensure no child is hungry at school and all children eat healthy.

In the meantime, BC’s largest high school – a $106.5 million, state-of-the-art replacement for New Westminster Secondary School – is literally rising up out of the ground for the entire community to see. It’s due for completion in May and will open in September 2020. At the same time, a new replacement for 90 year old Richard McBride Elementary school is in the design phase and will be unfolding in the coming year. And, with projections

Our comprehensive review of special education is

for significant growth in the city, our long range

now underway to help us fundamentally improve our

planning for the future of New Westminster Schools

practices – so that all students with complex and

is now well underway.

exceptional needs feel fully supported and valued as unique individuals who have the right to reach their learning potential. Our third Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement for 2018–2023 not only makes key strides to support our Aboriginal students academically, socially and culturally with a sense of pride and belonging, it also commits every one of us in the district to the healing work of Reconciliation. And in its first initiative as a board in 2019, trustees took the unprecedented step of ensuring equity while

VA LU ES IN AC TION Welcome to the story of our learning journey for 2018–2019! In each of our initiatives, it is our aspiration to see our values – of collaboration, equity, integrity, innovation, inclusion and engagement – in action no matter where we look. This booklet introduces you to the growing evidence for that hope:

addressing stigma, shame and financial burden by

§§ In our changing classrooms.

making menstrual products available for free for all

§§ In the work of our teachers and staff

of our students at all of our schools – an idea that within weeks was picked up across the country.

on the frontlines. §§ In the momentum for a focused, relevant, and inspired plan for our future.

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Pictured: A shared moment at École Qayqayt Elementary School on Pink Shirt Day.

In all we do, it is our aspiration to see our values – of collaboration, equity, integrity, innovation, inclusion and engagement – in action no matter where we look. Our vision: to be a place where students love to learn!


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Our changing classrooms Across the district, classrooms are changing in exciting ways – from where students sit, to the role of technology, from changing world views, to learning that extends beyond classroom walls.

Left: Superintedent

You’ll see our innovative teachers putting learning in new contexts, and

Hachlaf with an early

our students thinking about how they learn – not just what they learn.

French Immersion student at École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary. Right: A morning of

They’re collaborating together. Using their hands along with their minds. Exploring more deeply. Setting their own goals.

play on the first day of

These are increasingly empowered students, active in their learning,

school at Queen Elizabeth

their schools and their daily environments. Walk into any one of our


classrooms, and you’ll see the transformation unfolding before your eyes.

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In schools across the district, you’ll see learners on

Wiggle cushions and bean bags

swivel chairs and exercise balls; at small group tables

In teacher Sara Fox’s Montessori classroom, the

bean bag chairs; or perched on wobbly Hokki stools

natural lighting is soft; the mood is calm. Gone are

that help students manage their energy as they learn.

the rigid rows of desks that formed the basis of classrooms for more than a century.

or in book nooks; on wiggle cushions; tucked into

All schools were supported with funding this year to begin an ongoing process of transforming the

Instead, groups of students are sprawled on

physical learning environment. It’s a simple change

the carpeted floor, intent on creating Australian

with a big impact.

Aboriginal dot drawings. Some are at tables working together. Others are nestled in pillows in a quiet corner, reading or researching. As they work, Ms. Fox engages with learners, offering guidance and individualized support.

Fox’s class is just one example of a shift from the traditional to the thinking classroom.

Students increasingly have options in how and where they want to work. Teachers are less often at the front of the room imparting information. Students are no longer passive learners memorizing lessons at their desks. The result? Our changing classrooms are places that promote student-centred learning, teachers as coaches, and empowered students making decisions about their own learning. Have a look and see for yourself!


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Above: Students learning hands-on how to design and build structures.

Student Explorers Learning in an active, collaborative, and experimental environment. From kindergarten to high school, more and more classroom learning is project–based, with students engaged as explorers and discoverers who learn by knowing, doing and understanding. In Amanda MacCaskell’s grade 1-2 class at Connaught Heights Elementary this spring, children were adopting a surprisingly

Some students drew inspiration from a picture book of the Statue of Liberty. Another modelled her structure on a beach house built by Alexander Graham Bell. As children worked on the floor in pairs and groups, MacCaskell helped guide their thinking about geometric concepts and structural ideas – like triangles and vertices; or arches, braces and bundles – that could

advanced approach to inquiry-based

give their structures strength.

learning. Their challenge: to build a tall

Even for students in the earliest

structure on a strong foundation using

grades, learning is active, collaborative,

hands-on, skill-based work with cups,

experimental, hands-on, and deep.

sticks, clay and other materials.

