School Growth Plan
PHSS is a small rural high school on the north end of the Sechelt Peninsula on the Sunshine Coast. Historically the First Nations settlement of kalpilin, within the traditional, unceded lands of the shíshálh Peoples, Pender Harbour is a unique community, which traditionally was resource based – fishing and logging. With a shift in the economic base, the resulting demographic changes has led to a declining student population. PHSS also serves a community with a cross-section of families, socio-economically.
We have been faced with small cohorts of students, which has made it challenging to offer a broad-based educational program. Recently, we implemented a new school structure and timetable based on Thomas Haney Secondary’s and AL Fortune’s Flexible Education Model. What we like about the Flex Ed and Self-Directed model is that we are able to structure the delivery of the courses with student learning at the forefront. We are able to offer a wider variety of courses within the timetable, structured so that there is more time for teachers and students to work individually or in groups with teacher support, with the amount of time that the students need and not what the class schedule requires. There is flexibility in terms of the number of “Seminar” classes students take, while we set the number of face-to-face classes at 2 to 3 per week depending on the class. We have also shortened the length of the classes to one-hour blocks and integrated courses into “Humanities” and “STEM” and provided double blocks for our junior grades. We also have Exploration blocks (Passion blocks) which are elective courses driven by student interest. This year some of the courses offered include: Volleyball, Makeup, Relaxation, Social Justice, Golf and Indigenous Culture. The results from our Learning Community Needs Assessment at PHSS has led to our partner groups creating a vision for PHSS moving forward. Students, staff, and parents, have taken part in a Values Assessment/Reflection. This reflection was guided by the questions: What values should guide our school program? What values would you like to be at the core of PHSS for you as a student/staff member/parent?
The results of this assessment and the District’s Strategic Plan make up the foundation and lens through which our school guidelines and policies are shaped.
The Values that guide our practice are PHSS CARES :
We also try to ensure our students maintain a high level of physical activity via our full year intramural program. COVID-19 has limited our extra-curricular programs, but we encourage active living for all. Our entire school participates in the annual Terry Fox Run, Move for Health Day and the annual PHSS Sports Day. Some of our junior students participate in Mountain Biking Program supported by the Community School. Each term has at least one Exploration block that promotes an active lifestyle (Golf, Basketball, and Volleyball, are three examples this year).
We are well supported by community members who volunteer in various ways, including: coaching sports, running our hot lunch program, assisting in boat building for the annual April Tools Boat Race, and leading our Exploration blocks. These experiences help create and keep the connection to a very supportive community.
Our student population includes 31% students with Indigenous ancestry. We are working to increase cultural awareness at PHSS by Indigenizing Curriculum through multiage, cross curricular, class and school wide projects and field experiences.
- Indigenous Student Success: 100% of our Indigenous students graduated in 2020.
- 60% of grads pursued WEX.
- 90% of Grade 10-12 students are taking more than eight courses
- 33 Students with a Ministry designation. This makes up 49% of the student body that may require extra supports and interventions in place.
With our high percentage (49%) of students with designations, we need to address how we can best meet the needs of all students. This led us into changing the model of delivery in Special Education at PHSS. We have moved from a “pull out” model to a tiered response model (RTI). We are seeing many more students who have suffered trauma and abuse and are shifting both our practice (Trauma Informed Schools) and the make up of our learning environments. We are in the process of creating more spaces to help our students with SEL and Self-regulation. This is being done by adding more support staff and more Tier 2 (small group) and Tier 3 (intensive one on one support) spaces. We are also seeing more students in the community struggling to have their basic needs met and are relying on the school to feed them. We understand that if a student’s basic needs are not being met, it will be difficult to focus on learning.
We are engaging with community partners to help address these needs, along with the many mental health challenges students are struggling with.
In addition, the move to the Flex Ed model allows students to take more courses based on interest, thus promoting a lifelong learner environment. This is evident in that 90% of senior students take more than the prescribed courses for graduation.
- All students will be supported in our Flex Ed Model with numeracy and literacy, specifically in Seminar Blocks by a teacher or EA
- All Students will be provided the opportunity to participate in Career Exploration and Work Experience Classes
- All students will be supported by a Response to Intervention (RTI) Framework -Providing tiered supports for both Academic and Social Emotional Interventions)
We will make Mental Health a School Wide Goal this year for staff and students. We are adding more Social Emotional Learning spaces for students who require Tier 2 and 3 interventions. We are also focusing on Wellness for all staff and students in order to foster a healthy learning environment.
100% of students will successfully graduate.
PROGRESS on Targets
- Humanities & STEM teachers work with our students during assigned Seminar blocks to support student learning.
- Students meet periodically with our SD46 Career Coordinator Cathy Gordon to explore Career and Work Experience opportunities. Students are also participating in career related field trips, Career Day, Trades programs at the PSI Day. Grade 12 students are being offered the Workplace Certificate program.
