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 Schools and Programs
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FOUNDATIONS - Schools and Programs

Items reported on in this section largely represent district-coordinated activities directly related to schools and their programs.  This section does not attempt to report on the many different activities, events, and initiatives in our 49 schools and other programs.  There are far too many such items to address within the scope of this report.

The Advancement Via Individual Determination Program (AVID)
The Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation is providing funding to the Province of British Columbia for the implementation, administration, and monitoring of the BC AVID Pilot Project.  The research question the BC AVID Pilot Project seeks to answer is whether the AVID intervention—an enriched college preparatory curriculum, including enrolment in advanced courses, innovative classroom strategies, and strong support from teachers and tutors—will increase the likelihood that students graduate from high school, apply successfully to a Post-Secondary Education (PSE) program and meet the requirements of their chosen program, and complete the program. The Foundation will observe the following outcomes:  high school graduation, PSE enrolment, and successful completion of the first year of PSE.

AVID trained teachers use prescribed curricular materials and techniques to focus on note-taking, textbook reading, study skills, test taking, and library research skills to help students succeed in their academic classes.  As students progress through the program, additional instruction is offered in time management and in preparation for provincial exams.  Tutors from area colleges and universities are trained to use specific teaching methodologies and materials to provide additional instruction to AVID students.  What does AVID do for students?  It:

• Teaches them how to act like successful students
• Gives them study skills
• Teaches them responsibility
• Provides them with organizational skills
• Provides them with note-taking skills
• Teaches them how to talk to their teachers
• Provides the opportunity to study with groups/tutors
• Teaches them about what it takes to get into college
• Teaches them how to complete homework
• Helps them work on basic skills such as reading/writing/math
• Challenges them to succeed in difficult college prep courses

Area Counsellor Team (ACT)
The Area Counsellor Team has been available to assist schools that have chosen Social Responsibility and the development of a safe and caring school culture as the focus for their professional development.  This has been accomplished through the delivery of a series of professional development activities for staffs, presentation of a series of school-wide demonstration lessons, and assisting school committees in the coordination of a school-wide focus (EBS) for students and staff.

Career Development
Career Development is embedded in the graduation program as one of the three main goals of education, along with intellectual development and human and social development.  The aim of Career Development is to prepare students to attain their career and occupational objectives.  Under the umbrella of Career Development, secondary schools in Richmond offer a variety of Career Preparation Programs, Secondary School Apprenticeships, and school-based or college-based apprenticeship technical training programs.  Ken Caig, District Curriculum Coordinator for Career Development, Nancy Toth, Career Development Facilitator, and DiAnne Simonson, Career Development Facilitator, are developing plans to build and strengthen partnerships with trades and businesses in the Richmond community.  Initiatives are underway to develop partnerships between post-secondary institutions, industry, and schools as part of an overall plan to increase opportunities for apprenticeship and training programs in our secondary schools.  As of September, 2006, three new school-based apprenticeship training programs were offered:  Cooking, Hair Design, and Plumbing along with two new college-based programs:  Baking & Pastry Arts and Automotive Refinishing.

Planning 10
Planning 10 is a required course and is part of the new Graduation Program.  It is designed as a four-credit, timetabled course with a focus on planning for further education and careers, health, and finances.  In some Richmond schools, this course is delivered in Grade 11 as “Senior Planning.”  This program strengthens the development of employability skills and attitudes and better enables our students to transition from school to post-secondary education, training, or work.  For their working futures, students need the skills to successfully seek job opportunities, acquire training, and adapt to change.  Planning 10 lays the foundation for the development of these skills.

Career Exploration Opportunities
A broad selection of Career Exploration Opportunities are supported each year.  Opportunities like the RCMP Youth Academy, Take Our Kids to Work, Skills Canada Regional and Provincial competitions, World of Choices/Women in Trades, CSI Academy, Junior Achievement programs, and post-secondary open houses are just a few.  Also included are school Career Days, the First Responders groups at some schools, and the Richmond Career Options Fair held during Education Week.

