Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award
Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award is designed to recognize schools that have gone beyond a vision for educating the whole child to actions that result in 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. This award acknowledges those schools that have changed the conversation about education from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the development of the whole child: a child who is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
2012 Vision in Action: The Whole Child Award Recipient
Byrne Creek Secondary School
Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the 2012 winner of the ASCD's annual Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. ASCD honored Byrne Creek Secondary School because it is an example of the supportive education community that a commitment to the whole child can create. It is the first Canadian school to receive the award.
Byrne Creek educates a culturally diverse group of 1,250 students in grades 8–12. The area has a high population of immigrant families, many of whom are refugees from war-torn countries. More than 60 percent of the students come from families where English is not the primary language spoken at home. The building's design encourages a sense of belonging through its large open spaces for community gatherings, 120-seat Centre for Dialogue modeled on the United Nations, open hallways, and bright, natural light.
In response to the diverse set of learners at Byrne Creek, teachers strive to be masters of personalization and differentiated instruction. All students are offered a comprehensive range of courses at all grade levels, including honors and advanced placement, and adapted and modified programs are available through day, night, and summer sessions. The school also offers an independent directed studies program where students, working from learning outcomes, design the objectives, assignments, and assessments that will guide, support, and measure their learning.
Educators at Byrne Creek benefit from weekly collaboration time to discuss practice, identify struggling students, and develop plans to ensure that learning is taking place. During this time, teachers also review broader school goals, assess progress, and adjust instruction to ensure that students are properly supported. The school works closely with at-risk students through the Village of Attachment, a group of staff who form partnerships with families and community members to create a web of support around Byrne Creek's most vulnerable students. The Village meets weekly as a large group to discuss issues, research, and progress, and individual support teams meet on an ongoing basis to develop more explicit support plans for each student.
Byrne Creek faculty and students also value public- and private-sector partnerships that enable partners to provide needed support throughout the school and local community. To support students' health, the school works with community partners and the British Columbia Agricultural Society to provide breakfast, lunch, and after-school food programs featuring fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a community outreach program that supplies fresh bread, dairy, and produce to students and families in the community.
The school offers a comprehensive program of extracurricular and intramural athletics for students and many counseling and social services to ensure 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 to make healthy choices.
The overall success at Byrne Creek is the result of passionate staff, thoughtful planning, and integrated programming coming together in a vibrant and diverse community. The staff members at the school are dedicated educators who genuinely care for their students and approach each new challenge with an open mind.
To learn more about Byrne Creek Secondary School and its approach to a whole child education, read the press release.