NWSS Site Stories

The power of the arts to inspire

Site Stories was an incredible multi-media presentation by Grade 10 students from NWSS. They took the sights and sounds of NWSS and have preserved them for all time. It is a wonderful example of creative collaboration between teachers and classes to create a memorable exhibit. It is a fantastic example of the power of the Arts in inspiring students to be creative and descriptive. My thanks go out to Dragana Sacco  and Jenny Simpson for an exciting example of professional collaboration.

The following is the ArtStart  Press Release on the Exhibit. Followed by my pictures from todays Exhibition.

Site Stories Exhibition at NW Secondary School:

10th graders to share new art works inspired by stories of their school

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – January 4, 2017

After 14 weeks of exploring the sites and stories of their school, sixty 10th graders from NWSS will share their original art works in a three day exhibition. The opening reception will take place on Wednesday, January 11 from 5:30-7:00pm, and the exhibition will be open during school hours on January 12 and 13. The show features new 2-D, 3-D, site-specific and time-based works conceived and completed by the students.

Since September 2016, artists Mark Cunningham and Julie Hammond have collaborated with classroom teachers Dragana Sacco, English, and Jenny Simpson, Art, to implement a program that paired expanded ideas of art making with explorations of the school building and location. Each week students learned about and used contemporary art practices—from scores to readymades to text and street art—as jumping-off points for making drawings, temporary sculptures, audio recordings, and carrying out a stencil bomb of the school hallways (sanctioned by school administration, of course). In-school activities were supplemented by research at the New Westminster Archives, a visit from Qayqayt Chief Rhonda Larabee, and field trip to Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery.

“As the NWSS community wraps up our time in the current building, we were thrilled to dive deeply into exploring what this space is and has been,” said English teacher Jenny Simpson. “It’s been remarkable to see students use and develop art tools to question and investigate places they have previously taken for granted.”

“As artists, we can illuminate the past and imagine the future in unexpected ways,” adds artist Julie Hammond. “Through this project students have been given the freedom to explore what matters to them and how they want to share their ideas with the community.”

MORE INFO: www.nwsssitestories.blogspot.ca

The Site Stories project was made possible in part by an ArtStarts Artist in the Classroom Grant and the NWSS PAC, and takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Qayqayt First Nation.

Posted by Mark Cunningham and Art Starts

img_2648img_2651img_2646

img_2649img_2650

img_2647

Mission Statement (Round 2)

The New Westminster School Board met in an open public meeting last night (with no public in attendance) and decided to continue developing the Mission Statement. After working for almost 90 minutes the Board and Senior Staff pared it down to 4 statements:

  1. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.
  2. To engage and enable each student to learn in a caring environment.
  3. To inspire each student with relevant and safe learning experiences.
  4. To engage and enable each student to learning in a safe, caring and inclusive environment.

Thoughts? Comments?

School District Mission Statement and Policy Development

Over the next month the New Westminster School District will be developing a new Mission Statement, and adopting a new Policy Manual (indeed a new approach to governing the School District).

The New Westminster School Board is working to update the Mission Statement for the school district in light of the changes in educational direction. The Mission Statement and School District values are the drivers of decision making in the District.

In the past former Superintendent John Woudzia would challenge us with his question of who was the decision serving, and if the answer was not the students then Dr Woudzia would always suggest that the decision be revisited. While that was not actually included in either our District Mission Statement it drove decision making for years, although it was not always successful in meeting student needs over adult preferences. A Mission Statement should be short and memorable, it should reflect who we are and and what we want and expect the District to be.

Currently the School District Mission Statement says:

The New Westminster School District is committed to ensuring that learners become self-assured, self-sufficient, caring, wise, flexible, and able to live successfully in an ever-changing environment.

At a recent public Board meeting (that no member of the public attended) the Board spent some time coming up with wording around a new Mission Statement asked Superintendent Pat Duncan to wordsmith create a new Mission Statement. His report to the Board for (Tuesday, Jan 10) is as follows,

Strategic Planning & Direction: January 3, 2017

Creating our Mission Statement

At the Special Open Board Meeting held on January 3, 2017, the the Board of Education continued the process of establishing a Strategic Direction for the New Westminster School District.   In the second of a series of meetings, the Trustees continued work on establishing a mission statement to guide our District in strategic planning and direction.

