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Alexandria, VA (03/15/12)— ASCD, the international education leadership association, announced today that Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the 2012 winner of the association’s Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Principal David Rawnsley is scheduled to accept the award on behalf of Byrne Creek from ASCD Executive Director and CEO Dr. Gene Carter at ASCD’s 67th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sunday, March 25. Byrne Creek Secondary School is the first Canadian school to receive this prestigious award.
Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award recognizes schools that move beyond a narrow focus on academic achievement to take action for the whole child, creating learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond formal schooling.
Since opening in 2005, Byrne Creek Secondary School has been committed to providing a safe, caring, and comprehensive learning environment for its 1,250 students in grades 8–12. The surrounding neighbourhood has a high population of immigrants, many of whom are refugees. More than 60 percent of Byrne Creek’s students have a first language other than English. Though there are challenges, Byrne Creek has naturally become a culturally rich hub where students and families come together to share, celebrate, and connect with resources. Even the building’s design encourages belonging with bright natural light, large open spaces for community gatherings, and a 120-seat video conferencing “Centre for Dialogue” modeled after that of the United Nations. In June 2011, in recognition of the work being done to support the community, the district designated Byrne Creek as a pilot Community School for the 2011–12 school year.
“ASCD is committed to bringing a whole child education to students across the globe, and we are thrilled to bestow our highest recognition, our Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award, upon Byrne Creek Secondary School for their outstanding work ensuring each child in each classroom is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged,” said Dr. Gene R. Carter. “Byrne Creek Secondary School is a great example of the supportive education community that a commitment to the whole child can create.”
Educators at Byrne Creek benefit from weekly collaboration time to discuss practice, identify struggling students, and look at ways to support learning gaps. As a result, many programs unique to Byrne Creek have been developed. They include a “Later to Literacy” program that supports the literacy needs of ESL students; the “Village of Attachment,” where staff, families, and community members create a web of support around the most vulnerable students; “Youth in Transitions,” an after-school program that works closely with students alongside their parents; and “PAWS,” a program designed to help immigrant students who entered the school system late in their high school years develop fundamental skills for success.
To address essential needs beyond the classroom, Byrne Creek has multiple partnership agreements with community groups and associations. They include food programs, parent programs, early childhood literacy and youth programs, tutoring, and work placements. A comprehensive program of student extracurricular and intramural athletics, counseling, and social services supports a strong fabric of social-emotional health. All programs are supported by an educational component or curricular connection to ensure that Byrne Creek students and their families acquire the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy choices.
“The success we have experienced at Byrne Creek is the result of passionate staff, thoughtful planning, and integrated programming coming together to support students in a vibrant and diverse community. Our educators approach each new challenge with an open mind. They genuinely care for our students and recognize that their roles are pivotal to student success,” says Principal Dave Rawnsley.
“Additionally, support from government ministries, the school district, and the larger community create conditions that enable us to respond to the needs of each child and move forward in a sustainable way. We are particularly proud of how our entire community continues to deepen and broaden its understanding of what it means to educate the whole child and how we have been able to make a real difference in our students’ lives.”
Schools throughout North America applied for Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. As the winner, Byrne Creek Secondary School will send five team members to be guests at ASCD’s Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., March 24–26, and the school will be featured on an upcoming ASCD Whole Child Podcast. ASCD will continue to share Byrne Creek’s expertise and exemplary practices with its 150,000 members and the larger education community.
ASCD also offers a variety of additional free resources to schools globally supporting the whole child approach to education, including podcasts, blogs, and more. Visit ASCD’s Whole Child Education Website at www.wholechildeducation.org to learn more. To learn more about ASCD, visit www.ascd.org.
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