Our Learning Story 2022-2023
At SMS this year, we continue on the journey we started last year.
We continue to work under the co-constructed guiding focus of "Creativity, Connection, and Curiosity".
Social Emotional Learning is establishing itself as our foundational rock as we journey towards learning about and embedding Trauma Informed Practices in our way of life at SMS.
Staff has opportunities to collaborate during embedded collaboration time which has created an amazing synergy in our building.
Our theme for the year is "BE A STAR".
Our Learning Story 2021-2022
We start our journey this year under the co-constructed guiding focus of "Creativity, Connection, and Curiosity".
We are honoured and humbled to be able to gather and learn on the beautiful traditional and unceded territory of the Sylix Okanagan People. Our amazing community consists of over 575 students who come to us from the four neighbouring elementary schools: Belgo Elementary, Black Mountain Elementary, Quigley Elementary and Springvalley Elementary School. Our students are supported by a Principal, Vice Principal and 3 administrative assistants, 27 section teachers, 7 exploratory teachers, 2 resource teachers, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and a Learning Assistance Teacher, and three advocates in our Gathering Room. We are also fortunate to have 29 Certified Educational Assistants, 5 noon hour supervisors, 4 custodians and 5 bus drivers supporting our learner's needs.
We firmly believe that social – emotional nourishment is essential before any educational endeavors can be achieved. A strong sense of connection and belonging is critical to a child's overall success. In our KAT classes [stands for Kids and Teachers] which is a community of students from all grade levels, every morning student and teachers explore Character Strong – a middle school program focusing on school wide initiatives that foster our positive and engaging culture. We want students to celebrate who they are as individuals and how they can contribute to our world.
SMS is a Happy Place! Our theme this year is "OUR EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST". Music has a universal connection - it is a friend, it is an escape, it is transformative, and it defines moments. Alphonso de Lamarline said, " Music is the literature of the heart: it commences where speech ends". Let our musical journey begin!
We are delighted that this year we can go back to providing enrichment opportunities to all our learners! Every Friday morning the students get to explore and learn a topic of their choice from the smorgasbord of opportunities provided by our teachers! From archery to crochet, from chess to STEAM, from hockey to yoga! This is an hour of learning outside the constrains of assignments and marks. We create this opportunity for students to explore their passions and wonders to encourage and support student efficacy.
As staff, we continue to persevere in our journey to ensure the best learning experiences for our students by continuing to explore and apply the OECD principles of learning. Our journey will be to revisit these principles this by focusing on promoting student agency through equity.
Our Learning Story 2017-2019
Our Learning Story 2020-2021
Springvalley Middle School is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Sylix Okanagan People. The school serves over 560 students feeding from four elementary schools: Belgo Elementary, Black Mountain Elementary, Quigley Elementary and Springvalley Elementary School. Our staff includes a Principal, Vice Principal and 3 administrative assistants as well as, 25 section teachers, 6 exploratory teachers, 3 resource teachers, part time classroom support teachers, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and a Learning Assistance Teacher. We are also fortunate to have over 15 Certified Educational Assistants, 6 noon hour supervisors, 4 custodians and 5 bus drivers supporting our learner's needs.
This year we are empowering our students with the courage to be themselves with a school theme of "Be You." Our school has homeroom classes each morning for twenty-six minutes where they work on school wide initiatives that foster our positive and engaging culture. In the middle years of child development, a strong sense of connection and belonging is critical to a child's overall success. We want students to celebrate who they are as individuals and how they can contribute to our world. We consistently change our school bulletin boards and have signage around the school supporting our theme of personal growth.
Our inquiry is focused on: how might we build community by recognizing our individual strengths? At Springvalley Middle School we recognize each learner for their individual story, we see their strengths and design instruction that will help each learner thrive holistically.
A holistic approach to education allows us to put each student at the center of their learning and consider their social emotional well being, their connection to peers, their strengths and how to best serve their learning needs. According to Abraham Maslow's research, students are ready to learn when their hierarchy of needs is met.
During the global pandemic of COVID-19 ensuring that students feel psychologically safe is our first priority. This year our school staff has spent time learning about psychological safety and how to help students in an uncertain time. We used research from CASEL: Collaborative Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning to deepen our understanding of the psychology of the brain and how it impacts our ability to learn. Through activities, like the homeroom described above, we are able to check in with students each day and help them be ready to engage in meaningful learning.
Our school is focused on growing each learners understanding of the Provincial Core Competencies. The competencies allow learners to explore curriculum in purposeful ways to prepare them to be contributing members of society. We prepare students with foundational skills such as Math, Reading, and Writing as well as skills in communication, critical and creative thinking and personal and social identity. We allow students to explore their individuality through various programs such as; Music, Metalwork, Woodwork, Physical Education, Home Economics and Enrichment activities.
In order to ensure that we are making enough of a difference for each learner, we continuously engage in a cycle of inquiry, using Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser's Spirals of Inquiry model. Follow our inquiry here.
Springvalley Middle School (SMS) is a school that services a population of approximately 450 students who come from diverse backgrounds and stories. Historically, a significant emphasis has been placed on the social-emotional aspect of a child's time at the school. As a result, the school growth plan goals have traditionally reflected this, as have the data gathered to support the goal. This was borne from the two-fold recognition that the school serves a population that includes a large number of vulnerable learners, and secondly, from the understanding that in order for any student to experience academic success, he or she must first feel safe and have their basic needs met before engaging in meaningful learning. To that end SMS has, over the years, developed a number of strategies and supports to create the foundation for effective learning. Additional goals were also developed to focus on enhancing numeracy and literacy as two critical areas of a child's educational experience.
At the start of the 2015/2016 school year, Springvalley Middle School underwent a significant restructuring as it reconfigured from a Gr. 7-9 senior middle school to a Gr. 6-8 junior middle school. This reconfiguration afforded the opportunity for the staff to revisit the school vision and what was wanted for the learners of Springvalley Middle School. As well, during the 2015/16 school year, the district adopted a new model for communicating individual school growth to the community at large. Rather than setting goals and working to meet targets as in the past, the newly adopted model is more responsive to student needs as it begins with inquiring about what is happening for the learners and in turn, informs directions for the staff of the school. Specifically, the guiding question is asked, "What's going on for our learners?" As such, this year has proven to be a process of both learning about the inquiry model while simultaneously engaging in the process. Identified below is a brief visual of of the implementation plan we are following. (cont'd below the diagram)