What are the important demographics of our community?
Prince Rupert Middle School is situated in the City of Prince Rupert on the Pacific Northwest coast of British Columbia. We are a diverse multicultural community located on traditional territory of the Ts'msyen and Sm'algyax speaking peoples since time immemorial. Currently, our enrollment is 407 students and 66% are of Indigenous ancestry. Our community is rich in indigenous culture and is connected to the neighbouring nations of the Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Taltan, Haida, and Wet'suwet'en peoples. We are located in a transition zone from a temperate rain forest to deciduous forest. Being part of the temperate rain forest means we experience a high amount of rainfall.
What are the unique, positive characteristics of the school?
Prince Rupert Middle School, (PRMS), is a grade 6,7,8 middle school located in Prince Rupert, B.C. PRMS is the only middle school in Prince Rupert. Students from five elementary schools feed into PRMS.
PRMS offers a full French Immersion Program as well as French as a second language and Sm'algyax language instruction. Teachers and staff at PRMS offer a variety of clubs, sports and activities and we are part of the After School Sports and Art Initiatives Program. Our teachers collaborate every Wednesday afternoon to plan various learning opportunities, projects and celebrations for our students. First Peoples' Principles of Learning and Indigenous Culture is embedded in our learning. Students take part in drumming, learning about totem poles, cedar, weaving, and role models. Prince Rupert is home to the annual All Native Basketball Tournament and PRMS boys and girls basketball teams are amazing. PRMS also runs a volleyball program, and hockey academy. We join with the high school for track and field, but have our own track and field day. PRMS offers six exploratory or elective courses each year. In addition to ADST, Cooking and Information Technology, we offer Textiles, Music Appreciation, Drama, Ukulele, and STORM, which is a class dedicated to teaching kids about resiliency and social emotional learning. We have an excellent band program. This year they won gold in both Jazz and Concert band in Niagara Falls.
Outdoor education is an important part of PRMS. We are fortunate to be located next to a golf course and close to Mount Hays, the fish hatchery, and McClymont Park. When possible, classes are outside, not only for fitness, but to explore the environment. The Lester Centre for the Arts is also within walking distance. This is the largest Performing Arts Centre in the Northwest. PRMS attends the Lester Centre for school and district organized events. The PRMS band is able to practice and perform at the Lester Centre as well. We are also fortunate to have the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and Earl Mah Aquatic Centre within walking distance from our school that classes can access for swimming, skating and make use of the large gym space.
What are our assets - what do we celebrate (including student intellectual achievement)?
At PRMS we have many ways to celebrate our students. This year we have had many classes participating in daily walks, outdoor activities, forest hikes, community walks, place- based learning and project based, etc. We have had school events, such as a Medieval Fair, Indigenous Day, Carnaval, Hootenany, sports (basketball, volleyball, track), Ancient Civilization, grade group activities (Diana Lake, Butze Rapids, Amazing Race, Grade 7 Camp-In, Grade 8 dances, Wellness Day, etc). We have a concert band and a jazz band. The band has travelled to Niagara Falls and performed at all the Elementary Schools, Acropolis Manor and our Celebration Assembly and other school assemblies.
Since 2015, PRMS has had a successful Hockey Academy that runs each year from September to Spring Break. Students in Hockey Academy are on ice three times a week and attend dryland sessions twice a week. Students also get in class sessions on Nutrition and Fitness.
PRMS offers many clubs throughout the year. We have Skittles, Minecraft, Garden, Debate team, Drama, Power tech, Doodle club, Chess, Rubix cube, Golf, Volleyball, Badminton, Dance, and Ama Goot, Ama Till Goolsk Leadership Clubs.
We also celebrated with our Indigenous Education team From Wap Sigatgyet. We have created a mural, weaving, drumming, devils club, harvested cedar, learned about feasting, local plants, totem poles, etc. and celebrated a school-wide Indigenous Day.
This year we celebrated students at our Celebration Assembly. Students were able to showcase their talents; the band played, Drama Club role-played, Debate did a skit and the sports teams celebrated their successful season of winning the zone banners. Students were able to welcome us to the territory in the traditional Sm'algyax language. A few students were recognized and were awarded the coveted STORM award. Students also received awards in their classroom for Outstanding Academic, Artistic, Athletic, Second Language, Applied Skills, Fair Play, and Citizenship. Students are also recognized for Honour Roll and Principals' list. At staff meeting we collect names for "students doing well' and letters are sent home to families. We celebrate living on Ts'msyen territory and experiencing the culture. Sm'algyax language classes have increased in enrollment yearly where students work on their knowledge of Indigenous language, culture and history.
Describe the overall strengths as well as the needs of the learners.
