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School Growth Plan

Smithers Secondary School Growth Plan


School Rationale:

Smithers Secondary School is undergoing a transformation that allows learning environments to be created that will engage, challenge, and support students of all abilities. The school will need to reorganize and innovate on both a structural and cultural level to enable the school to be a center of learning that provides quality instruction with the choice and flexibility required in today’s education systems. In order to do this, the school will be focussing on how it can build strong positive relationships within the entire school community to support and foster learning and sense of belonging. In addition to this, the school will also focus on how it can engage students while organizing learning environments that teach 21st century skills and employable skills.

Smithers Secondary Inquiry Based Goals:

By framing our goals as questions, the intent is to make the achievement of the school goals a journey that focuses on finding solutions and creating innovative ideas to address specific needs we have identified as a school staff. The two school goals for the 2013/2014 school year are as follows:

  1. 1.How can we create a culture at Smithers Secondary that allows all students to be included and celebrated? (Strong Positive Relationships & Inclusion)
  2. How can we at Smithers Secondary create a learning environment that promotes inquiry and curiosity amongst learners to gain the skills to navigate an ever changing world?

(Student Engagement & Building 21st Century and Employable Skills)

Connections to School District #54 Goals:

The two District goals of using formative assessment to improve literacy and improving the transition and completion rates specifically for Aboriginal students are reflected in our two school goals. We have identified as a staff that in order for any student to have success, there needs to be strong positive relationships in place throughout the entire school community in order for students to feel safe and welcome at school. Improving transition rates and completion will also be improved by creating the structures necessary to have all students included within the school. The second layer in this is determining how we infuse our practice with strategies that engage while focusing on building 21st century and employable skills.

Strategies and Structures to Support School Goals and Objectives:

  1. 1.How can we create a culture at Smithers Secondary that allows all students to be included and celebrated? (Strong Positive Relationships & Inclusion)
  1. How can we at Smithers Secondary create a learning environment that promotes inquiry and curiosity amongst learners to gain the skills to navigate an ever changing world?

(Student Engagement & Building 21st Century and Employable Skills)


Support of School Goals


Differentiated Instruction, UDL, Teaching to Diversity

Targeted teacher professional development with Consultant Shelley Moore to develop strategies for all classroom teachers to teach to a wide variety of learning needs.

Great success with our co-teaching cohorts in grade 8. The teachers involved in the pilot project found great success and want to distribute all the grade 8 students next year rather than create a class of our highest needs learners. They feel this process has built their teaching skills so they can teach a wide range of needs effectively.

Sean Levenson also held numerous teacher planning sessions after school and on NID days to help give teachers the skills needed to teach to a wide range of abilities. We saw teachers accessing the learning center staff more throughout the year for assistance and co-planning.

Inclusive School Spaces

Continue to centralize student services via the Learning Center. The school will continue to move away from separating students based on ability through centralizing student services, providing support and learning for teachers in teaching to diverse populations, and building spaces that limit segregation.

The learning center was a great success this year. There were minimal behavior problems as the learning center had a great mixture of learners in it.

Because of this, more students accessed the learning center than ever before as all felt welcome. This also translates in to how 85% of our grade 10 and 12 students reported that they “respect people who are different from them” – provincial satisfaction survey

Release Time for Building Capacity

Part of the Growth Plan funds will be targeted at supporting staff members to collaborate on innovative new teaching practices that target 21st century skills, school culture building activities, or plan for inclusion. Release time will be used for the following:

  • Co-planning/co-teaching: Staff working with each other to improve practice and decrease teacher isolation.
  • Observation time: teachers will be given opportunities to observe staff members in order to encourage collaboration and professional growth.
  • Teachers can also access time to pursue learning to improve practice and pursue Inquiry, work on Network questions, or create activities/events that target school goals.
  • Encourage cross-curricular planning and teaching.

As the year went on, more and more teachers took advantage of opportunities to collaborate with others. Several of our grade 8 teachers co-taught units with our trades teachers – incorporating trades skills with math and science. Administration also regularly covered classes so teachers could observe their colleagues.

We had 2 teachers who were actively involved in the NOII and numerous teachers involved in Faye Brownlie. Each one of these teaching groups presented in front of our staff. This was a first, but all felt that the climate in meetings had changed enough so they could present new information to their colleagues.

All of our grade 8 teachers are now working together to co-plan themes for the entire grade 8 year. This will be a integrated combination of all academic subject areas. This work has been made possible by releasing teachers and creating a common prep amongst grade 8 teachers for the 2014/2015 school year.

We also had wonderful success this year with our Arts Academy. For the first time ever we attached our four arts teachers with students in the last block of the day. This enabled cross-curricular/subject integration. We will continue with this format next year.

