In May, PWSD Trustees and Superintendent Sheldon Rowe visited Beaverlodge Regional High School (BRHS) to participate in a school tour and meet with high school students as part of their new strategy to engage with students throughout the Division.
Through revamped school visits, Trustees are now able to gather input on what works, from the student perspective. The format of the visit varies by school, but typically begins with a fine arts performance or a student-led tour of the building. Trustees then break into small groups with students for a brief presentation on School Board governance, followed by engaging in conversations to determine what excites them about their school.
Grade 12 students Jule Eastman and Savanna McKay led the Board on a tour of the school, which included a stop in the art classroom, followed by a visit to the gymnasium and fitness area where Trustee Richard Lappenbush couldn't resist joining in on the basketball action.
The open foyer of the school features a seating area, fondly known as "The Pit." On this day, Grade 10 social studies students were gathered for a Riparian Tour presentation on sustainability and resources. The event included information on the pollination of bees, water conservation, and water resources that come from mountains. A follow-up field trip to a local park provided hands-on learning related to the presentations.
The Board toured the shop class, then moved through a packed hallway during a classroom change to the foods lab which, on that day, was being led by Brittany Jones who was working at the school on her first day of substitute teaching. Life has come full-circle for Ms. Jones, a BRHS alumna who recently graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Alberta.
One thing was clear during the tour – the teaching staff at BRHS are capable of wearing many hats. When the Board stopped in to visit the Biology 30 lab, they met Mr. Rourke, a certified architect who teaches Biology 30, architecture and paleontology to BRHS students. Mr. Rourke also gave the Board a brief lesson in 3-D printing.
In keeping with the "many hats" theme, the next stop on the tour was a yoga class led by Ms. Nordhagen, French teacher at BRHS and certified yoga instructor. Yoga is a locally-developed course that has proven popular among BRHS students. Currently, three blocks of Yoga 15 are offered, and next year students will be able to advance to Yoga 2535, a new course for the school.
Following the tour, the Board met with a group of students in the library for the student engagement activity on School Board governance, and gathered feedback on what is working well at the school. Groups worked together to come up with three words to describe what makes their school special. The words were entered into a 'Wordle' – a digital application used to create a visual word cloud in which words that appear most frequently are given greater prominence – that can be printed as a poster for the school.
The Board enjoyed a delicious lunch with school staff before moving on to the nearby Beavelodge Elementary School.
For more photos from the tour, click here to visit PWSD's Facebook page.