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Pictured: Using clay, sticks, and geometry to make a structural design at Connaught Heights Elementary school.

From kindergarten to high school, more and more classroom learning is projectbased, with students engaged as explorers and discoverers who learn by knowing, doing and understanding.


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Cutting edge connection Technology is fast becoming an everyday part of our changing classrooms. In Colleen Carrington’s room at Queensborough

and multimedia resources for students and teachers

Middle School this winter, grade 6 students were

at every school, but also options like virtual tours.

quietly intent on their chromebook computer

Technology is allowing students to explore projects

screens, researching questions they’d developed about climate change. How does First Peoples’ knowledge help our

and questions more deeply in ways that are relevant to each individual learner. It’s also helping them make connections in cutting edge ways.

understanding of climate change? If people know there’s climate change, why don’t they prevent it? A day or two earlier the class had just experienced a virtual field trip to the Arctic – when they talked live with scientists in the field, directly connected from a classroom screen in Queensborough to global experts.

Currently, there are some 2,300 chromebooks in the district, shared among classes and schools. 500 are at the district’s single high school, effectively supporting 1 in 4 students.

That’s thanks to New Westminster Schools’ new

Together it adds up to an integration of technology

partnership with Discovery Education – which provides

as a natural part of the educational experience.

not only state-of-the-art digital textbooks

Our commitment to equity and access continues.

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Left: Students


Learning in a digital age On one morning at one school, three separate classes happen to be engaged in robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities.

Next door, Namiah Asad’s grade 3-4 class is on the floor in pairs working with Makey Makey construction kits. They’re creating electric circuits using pieces of fruit and other kid-friendly conductors to control the keyboard on a computer and make music. For this class, it’s an introduction to the wonders of science, and the power of

That’s one big commitment to learning a whole

discovering cause and effect.

new language for the 21st century.

On the same day in Anthony del Pino’s

Kindergarten kids in Ms. Nomura’s grade

grade 5 class, students are working with

1-2 class at Lord Kelvin Elementary are using computational thinking to get their bumble

Ozobots – tiny round robots whose sensors respond to different combinations of colour

bee robots to buzz along a floor mat route.

on paper.

As they perch over the big-eyed yellow

Students decide what colours to use to get

bugs, they press forward and back buttons, sequencing the steps by estimating where they want their Bee-Bot to go. In the


their Ozobots to trace a travel route on their desks. They can also determine how their robots will move: at snail pace or turbo

process, they’re solving problems, using

speed, in U-turns, jumps, zigzags or spins.

logic, and taking the first steps in basic

Just another day of learning at New

coding language.

Westminster Schools!

learning basic coding language with Bee-Bots. Right: Ozobots are small toy robots that teach kids programming.


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Beyond the classroom Teachers are reaching beyond the classroom to make rich connections for student learning. The English Department at New Westminster Secondary School launched its first ever literary festival in the spring by celebrating artists in our own backyard. In what may be a first for a high school in BC, the department invited two Drag Queen performers as guests – along with an award-winning Indigenous dramatist; a 3-D artist; a Syrian Canadian refugee author and LGBTQ activist; and more.

“Face time with real journalists, poets, playwrights, novelists, and essayists who are working in the field helps students realize writing and creating are possible options for their own futures,” said Veronica McGhee, creative writing teacher and department head.

TEC H M ENTORS A ND D EEP DI V ES Linking students with the tech industry is another way to take learning beyond the classroom. For an entire term of 24 weeks, 22 high school students at New Westminster Secondary School formed collaborative teams guided by professional designers and developers from local tech companies. The goal: to build mobile apps – computer programs designed to run on a mobile phone or tablet – from beginning to end. Through the Game of Apps non-profit program, students were introduced to the same tools, techniques and processes used in the industry. Their products included an app that gives students a quick read on their grade averages throughout the year; an app for a customizable photography display; and still another that provides tips for relaxation and information about anxiety – useful for anyone with pre-exam jitters! In May, half a dozen student teams demonstrated their apps to a panel of judges made up of local school and city officials. The winning teams continued on to the second annual Game of Apps provincial championships. For district education technology facilitator Sabine Decamp, it’s an impressive accomplishment on the

The weeklong event also revealed for students,

part of students who were introduced to complex

teachers and staff in other school departments how

software development tools.

the literary arts are challenging the lines of race, class, gender, and privilege in society. As for Drag Queens Dust and Mx Bukuru, discussions with nearly 100 students proved a highlight of the festival – thanks to their powerful messages of self-acceptance, resilience, and humour.

