Good morning parents,
Many of you will have already received the Accountability Pillar Survey that is mailed home from Alberta Education directly to parents of grade 7 and 10 students. We encourage you to please respond to this survey. This feedback is critical for us as we set our growth goals for development and maintain practices that are areas of strength, especially with the changes toward the Assurance Model Framework. Your feedback directly shapes the priorities that we focus on for school improvement and educational planning.
***Please note that if you select “Don’t Know” as an option, it reflects negatively in the data collection but offers us no clear indication of your thoughts, perceptions, or concerns. The survey is a great opportunity for you to find out more about Westwood. If you are tempted to select “Don’t Know” about a topic, contact us at (780) 791-19876 and ask so you can give an informed opinion.
Below you will find a summary of some highlights that will provide you with some information that you might find useful when answering those survey questions.
As you know, this past year we have been navigating through a global pandemic. Some of these regular supports that are indicated here have remained, while others have had to be temporarily suspended due to gathering and social distancing restrictions. Our Health and safety of our school community has been pivotal in our operations over this past calendar year.
Westwood is a Safe & Caring School. We take the health and safety of our students very seriously, especially under the pandemic of COVID-19. In addition to the many steps that the FMPSD has taken to help ensure the health and safety of students, Westwood has done the following:
- Updated and communicated the Westwood specific Re-Entry Plan monthly
- Provided an orientation to the safety measures when students arrived on their staggered entry days to school this year.
- Cohorting of students where possible
- Reorganizing school entrances to minimize contact across cohorts
- Social media reminders of school protocols
- Providing disposable masks to students who forget theirs at home
- Providing alternate social interactions through videos, class-based activities (eg: Kahoot activities at lunch time), alternate learning settings where possible (eg: outside).
- Slowly integrated the use of lockers for student storage in a student-centred approach.
- Established a Breakfast Program this year for ALL students to access.
- Leadership opportunities through Student Council, Principal’s Advisory Council, Computer Science, Green Initiative and other bodies. Westwood has had student representatives at the Minister’s Youth Council for 3 years running, and a high number of students (30+) involved in MACOY (Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth)
- Classroom health and wellness presentations related to digital literacy, sleep, vaping, etc.
- First Nations, Metis and Inuit Cultural Navigator to enhance cultural knowledge and support student learning of the 7 Teachings of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples
- Tips from students to students in a video message about how to maintain positive mental health during these times (through the Principal’s Advisory Council)
- Provided counseling supports to students and families
- The Westwood staff has worked hard to maintain the safety of the school community by closely following COVID protocols and as a result, has been minimally impacted directly by COVID-19 cases in school, which is fantastic.
- Westwood has provided an E-Cademy+ option for online learning for students and families who wish to remain learning virtually through the 2020-2021 school year.
Westwood offers an array of academic supports to help students:
- 30 minute tutorial time embedded into the regular school day for grades 9-12.
- 30 minute literacy time daily for the grade 7 & 8 students.
- 2 resource rooms available for additional literacy, numeracy, and subject specific supports (** extra Help during select PLF days)
- after school help and tutorials by request to teachers (even during COVID)
- Math Leadership group offers peer tutoring for Math and are expanding into Science
- Dedicated time built into the timetable Literacy and tutorial supports for JH classes.
Student Services offers:
- Academic counseling by counselors assigned to each grade level to work with students.
- English Language Learning support through the MCA (Multicultural Association) for individual help for students.
- We have an Indigenous Support Worker who has been very active in helping to make connections with First Nations, Metis and Inuit students for their success in personal, cultural, and academic growth
- Mental Health support is provided by:
- our mental health psychologist who supports students in their mental health needs
- when requested or required, help setting up outside counselor supports (Family Settlement Workers, outside counselors, Addictions counseling, etc.)
Communication home to families:
We communicate with parents through the various methods:
- Monthly Email Updates from Principal
- Semi-monthly Newsletter
- Westwood website
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
- PowerSchool Parent Portal for marks and attendance
- School Messenger system for attendance reporting and any additional email communications
- Teachers also send home an introduction email with information about the course that they will be teaching your child. They have their contact information included with information about access to Google Classroom (if applicable).
School Council and School Advisory Council Meetings, a place where parents can contribute to the discussion about the development of the school and other important matters. It is a place where parents can share their voice and become active contributors to the school community. This year they have been virtual, and we have seen an increase in participation. All parents are eligible to join, and we encourage and invite parents to share in the conversation for school improvement. We value the solid partnership that we have established with our School Council for the benefit of our students.