Our learners have a strong sense of Ts'msyen culture throughout our school. Working with cedar, drumming, meeting with elders, family-friendly events, and speaking Sm'algyax are only a few of the examples of how all students are able to connect to aspects of Ts'msyen culture. Working in a collaborative fashion with all classes in the school is another strength of our students. Staff provide many opportunities for students to work within grade groups on various projects such as Medieval Faire, Ancient Civilization Day, or the Sixer Mixer. This cohesion between students and classes helps to build a school culture. PRMS offers many clubs to support to support students. Examples such as Skittles Club, Minecraft Club, Chess Club, and Volleyball Club all provide students with opportunities for growth outside of the classroom environment in a variety of disciplines. We also provide Ama Goot, Ama T'ill Goolsk Leadership Club. This provides opportunities for student voice and student-led activities led by students such as Grade 7 Camp-in, Grade 8 dance, Drama and Debate Club.
For some of our students the simple act of attending school on a regular basis is a need. For a host of reasons, attending schools can be challenging for some students. Another need for some of our students is academic progress. Quite a few of our students still need to work on developing numeracy and literacy skills as these are the basic building blocks for success in life. Another need for our students is access to mental health supports. Many of our students are anxious and affected by trauma and live with these stressors on a daily basis. Helping students to overcome and breakthrough these challenges is something we as a school need to address.
What is going on for them?
Prince Rupert continues to experience many ups and downs within our local economy. Some work sectors have seen great growth, while other sectors have continued to struggle. Due to this volatility we have many families struggling for child-care, parents who work inconsistent hours at all times of the day, or have trouble making ends meet. For some families, affordable and decent housing have been a struggle along with the ability to buy food and clothing.
Many of our families have experienced the affects of residential schools in the past. We continue to have the school be seen by all families as a safe place and build trust in the school by making it a welcoming place. We have two counsellors at PRMS. Our counselors work with classes, small groups and individuals. Our counselling services are used regularly by a large percentage of our students. Approximately 75% of our students access counselling services throughout the year.
The students at PRMS in grade 6, 7, and 8 are in one of the most developmental periods of adolescence. To be successful with our students, a focus on relationship building, and building a students sense of belonging is just as important as academics. Part of learning for this age group is how to independently resolve peer conflicts, how to be responsible with social media, puberty, and healthy relationships.
As a district, SD52 has an above average percentage of students with a designation compared to the rest of the province. Many of our students need one to one support to access the curriculum. We have 4 fulltime Learning Services Teachers at PRMS to help support the needs of these learners and work with our staff to ensure all students can become successful learners.
What is the evidence that we already have that supports this hypothesis?
- School and district data, letter grades, attendance anecdotal, surveys, etc...DI, MDI, student voice such as TTFM, etc.
Which learners and which areas will we be focusing on?
What areas will we focus on to improve or enhance success for our learners based on what we know about them?
In keeping with SD52's District Priorities, we want to focus on Equity, Truth and Reconciliation, and Mental Health Literacy. PRMS will become a more equitable environment when all students take ownership of their own learning which includes literacy and numeracy. Through supports such as the Student and Family Affordability Fund, PRMS will continue to offer all students supplies they need to succeed. PRMS will continue to have high and motivating expectations for all students and use culturally relevant resources when teaching curriculum. PRMS will also continue to provide timely supports and responses when needed and remain connected to our families.
PRMS will continue to strengthen our commitment to truth and reconciliation through continuing and growing our Sm'algyax language program so that Sm'algyax is evident throughout the school. We also want to enrich all students in Ts'msyen culture by continuing our programs which provide opportunities to learn more about indigenous art, drumming, connections with the land, and residential schools.
PRMS will continue to improve its efforts for the mental health of its students by providing all students timely supports and responses in safe spaces where they can take a break from judgment or unsolicited opinions with the help of a school counsellor who will allow them to feel supported and respected. Grade 6 classes have a Wellness day which promotes strategies for mental health. STORM classes in Grade 7 and 8 also provide students ways to develop coping skills such as self-awareness and stress management. STORM classes also promotes self-esteem, active living, healthy eating, and creates an open environment where students can talk about their problems and questions. STORM classes also helps students to learn how to advocate for the health and well-being of others and ways to connect PRMS to our community.
Where are we connected?
- How does this focus connect to the district strategic plan? (Quote Strategic plan goal/objective #)
- How does this focus connect to the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement? (Quote AEEA goal/objective)
- How does this focus connect to the redesigned curriculum including the big ideas, core competencies, curricular competencies, etc.?
-Our focus aligns with SD 52 Strategic Plan as there priorities are Equity, Truth and Reconciliation and Mental Health Literacy.
- Our focus connects to the Indigenous Education Partnership Agreement: Increase Indigenous learners achievement in reading and writing, increase Indigenous learners' achievement in math, increase Indigenous successful transitions, etc.
- Our focus connects to the redesigned curriculum including the big ideas, core competencies, and curricular competencies.