To establish a meaningful mission statement the Trustees were tasked with answering the following question: “Why do we exist as an organization?” The intent of this question is to help reach agreement regarding the fundamental purpose of our School District (and more specifically, what is the fundamental purpose of school?).  This clarity of purpose will assist to establish priorities and will become an important factor in guiding decisions.

Trustees were asked to be mindful of needless clutter, buzz words and jargon. Ideally, mission statements for school districts should be 8-10 words. The goal is to clearly articulate and clarify for the community our District’s fundamental purpose.

Below are the statements created by Trustees. The highlighted phrases are concepts that Trustees agreed were essential.  It was also agreed that the phrase “all students” was preferable to the word “learners”.

  • Nurture curiosity, creativity and joy in learning
  • Enable learners to reach full potential in meeting challenges in an ever-changing world.
  • To provide a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  • To love learning.
  • To nurture learners to reach their potential and contribute to an ever-changing world
  • To allow (prepare?) all to flourish in an ever-changing world
  • To fully support each student
  • To create a rich & diverse environment with engaging programs to inspire each student to successfully live in our ever-changing community (or world, culture)
  • To create conditions for every student to learn, grow & engage in an ever-changing world

 

At the conclusion of the January 3, 2017 Special Open Board Meeting, the Board of Education requested that the Superintendent of Schools take the statements created by the Trustees and attempt to synthesize and capture the sentiments in a number of draft statements.  Below, please find the draft statements:

  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning environment.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning environment so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning environment so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning environment so that they may reach their full potential and meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture each student in a safe, caring, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, nurturing, engaging & inclusive learning community.
  1. To fully support each student in a safe, caring, and engaging learning community.
  1. To support each student in a safe, nurturing, engaging & inclusive learning community.

 

  1. To enable each student to reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for every student.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student in a safe, caring & inclusive learning community.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may reach their full potential in meeting the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To nurture curiosity, creativity and the joy of learning for each student so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To instill the love of learning in each student.
  1. To nurture the love of learning in each student.
  1. To nurture curiosity and the love of learning in each student so that they may meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
  1. To nurture curiosity and the love of learning in each student so that they may reach their full potential.
  1. To nurture each student to reach their full potential and contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To enable each student to reach their full potential and contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & engage in an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & contribute to an ever-changing world.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & reach their full potential.
  1. To create the conditions for every student to learn, grow & reach their full potential in an ever-changing world.

Out of the Box Thinking

  1. To inspire.
  2. To inspire each student.
  3. To inspire and support each student.
  4. To inspire in a dynamic world.
  5. To inspire each student in a dynamic world.
  6. To inspire and support each student in a dynamic world
  7. To nurture and support all students.
  8. To nurture and support each student.
  9. To support each student in their pursuit of learning.
  10. To support each student in their pursuit of knowledge.
  11. To enhance each students’ life chances through education.
  12. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.
  13. To serve our students.
  14. To serve our students in a safe, caring and engaging environment.
  15. To serve each student.
  16. To serve each student in a safe, caring and engaging environment.
  17. To serve each student in a transforming world.
  18. To prepare each student for a transforming world.
  19. To assist each student to prosper in a transforming world.
  20. To improve the life chances of each student.
  21. To improve the life chances of every student.
  22. To foster and inspire.
  23. To foster and inspire each student.
  24. To foster and inspire each student in a safe, caring and engaging community.

 

Returning

I have decided to turn to the Blogsphere in an attempt to engage people in New Westminster about School Board and School District issues. It has been an enormous frustration of mine that over the years few people engage with the School District unless there is a problem or an issue.  Typically we have 2 or fewer people attend our public meetings and we have not been successful in finding a way to engage people. My goal here is to post before, and hopefully after, Board meetings to let people know about what issues are coming up, or about what is happening. I will, of course, also add my opinion to the mix.

Over the years the New Westminster School Board had 5 Community based committees (Education, Social Responsibility, Finance, Operations and a District Advisory Committee) when those committees struggled with quorum issues they were amalgamated into Education and Social Responsibility and Finance and Operations.  Once again they struggled with quorum and were eventually dropped, to be replaced by different variations of our current structures, Board public Committees, with flexible rules to allow and encourage public participation.

I am hoping that by starting an online communication tool with our community it will allow us to get some further level of engagement and community involvement.

So here we go.