Supporting Our School Community

Supporting Our School Community

Supporting Our School Community

One of our goals at MacNeill Secondary is to increase student engagement, both social and academic. We know that when students are connected to their school community, are actively engaged and take ownership of their learning, they are more likely to experience success. We are observing that our learners in this new quarter system are limited in their social and emotional opportunities. Students have shared with us that they are missing their time with their advisory teachers. With limited social interaction, students who relied on the school setting for social development/support are experiencing difficulties in social wellness.  Our students are sharing that they would like to explore ways in bringing the school community together while adhering to COVID Health and Safety protocols. Not only have our students been experiencing the physical restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, they are also experiencing changes to existing school structures and available supports. The effects of these changes were evident from the daily conversations staff had with students and from the responses students shared with us during the Quarter 1 student survey.  It was clear that we were all struggling with the disconnect. We recognized our students’ needs for a sense of safety, significant peer and adult connections, and a feeling of belonging.

These resonated with many staff members and formed the basis of our Social-Emotional Learning committee. With the support of classroom teachers, the committee has implemented several initiatives, such as a Managing Stress workshop for students, a POWER T-shirt design contest for Raven Spirit, a school-wide opportunity for students to share their experiences of the pandemic, and a MacNeill Has Heart event for school spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

Although these initiatives were well-received and improved school climate, we knew we had not reached every student. Our conversations with students still leave us with a feeling that there is more needed. We knew we needed to hear from them again, but in a more intimate manner this time. Similar to the focus groups conducted two years ago, students were randomly selected from each grade to form focus groups and discuss issues on belonging, safety, and connectedness.

In our next steps, staff members will be honouring our student voices by taking their comments, feedback, and the focus group dialogue to bring about further changes to our school. We hope that the efforts of our students and staff will bring our school community closer together.