What is leading to this situation for our learners?
PRMS is needing more tools within the school to help promote Ts'msyen culture. These items should not have to be borrowed from around the district but should have a permanent home in the school so that they can used more frequently by staff and students. PRMS also needs more culturally-relevant activities available within the school on a more regular basis so that all students learn traditional Ts'msyen knowledge. This will also allow indigenous PRMS students to feel more comfortable about expressing their own culture within the school.
PRMS also needs to promote better student attendance which will help to advance student literacy/numeracy levels and overall student mental health.
How might we be contributing to this?
PRMS will work with SD52's Indigenous Education Department to promote Ts'msyen culture more within our school. The school will continue to bring in knowledge keepers to work with students and help build and promote Ts'msyen cultural activities within PRMS.
The PRMS team will better track our student attendance records and develop a system to contact parents to promote better attendance.
From what we know, what is the most important work that we can do to improve the success for our students?
Acquire more tools which will be available permanently at PRMS and promote more indigenous-centered activities in the school to celebrate Ts'msyen culture.
To make school more appealing to students and promote attendance, we need to incorporate more engaging activities which will encourage students to want to attend class more often.
What key areas of learning will we focus on?
Incorporate newly purchased school drums so that they can be used by all students on a more regular basis throughout the year. Also with the help of the Indigenous Education Department, develop more class activities which will use our newly harvested cedar so that we can further represent the students of PRMS.
Have our School Based Student Support Team continue to encourage students to attend school on a more regular basis and support families however they can so that their children attend school regularly.
What are the actions that we propose to take related to our inquiry. What will we do more of, less of, differently to improve outcomes for our students?
PRMS will focus on the equity of students by ensuring that a larger portion of students start to attend class more regularly, so that will have more time to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. PRMS will maintain a School Based Student Support Team who will meet regularly to identify students who are missing a large amount of class and develop strategies to have them attend school more regularly.
PRMS will focus on the equity of students by ensuring all students have access to resources and supplies they need to succeed in school. PRMS will continue to provide students necessary classroom resources and supplies through donations in the community and funds from the Student and Family Affordability Fund.
PRMS will focus on the equity of students by ensuring we as a school are able to provide supports to all families in a timely fashion. The PRMS team will maintain and expand relationships with students and families and help in any way they can so that families feel supported when they need assistance.
PRMS will focus on Truth and Reconciliation by improving and expanding the Sm'algyax Language Program. PRMS will work with the SD52 Indigenous Education Department to ensure our Sm'algyax classes have all the tools they need to improve the program, including the use of new technology. PRMS will also further signage within the school in the Sm'algyax language.
PRMS will focus on Truth and Reconciliation by increasing Ts'msyen cultural activities through the school. PRMS will continue to find ways to connect to the land through outdoor education programs. The school will also find ways to increase harvesting activities, drumming within the school, and more regular visits from elders and knowledge holders in all classes.
PRMS will focus on Mental Health by providing timely supports, responses, and safe spaces to students and families when needed. The PRMS Counselling Team with the help of other team members will continue to promote equity and access for all students, provide advice and counselling on behaviour management, and aid in the development of skills and strategies to manage the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that impact on student mental health.
PRMS will focus on Mental Health by having students develop awareness and skills to improve their mental well-being. Through STORM and Health and Career classes, the staff of PRMS will continue to teach students skills they need to develop around topics such as self-esteem, active and healthy living, and providing open environments for students to ask questions and talk about problems they are facing.
How can we break it down into a manageable and realistic 3 year plan:
- Year 1, Year 2 , Year 3
Year 1: Develop our plan, determine our needs, look into resources
Year 2: Action: Creating and implementing equity scans and increasing staff professional development on Indigenous Education, Trauma Informed Practice , and Mental Health.
Year 3: Assessing our plan and making necessary modifications and determine our next steps
Summarize what the new areas of learning will be and how we will support that new learning in order to benefit the students (i.e. resources, pro-d, etc.).
1) Equity- continue learning in trauma informed practice, provide support for relationship building, continue with using First Peoples' Principles of teaching and worldviews, continue learning about Pride based activities, encourage learning in project based, outdoor education, place-based learning. Increase mindfulness and self regulation activities.
2) Literacy and Numeracy- Collaboration with other teachers, professional development (Carole Fullerton, Adrienne Gear, Nancy Young), provide enjoyment in reading and math activities.
3) Truth and Reconciliation: Continue the Partnership learning from our Indigenous Education Department, attend Professional Development workshops, attend book club, learning about the Calls to Actions and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act Action Plan (DRIPA).
Link these new areas of learning to the redesigned curriculum
How will we know that what we are doing is working and is making a difference for our learners?
What evidence of learning will we collect to check the progress on our goals?