Developing School Culture and Student Citizenship are two specific areas that we have focused more on over the past year under COVID-19 realities. We would normally start the month of September off with a Spirit Day to start to build the school spirit as a community. This year we have done alternate school culture building activities to help support our student community flourish. With our staff’s leadership, and the support of Student Council, we have:
- provided Westwood Masks to every student
- classroom based Halloween activities and costume competitions
- have promoted social media events (eg: Grad Theme Week on Social Media)
- Strongly promoted Westwood Wednesday’s and Trojan of the Month
- hosted virtual events such as a Kahoot during lunch time for a fun activity as well as Val-o-grams, Kindness Bingo,
- Celebrated important national and community events such as Orange Shirt Day (honour Indigenous peoples and promote the spirit of reconciliation), Bell Lets Talk (mental health promotion), Pink Shirt Day (promote Kindness and to stand up against bullying) and other acts to promote active citizenship and character leadership.
We have Volunteer and leadership classes for all students to take. Our goal is centered around building relationships with students, building leaders, and building a community of learners that are supportive of each other. Staff members have also taken on leadership roles as a professional focus in their development. We are committed to continuing our Tradition of Excellence at Westwood.
We recognized students in grades 7-12 in the areas of Perseverance and Citizenship.
We are dedicated to embedding character education into the lives of the learning experience here at Westwood, through our many classes, but most notable through our leadership and volunteer classes. Every Westwood student has access to taking this option class; it is mandatory for junior high students. Westwood offers an array of option classes to expose students to various types of learning and experiences. We have courses in the following areas:
Many of these programs allow opportunities for students to connect with real life learning and preparation for life-long learning, such as:
- our Junior Leadership option and Community Volunteerism classes, where students learn and strive to actively contribute to our community.
- We have various community events and activities that students are involved in to promote active citizenship such as: Terry Fox Foundation, Wood Buffalo Food Bank, Centre of Hope, Northern Lights Regional Hospital, the United Way, and various other campaigns and causes.
- Programs like the RAP (Registered Apprenticeship Program), Power Engineering and Work Experience offer the foundation for students to see the hands on programs with a direct correlation for the world of work.
- Formally introducing performance based assessment for real world application of curricular learning
- In grade 11, students take a course called CALM 20 (Career and Life Management) that helps them to create resumes, learn the process of job readiness (interview skills, budgeting and other exposure to community youth awareness information).
- Finance 10 Option helps with learning about financial investments and how to become involved in one’s own financial future
- We encourage student leadership for Assemblies as MCs, creating the virtual Remembrance Day ceremony as a class leadership opportunity, promoting
- We have peer mentorship opportunities for students within the building
- We are encouraging students to be innovative through the application of computer science and environmentally aware through our work in the Green Initiative group and hosting STEM camps for elementary aged students.
Continuous Improvement We are committed to celebrating our excellence but also continuing to improve in the following ways:
- Strong relationship with the School Council, where the School Growth Plan is shared and an opportunity to have input into the plan. Monthly meetings provide dialogue and
- Detailed analysis of Accountability Pillar and various survey results to identify areas of strength and growth opportunities for improvement
- Many opportunities for student leadership and for student voices to be heard through:
- Student Council
- Principal’s Advisory Council (development of leadership portfolio, direct consultation and feedback for school improvement and studying the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.
- First Nations, Metis and Inuit Student Advisory Council
- FMPSD Student Advisory Council
- Volunteer opportunities through Health Services
- representation on the Minister’s Youth Council at the provincial level (3 years running)
- Focused Professional Development for staff in the CRM (Collaborative Response Model) for student interventions for classroom leveled intervention, which is research-based
- Dedicated time for Division staff for professional collaboration
There is a wide variety of Extra Curricular Activities available in a regular year. We have had to limit, pause or turn to a virtual meeting place for some of our regular programing, which includes:
- Sports - Volleyball, Golf, Basketball, Curling, Football, Badminton, Cross Country Running, Track & Field & Rugby
- Math Leadership Group, which includes Peer Tutoring
- Robotics club for Junior High and High School students, Youth Computing, Queen’s In Code
- SADD (Students Against Drinking & Driving, or Distracted Decisions)
- COLOURS - Multicultural group
- One Acts & Annual Drama Production, Westwood Improv Team (WIT)
- Student Council, Westwood GSA, Westwood Ambassadors, Debate Club, Woodworking Club
- Principal’s Advisory Council, with opportunities for more youth leadership in studying the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.