- We are adding more defined Tier 1,2,and 3 Interventions in place to support students academically and behaviourally.
- Implementing more literacy and numeracy strategies/supports at the school level: We have implemented a weekly Silent Reading Program to encourage a life-long love of reading and to enhance student literacy We have implemented a 3-Tiered approach: School and class wide (T1), small group(T2), and Individual/intensive (T3) interventions. We are also looking to collaborate with MPES in discussing literacy and Numeracy rates as students transition from one school to the next.
As we try and meet our goals and the needs of all our students, we have seen a need for staff to take more professional development in supporting students with Mental Health Challenges. We have been working though Dr. Martin Broken Leg’s Circle of Courage to create a sense of belonging with our card campaign last year, school-wide activities and weaving into Mastery via a Blanket Exercise and school-wide reading. We are working with our Community partners to help create a healthy, safe, trauma informed environment for students, along with addressing reconciliation. There has been a significant impetus behind supporting Truth and Reconciliation initiatives with staff and students.
engaging parents and students
School goals are discussed at PAC meetings and with parents/guardians in general. Most of our goals are in response to student and parent feedback—these are in line with the SD46 Strategic Plan. We have implemented a Pender Harbour School App (MYPHSS), which has resulted in better communication for both parents and students with the school.
As we continue to strengthen the connection between students and their entire learning community, we have asked all partners to engage in language supporting a Growth Mindset. This is based on Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” Dweck 2011). Students who embrace growth mindsets—the belief that they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere—may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.
engaging with our indigenous education team
Our entire staff is working closely with Kerry Mahlman, Shannon McCarthy , Tammy Saigeon and our District Indigenous Support Team, in order to weave Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning across all subject areas. We are using the book, Ensouling Our Schools: A Universally Designed Framework for Mental Health, Well Being, and Reconciliation (Jennifer Katz, Kevin Lamoureaux) as a guide in this weaving. This involves cross-curricular, place based learning opportunities for students to engage individually, in small groups and with integrated whole class/school field experiences. Some recent examples include our School Welcoming Poles Project which celebrated the second Pole raising at PHSS in two years. This was achieved through our Indigenous Support Team and Master Carver Arnold Jones in engaging students to taking an active role in the carving and painting of our School Welcoming Poles. The cross curricular pole project allowed our students the opportunity to carve, plan the traditional community celebration, cater the event, and actively participate in the raising of the Pole. This gave our students a unique experience in which they “Lived the Learning”.
We more recently participated in a blanket exercise which was extremely powerful for our entire school community. It provided us with knowledge about the injustices of the past and the importance of reconciliation. Our staff and students have made a commitment to take steps in the reconciliation process. We will also continue to focus on supporting Indigenous students with mental health challenges. We have a great relationship with our Indigenous Education Support team and they are very receptive to our students’ and school needs.
A staff goal this year is to continue to engage with more opportunities for cross curricular inquiry projects using the Core Competencies and to further embed the Indigenous lens in all subject areas.
Connections to District Plans
This school growth plan works in partnership with our District Strategic Plan and the three Circles of Care: Our Students, Staff, and Community.
It is also driven by our Boards Affirmation and commitment to Indigenous Peoples and Reconciliation by building relationships and deepening understanding of Indigenous history, worldviews, and ways of knowing.
In both documents, we create the conditions for our students to excel by:
(1B) Engaging in ongoing reflection, experiential learning, and personalized inquiry through the application of the Core Competencies.
(1D) Our students will be literate. They will be effective communicators, critical thinkers, and engaged citizens
(1H) Exploring Indigenous cultures in our community and the diversity of cultures in the world.
(1L) graduate with specific life skills to enable them to navigate their personal future directions
In addition, our staff play an active role in our students’ success by:
(A) Being a healthy and inspired team in which everyone feels respected for their individual gifts, skills, and contributions.
(B) Being fully supported for the work that we ask of them and that they ask of themselves through researched based professional development.
(C) Applying a deep understanding of inclusive education practices.
(E) Engaging in positive partnerships with students and their families
(A) Our district will effectively communicate with students, staff, and the community.
(B) Our district will pursue opportunities that enhance collaboration and deepen partnerships throughout our local and global community.
(C) Our district facilities will be safe, engaging, and energy efficient.
School Development funds have been allotted for teacher pro-d and for collaboration time to address and enhance student achievement.
All Staff Training sessions include: Kevin Lamoureaux and Ensouling Our Schools. We are also engaging with more professional development focusing on cross curricular opportunities for students and weaving literacy throughout all subject areas (District Goal)
Will be used to implement strategies for Tier 2 and 3 supports: Creating more spaces to assist with student engagement and success.
We will also be focusing resources on supporting students with Social/ Emotional Needs .
Staff, students, Indigenous Support Team, and parents through ongoing conversations (student assemblies, PAC, and staff /parent meetings, school app and website)
Principal: Chris Lekakis and Acting Principal, Mark Heidebrecht