For students, the program involved deep-dive workshops in coding and design, along with invaluable real-world insight about the tech industry.

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Learning is also taking place entirely outside of the box.


Muddy Mondays in the afternoons at Lord Kelvin school takes students outdoors to more urban settings, and often to Queen’s Park or on field trips. “We go crazy-town with science,” Musgrove laughed.

In rain, wind, sun and snow, Muddy Mondays and

With the help of teacher supports like the Mystery

Forest Fridays have been taking place for three years

Science website, Musgrove helps her students explore

running at two different schools in the district.

questions like: How do animals make their homes in

For teachers like Stephanie Musgrove and Nancy Baird at Lord Kelvin Elementary, or Laurie Wong

the forest? Where do bugs go in the winter? If you floated down a river where might you end up?

at Connaught Heights Elementary, outdoor

Botany is a key area of kindergarten expertise.

environments offer a rich stimulus for interactive

Students have no problem identifying the world of

learning. Kindergarten kids are connecting with

plants that surrounds them, from hazelnut trees to

nature in ways that are physical, emotional, spiritual

thimbleberries – and stinging nettle!

and cognitive. They’re also making connections to math, social studies, sciences and more.

“Outdoor learning is generally catching on in education – but slowly,” said Musgrove. The

During their weekly Forest Friday mornings at

commitment to year-round outdoor learning takes

Connaught Heights, children typically make use

support from parents – who are introduced to the

of an adjacent park where they play games, create

program during intake interviews and make sure their

patterns with sticks, rocks and leaves, and reflect

children are prepared for all weather conditions.

in their journals while listening and observing the

As for the students, they’ve got it all figured out.

world around them. Each week, they wrap up by incorporating First Peoples’ practices of circle time to express gratitude for parents, friends, or the earth itself.

“We learned that it is much warmer standing in the sun on a cold, wintry day – and that it’s cold in the shade!”


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Our changing worldviews Our educators are on the frontlines of change when it comes to rebuilding relationships with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. That means students are learning about Residential

For high school visual arts teacher M. J. Hunt,

Schools and the attitudes that led to removing

addressing truth before reconciliation involves

Indigenous children from their families and cultures.

encouraging students through art to understand

They’re also learning new ways of thinking and being.

their place in Canadian society as either Indigenous

Students at Richard McBride Elementary took on a project this year of exploring neighbourhood greenspaces and identifying important Indigenous

people, settlers, newcomers or visitors. “We need to think about our own immigrant status, and to also look at the experience of colonization

plants. They then created flashcards to show other

from Indigenous eyes,” she said.

students plant locations, their names, and how

Exploration of identity is also one of the key First

First Nations used them.

Peoples Principles of Learning.

Promoting a sense of place is one of the core First Peoples Principles of Learning. At Fraser River Middle School, students are breaking a Western habit of looking at knowledge as discreet and separate areas of study – such as science, math or social studies. Instead, the entire

As stated by Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem, it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.”

school is focused on a goal that emphasizes cross-

Helping students in our changing classrooms to

curricular explorations – helping students to make

see the value of Indigenous ways of knowing and

connections across subjects as well as to their own

being is the foundation for a new mutual respect,

previous learning and perspectives. That’s a more

understanding, and healing.

holistic, and Indigenous way of knowing.

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Pictured: Highschool students from M. J. Hunt’s visual arts classroom studying Indigenous art styles.

Addressing truth before reconciliation involves encouraging students through art to understand their place in Canadian society as either Indigenous people, settlers, newcomers or visitors.


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Above: Students reflect on how they learn: were they good

We have just begun At heart, the changing classroom is

She was sharing insights from Surrey teacher

Did they play

empowering students to take ownership

Kelli Vogstad’s framework with some of the

fair and share?

of their own learning. It starts with the

800 teachers, staff and administrators at a

youngest students thinking about how they

district-wide professional development day

learn – not just what they are learning.

in September.