If we are making a difference in equity we will see an increase in positive behavior (students helping each other, being respectful towards others, happy students, etc.) for all students. We will continue to check our attendance rates and hopefully see more students attending on a regular basis. We will do Assessments- Reading Assessment (6 minute solution, benchmarks, etc). Our Framework for Enhancing Students Learning Survey will provide us with details on how the students are feeling about the enjoyment of reading and math. In addition, teachers can also provide anecdotal comments on student engagement. If more students are feeling supported we should have less office referrals. if students are feeling safe and a sense of belonging we will see an increase on our FSA (Foundational Skills Assessments) and an increase of report cards marks.
We would also like to see and increase of attendance at our Family night activities and Craft Nights.
What will we be using as baseline data? How will we chart growth?
- Improved attendance
-improved literacy and numeracy results
-more family involvement
-compare our results from Framework survey year to year
-less office referrals
-less parent concerns
-results from MDI
How will we respond if we see no changes?
How will we make parents, students and other members of the community aware and involved?
How will we share our plan with staff?
We will share our plan with our teachers so that they can add to and modify the plan as the year progresses. We will look at this plan at our team leader meetings and they can share it with their grade groups.
How will we share our goals with students?
We will create a powerpoint and share it with students at our Grade Group Assemblies. We will also share it at the Ama Goot, Ama T'ill Goolsk Student Leadership Council Meeting.
How will we share our goals and progress with parents?
We will provide a link of this plan in our newsletters and on our website so that parents/guardians can view it. We will also share at our PAC meetings and any Parent/guardians gatherings. We will also have a copy available at school on our parent/guardian bulletin board.
Include numbers of students, grade levels, etc.
Prince Rupert Middle School has 407 students in grade 6, 7 and 8 in age range from 10-14. 267 students or 66% of which have Indigenous heritage. There are 82 grade 6, 93 grade 7 and 92 grade 8 Indigenous Learners.
Most of our Indigenous students have a deep and proud connection to their heritage. We also know that a large number of our overall student population are living in poverty (30%) but data from the 2021 BC Child poverty Report Card shows that Indigenous learners have even higher numbers living in poverty.
According to the 2021/22 Aboriginal Report, our Indigenous learners make up a large percentage of our students with disabilities and diverse needs (72%). The same report also makes note that many of our Indigenous students have struggling numeracy and literacy skills compared to our non-indigenous students.
List examples of pro-d, special events, speakers, curricular integration, routines and customs, etc.
Things we have done in the past year that will build on our goals:
- Develop a School Based Student Support Team to help improve student attendance levels.
- Provided classes with a variety of supplies and resources for all students.
- Continue to teach the STORM Values and expectations taught to all students through STORM and Health/Career classes.
-Indigenous Events: Orange Shirt Day and Reconciliation Walk, National Indigenous Day, Drumming, Drum Making, Cedar harvesting, forest walks, devils club salve, weaving, Every Child Matters Mural, school-wide Indigenous Day Activities.
Professional Development: Drum-Making, Mental Health Pro D for Staff,
Indigenous Education workshops: Indigenous Curriculum Implementation Day, "Wayi Wah!" with Jo Chrona, Harvesting Cedar, Cedar Roses, Sm'algyax Language Learning, Drum Making, Seasonal Rounds, Outdoor Education, Adaawx, Kxeen Cultural Trolley Ride, Book Clubs
Outdoor Education activities with Connor from Spirit North
On announcements provide mindfulness activities
List continuing and new initiatives
- Continue learning about Truth and Reconciliation
- Continue to support students with the resources and materials they need to succeed
-Continue learning in Trauma Informed Practice
- Continue partnership with the Indigenous Education Department
-Increase learning and opportunities in Pride Based activities
- Continue place based and outdoor education learning
- Increase project based learning
- Continue collaboration
- Continue with mindfulness activities
-Increase self-regulation activities
- Increase drumming within the school
- Continue with cedar activities in the school
- Continue using our School Based Students Support Team
-Continue to use Ama Goot, Ama T'ill Goolsk Student Leadership
Include both data-driven and anecdotal examples
-Increase attendance rates will show we are successful
- Improvements in literacy and numeracy scores will show we are being successful
-Teacher anecdotal comments on student engagement and staying in class
- More indigenous cultural activities throughout the year
Give opportunities for student, staff and parent voice
We would like to increase opportunities for our families to come into the school for activities not related to students academic progress. In doing so, we hope to increase family support and trust in the school.
We would like to have the opportunity at each staff meeting to do activities based on Trauma Informed Practice, Equity Scan, Indigenous Education and give staff time to share what is working and where they might need support.
We will share our School Growth Plan at regular PAC meetings and on our website to encourage parent voice.
Student voice can be gathered in several ways through discussions with student councils, school counsellors, EA's, teachers, administration and through the Framework survey.