Building 21st Century & Employable Skills

  • Supporting classroom teachers to gain the skills necessary to bring 21st Century Skills into the classroom.
  • Arts Academy – collaborative and team based learning
  • Increased Enrollment in Outdoor Education
  • Project Based Learning:
    • Continue to promote teachers planning for project based learning
    • Geodome Construction, Green Team, Youth for a Better World
    • Student Independent Directed Studies – this year many students are pursuing independent directed studies targeted at environmental/green initiatives
  • Supporting cross grade/curricular student work and teacher collaboration
  • Encouraging and supporting student work experience and teachers bringing their students.
  • Continued promotion of the Trades and increase participation in trades based classes.

We made a big push this year to get students to engage in learning that developed 21st Century and Employable skills. At the grade 8 level, teachers incorporated more project based learning. We also had increased enrollment and interest in the trades. We added sections of trades based courses for the 2015/2015 school year based on student interest. We also have an increased number of students enrolled in the Ace-It program for next year.

In addition to this, there was great success in the construction and development of the SSS Geodome. This was a collaborative project with students and teachers that has gained national attention. The project won the “Judges: Best Project Award” at the BC Green Games. Students from various classes in the school now have their own plots and are growing their own produce. Intgrated into this, is our school wide composting program. The work of the SSS Green Team has been incredible in building a green culture in our school.


Building Strong and Positive Relationships

  • Continue to promote the Spirit Award system
  • Build awareness amongst staff about ways to connect positively with students
  • Staff training at staff meetings specifically targeting the ERASE training & Safe and Caring School Community documents
  • Infuse Aboriginal culture and history into curriculum and school events
  • Anti-Bullying campaigns – Stand-Up
  • Regular monthly spirit assemblies
  • Build a homeroom structure that allows for regular check-ins and spirit activities – i.e – TAG
  • Grade 8 Hike
  • Gay/Straight Alliance
  • Continue to organize school ski days
  • Recognizing student kindness – bracelets, spirit awards, public recognition
  • Increase the number of student/teacher fun activities
  • Empathy Not Apathy – develop a strategy with the CARE committee + Stand-Up to increase tolerance and positive relationships amongst staff and students

The provincial satisfaction survey showed that 72.5% of grade 10 and 12 students at SSS feel safe at school. This year staff was challenged to “adopt” a student. At staff meetings, we would regularly share our vulnerable students list and staff would adopt a student and work towards building a connection with that student. This was done in conjunction to regular tracking of our vulnerable students.

In addition to this, we held several monthly spirit assemblies that were meant to build connections with and amongst the student population.

Overall, there was definite improvement in the profile and importance throughout our school in building strong positive connections. This is an area that our school will want to continue to pursue as it will serve as the backbone to our future success.

Data Tracking for Success

The following data methods will be used to track student    progress:

  1. Accurate tracking of vulnerable students. Data collection is accompanied by targeted interventions.
  2. Demand Read & Write Data (Fall and Spring)
  3. Student Survey’s (Fall & Spring)
    1. Targeting school safety & relationships
    2. Anecdotal notes
    3. Transition rates
    4. Office Referral Data

Counsellors and admin met monthly to review the vulnerable students list. This list was then shared every month with staff. Regular updates and emergent issues were emailed out on a regular basis.

Demand Read and Write Data”



Office Referral Data: This was the first year that admin constantly tracked office referrals. This years data will be used as a baseline for next year.

Partnerships with NWCC

Continue to build collaborative partnerships with Northwest Community College.

  • Environmental Monitor Assistant Program (EMAP)
  • Biology 12/101 Collaborative Teaching Model
  • Intro to Trades – laddering program to promote trades and increase success in the ACE-IT program
  • BVLC – continued growth in collaboration and access for BVLC students on the Smithers NWCC campus.

The partnership between Smithers Secondary and NWCC continues to grow. During first semester, there were upwards of 100 SSS students accessing NWCC on any given day.

EMAP – was a great success with all 16 students passing the program. For the 2014-2015 school year, we had 50 students sign up for EMAP. Unfortunately we were only able to take 15.

The Bio 101/Bio 12 partnership was a great success. Students reported great satisfaction with the program. This is a program that will most likely run every second year.

Intro to Trades – the Intro to Trades program was a big success this year. We ran 2 cohorts of 16 students each. SSS will be running another 2 cohorts next fall.

BVLC – In addition to serving as an alternate education environment for students, the BVLC expanded its role this year by becoming the SSS liaison for all students taking courses and programs at NWCC. Staff at the BVLC regularly tracked and checked in with students who were taking NWCC programs. A concerted effort was made this year to change the perception of the BVLC in the minds of the average SSS student. It is becoming a location of choice for many and the BVLC is now providing students with the opportunity to flexible complete their courses while pursuing a variety of NWCC programs. For instance, this year we had several students enrolled at the BVLC complete the Health Care Assistant Program. The number of BVLC and SSS students that were cross enrolled between the two schools also increased. In the near future, students will view the BVLC and SSS as one campus with different opportunities. The perception change is already well underway.

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