After working together on math problems,

One example Lam shared was of a grade 6

Rachel McClelland’s grade 1 class at Queen

student learning French who decided she was


Elizabeth Elementary school gathered on the

good at memorizing and pronunciation. Her

carpet and considered how they spent their

goals or next steps were to study her French

class learning math in pairs and small groups

at least once a week and focus on spelling.

with each other: Did they share ideas and listen? Were they good communicators? Could they play fair and share? Did they take care of the materials and clean up? Students can also take responsibility for understanding where they are in their own learning – by identifying what they can do now, what they can’t do yet – and the next

“I would like to start with days of the week, then to months then to greetings,” she wrote. The idea that students, even in the earliest grades, can be agents in how they learn is part of another profound shift visible across the district.

steps that will help them progress, as Isabella

As Queen Elizabeth Elementary school

Lam, Queen Elizabeth Elementary school

principal Paul Manville noted: “There’s lots

vice-principal, explained last September.

here – we have just begun.”

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Pictured: Students at Fraser River Middle School engage in hands-on learning using problem-solving and design thinking skills.

At heart, the changing classroom is empowering students to take ownership of their own learning. They’re identifying what they can do now, what they can’t do yet – and the next steps that will help them progress.


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Above: Teacher Stacy Brine and student leaders from New Westminster Secondary School are part of a new initiative ensuring

On the frontlines E M B R AC ING C H A NG E For students Kacy, grade 11, and Esther,

student voice in

grade 12, engaging in debates and role-playing

decisions about

around controversial topics, or demonstrating


their learning for visitors at social justice fairs, has added up to one of the most exciting classes they’ve taken in high school.

“We’ve had to think from different perspectives and listen in more thoughtful ways,” said Kacy. “With final exams, you forget the content afterward. Here, we’re not just taking notes, we’re passionate about what we are learning. And that’s 100 percent a good thing!” In BC, the transformation in learning means providing students with an education that is

“It’s an exciting time to be a teacher,” said Stacey Robinsmith – who this year eliminated final exams for his grade 11- 12 social studies class entirely and is shifting to more active approaches to learning for his students.

rigorous – but also flexible and innovative. Finding out what works and what doesn’t in adjusting lessons, activities, experiences and assignments is a teaching challenge – especially for learning that is more personalized, and for assessment that helps students apply content in deeper ways.

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TAKING RISKS TOGETHER One of the most successful programs at New Westminster Schools for inspired change in the classroom is the district’s Innovation Learning Grant program. Now in its third year, the programs has seen the

Innovation Learning Grant Program §§ One project saw high school students using drones – remotely piloted small aircraft equipped with photographic equipment –

effective involvement of hundreds of the

to do fly-overs of both the current school

district’s 550 teachers.

building and the new $106.5 million

Each year, teams of teachers and staff come

state-of-the-art high school replacement

up with an ‘action research’ question centred on an issue that is relevant to their schools and students. They may want to focus on how to improve literacy for all of their grade 1 students through literacy circles. Or they may want to develop school-wide culture by establishing student-run digital and news media clubs at their middle school. Each team submits a proposal for a $3,000 grant to implement their ideas, and at the end of the school year shares evidence for the outcomes of their project with their colleagues.

This year alone saw 35 teams involving 156 teachers and staff collaborating together. “Three thousand dollars is not a lot of money, but it’s the kind of support that gives teachers and staff the freedom to take a risk,” said Maureen McRae-Stanger, Director Instruction, Learning and Innovation. “The program gives teachers and staff

now under construction. In the process, they developed a historical blog of a major transition in the story of New Westminster. The goal: to take learning experiences across subject areas, from science to the arts, to new heights §§ At Lord Kelvin Elementary school, four outdoor ‘mud kitchen’ play stations are helping kindergarten students learn by using their senses – and imaginations – in ways that stimulate their developing brains. §§ Math learning for students in the home learners program at Hume Park is a key focus. This year, the use of math manipulatives like 3D geometric solids, graph boards and algebra tiles helped shift student experiences from a shallow understanding of math concepts to problem solving, pattern recognition and deeper learning. §§ Teachers delivering New Westminster Schools’ on-line learning program are modernizing video modules for students, thanks to their ability to ‘teach with glass’. Using a new video content makerspace and glass chalkboard pumped full of light – teachers can face their video viewers

the power, the choice and the control in

as their writing glows in front of them.

exploring their ideas. It also acknowledges

“It’s super impressive: It’s not Khan Academy,

their expertise and honours their hunches

it’s their own teacher in the video speaking

of what’s best for their kids,” she said.

directly to them,” said McRae-Stanger.



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HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION As Eric Young, president of the New Westminster Teachers Union observed “the Innovation Learning Grant program is a really positive thing. Teachers like the opportunity to collaborate, and they want to see the findings translate to benefit everyone across the district.”

“They enjoy sharing with their parents,” Principal Jen Richter told the Board of Education in the spring. “But we want to move beyond show and tell – and it’s a learning curve to encourage students to explain how they are learning and what their goals are. This is a multi-year project.” “We are getting positive feedback,” said acting Vice-Principal Sonia Maglio. “We are heading in the

Thanks to teacher support, new initiatives like flexible seating and the Zones of Regulation curriculum – helping young students to understand their own emotional states and develop coping mechanisms to help them learn – have been broadly adopted in district schools. FreshGrade is a digital platform that is also increasingly in use across the district. At École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School, FreshGrade gives parents a window into the classroom – and is a way for students to take more ownership of their own learning. Elementary students can upload photos and videos of

right direction – with a lot of work to go.” As Associate Superintendent Maryam Naser explained, “This is a time when we are re-examining everything – from our current practices in classroom instruction to assessment that goes beyond letter grades, quizzes, tests and final exams.” “What drives us is student engagement and support for deeper learning. That requires experimentation and reflection. As a district, we have emphasized collaboration for teacher-led change, support through professional development and new resources like teacher coaches in each of our schools,” said Naser. “We are all working together.”

their activities – and explain to parents and teachers

At New Westminster Schools, education is an ongoing

what they are working on, what they understand, and

journey of exploration, experimentation, collaboration,

how they feel about what they learned.

risk, and discovery – for students and teachers alike!

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Pictured: Associate Superintendent Maryam Naser explores virtual reality as part of a new partnership between the District and City for innovation in education.

From drones and 3-D printers to literacy circles and glass chalkboards, teachers are on the frontlines of incorporating new ideas, tools and approaches in how they teach at New Westminster Schools.


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Pictured: Minister of Education, the Honourable Rob Fleming

One measure of excitement at New Westminster Schools is the variety of honoured international, national and local guests who visited to learn about our programs, launch initiatives, and meet our students.

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Building momentum Canada visited us in February to learn more about our nationally significant school meal program, Fuel Up, that aims to ensure no child is hungry at school and every child eats healthy in our district. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette also took the time to meet with kindergarten and grade 1 students at École Qayqayt Elementary – who proved much more excited about her role as a former astronaut than as a Governor General. However, like all good scientists, it was only after seeing evidence in a photograph of Her Excellency in a space suit that they were satisfied she’d really been in outer space!

Above: Students welcome the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the

W E’ RE CO OKING NOW ! Canada’s 29th Governor General of


Right Honourable Julie

They were then only too happy to ask the pressing questions that matter: Did she meet any aliens during her space trek? And why are space suits orange?

Payette, along with MP Peter Julian, MLA Judy Darcy and Mayor Jonathan Cote. Below: Her Excellency explains that she is a former astronaut.


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Left: We’re cooking with cops! Right: Among our guests: Mayor Jonathan Cote and Police Chief Dave Jones.


enriched through exchange programs,

During our first-ever Cooking with Cops

and more.

event in December, five groups of students

Finally, we celebrated a new partnership with

each teamed up with a local police officer to whip up gourmet dinners for the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New Westminster – along with 80 other guests – in a fun celebration of the links between food, culture, relationships, and learning.

We also hosted an international delegation from France in October as six BC school districts – including New Westminster Schools – signed partnership agreements with several French education regions. The BC Government event proved a wonderful opportunity to showcase our high school’s visual and performing arts students – who brought vibrancy and remarkable talent to the occasion. And now, thanks to our new links with the Académie of Aix Marseille, French language learning

for our 1,100 immersion students can be professional development opportunities,

the City of New Westminster in November to make connections for innovation in education. That includes opportunities for students to explore technology and art at the city’s state-of-the-art New Media Gallery Learning Lab. To mark the occasion, our school leaders visited the Learning Lab to try their own hands at a project – with somewhat mixed results for both art and technology!

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Pictured: Principal Chris Evans (left) and Vice-Principal John Lekakis explore technology and art in learning at the Anvil Centre’s Learning Lab.

Examples like these of our rich connections and partnerships for learning are highlights of work we’ve been doing now to build for our future.


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Above: Five of our seven board members were newly elected in 2018: From left, Danielle Connelly, Gurveen Dhaliwal, Anita Ansari, Dee Beattie and Maya Russell.

ENGAGING OUR WHOLE COMMUNIT Y Our brand new, nearly finalized Five Year help us get clear, get focused and get moving for

Our student symposium in February was

student success – including strengthening

a highlight. It brought 60 students from

our community relationships.

middle and high schools together who spoke

In looking forward, we are especially pleased

eloquently about education issues that

community and beyond.

WE ASKED AND YOU ANSWERED Our district is boards to partner with French academies for French language learning.

bring students more formally into decision-

Strategic Plan charts four key directions to

to engage everyone in our learning

one of six school

New Westminster Schools as we continue to making processes next year.

to have adopted new and dynamic processes


a structural change now unfolding at

mattered to them: from alternatives to letter grades in assessing their learning, to the need for more counselling support. Proving once again that food matters, we launched an evening of talking tables as part

For the first time in our history, for instance,

of our budget process. It was a great way

we incorporated a robust consultation with

for our students, parent advisory council

you – our parents, students, staff and the

representatives, union leaders, teachers,

community – as we passed a balanced and

administrators and school trustees to share a

sustainable $82.9 million budget for the

meal together, enter into guided conversations

coming year.

about the their priorities, and hear each other’s

Through our interactive online forum called

perspectives as they voiced the issues they

Thought Exchange, we heard from 1,300 participants, who shared more than 1,560

wanted to see addressed in our district. “It’s a very powerful process,” said

ideas and provided nearly 86,000 rankings

Secretary-Treasurer Kim Morris. “The more

of the thoughts shared in the survey. The

diverse the decision-making teams are, the

process allowed us to identify top thoughts

better the decision-making will be.”

and key themes around diverse student learning needs, mental health literacy, more resources in the classroom and much more.

In addition, our Five Year Strategic Plan included a process of broad community online surveys, four community dialogue sessions, and

We’re also thrilled to be creating new space

more than 100 interviews by an engagement

for students to share their diverse voices and

team of parents, administrators, district staff,

perspectives on their own education – part of

teachers, trustees, and students.

G O O D T H I N G S A R E H A P P E N I N G : N E W W E S T M I N S T E R S C H O O L S 20 18-19


The result is a budget and a strategic plan that respects the feedback we heard and that will guide us next year and beyond. Thanks to so many shared voices, we are embracing initiatives for the coming years that are clearly making a difference in our student learning and well-being. We are building on a foundation of constructive and positive relationships with our CUPE 409 and New Westminster Teachers Union representatives in a year of labour negotiations as we work together in support of excellent learning environments. With the completion of our long-range facilities plan this year, we are taking stock of the future and preparing now – for new schools, land acquisitions, day care needs and more as the city grows, more housing is planned, and our population expands. We are now at 96% capacity in our 12 schools and three alternate youth programs. That’s expected to grow to 103% by 2028 and 118% by 2041.


The time is now to respond rather than react to future growth. Our plans include expansion of Queen Elizabeth Elementary school, and three new schools in three priority areas. At New Westminster Schools, we are committed to our mission to enable our students to learn in a safe, engaging and inclusive environment. We are breathing life into our values by ensuring they are visible in all we do. And we are striving to make our vision a reality: for New Westminster Schools to be a place where students love to learn. From BeeBots to vocal jazz performances, early learning programs to adult education; and outdoor learning to cross-district bobsled competitions in a local arena jam-packed with excitement, we hope you agree: there is much to look forward to in 2019-2020!

“Every year brings new faces and a new chance to teach. Every year, I’m just as excited as the students are!” – Rachel McClelland, grade 1 teacher Queen Elizabeth Elementary school.

New Westminster Schools recognizes and acknowledges the Qayqayt First Nation, as well as all Coast Salish peoples, on whose traditional and unceded territories we live, we learn, we play and we do our work. New Westminster School District School Board Office School District No 40 811 Ontario Street New Westminster, BC Canada V3M 0J7 604 517 6240 | |

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