Career Preparation Programs
A wide variety of Career Preparation Programs are offered in Richmond schools.  These programs are specifically designed for Grades 11 and 12 students who would like the opportunity to combine career studies with regular secondary school graduation.  Career Preparation Programs provide an opportunity for students to receive in-depth skill training and a comprehensive understanding and awareness of the working world, while fulfilling regular graduation requirements.  In many districts, Career Preparation Programs have been an effective tool to help students focus on, and prepare for, their career objectives.  Ministry data also shows that students who participate in a Career Preparation Program have significantly higher graduation rates than students who do not participate.

Apprenticeship Technical Training Programs (CTC and ACE-IT)
Richmond School District is a member of the South Fraser Career Technical Consortium, in partnership with Kwantlen University College and the Surrey, Langley, and Delta school districts.  The CTC is expected to help improve student retention and graduation rates, make student transition from secondary to post-secondary education and/or employment easier and more effective, encourage participation from underrepresented groups in various programs, and achieve efficiencies in operational delivery.

Apprenticeship programs can be developed with any post-secondary institution.  These programs offer Richmond students opportunities to receive dual credit for Apprenticeship Technical Training program courses taken under the auspices of any post-secondary partner. Students will simultaneously earn credits towards secondary school graduation and entry level Trades Training/Apprenticeship Level 1 Technical Training. The program funding initiative called ACE-IT (Accelerated Credit Entry to Industry Training), administered by the Industry Training Authority of BC, has assisted in the development of these programs.  At present, we offer students access to Cooking, Hair Design, Plumbing, Carpentry, Automotive Service Technician, Masonry, Millwright, Automotive Upholstery, Outdoor Power Equipment, Welding, Automotive Parts and Light Warehousing, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Automotive Refinishing Prep Technician programs.  Additional programs are under consideration or development.

Secondary School Apprenticeship
The Secondary School Apprenticeship program enrolment is 10 students at this time.  The addition of the Carpentry, Automotive Service Technician, Cooking, Plumbing, and Hair Design Apprenticeship Programs offered within the district should increase SSA numbers in future years.  SSA continues to hold great potential, as it will provide easier access to careers in trades for students who are not enrolled in a Career Preparation Program but who have a focused interest in an apprenticeable trade. The expectation is that SSA students will graduate.  Students who graduate from secondary school while in this program are eligible for a $1000 scholarship.

Community Outreach
Community Outreach is in its 13th year of service to support Richmond school-aged youth who are not currently enrolled in one of our community schools.  Many of these students have returned to secondary school and are achieving success in a variety of ways.  They are all working towards further educational experiences including exploring work opportunities to complement their education.  The teachers continue to collaborate with the youth, school staff, and many community agencies to support these youth to be successful in all their educational pursuits.  During the school year, over 60 students receive support from the district’s two Community Outreach Teachers, Christine Brodie and Michael Jaswal.

DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) Program
The 10-lesson DARE Program is delivered to every Grade 5 student in Richmond by RCMP officers.  DARE is supported by the school district, RCMP, and Richmond Addiction Services (RAS) who are all members of Richmond’s Substance Abuse Task Force.  At the secondary level, RAS continues to be a valued resource.

ESL Support
This past year has, once again, seen a steady number of newcomers who require ESL support entering the school district.  Typically, about 100 such students enter the district each and every month.  During August and September, nearly 900 new students with ESL needs arrived.  Also, as has been the case for a number of years now, approximately half of all new kindergarten students in Richmond require some degree of ESL assistance.  Most of these kindergarten students are Canadians, usually born in Canada.

While over 60 languages are represented in the district's ESL population, approximately 65% of students who need ESL support speak Mandarin or Cantonese.  A recent trend that is continuing is that these Chinese students have less prior schooling and English experience, most are at the beginning stages of acquiring English.  This recent trend and the continuation of large numbers of newcomers result in a very challenging environment for teachers and school communities.

French and French Immersion
French Immersion numbers continue to grow, increasing by 117 FI students over last year's September numbers and now representing about 10% of the total student population in Richmond. This Fall, McMath Secondary expanded their French Immersion program to include Grade 10, for a total of 257 students.  McRoberts Secondary continues to maintain its numbers in French Immersion from Grades 8 to 12, with 546 students presently enrolled.

This past year, rapid growth in the number of students enrolled in French Immersion programs has created concerns about our ability to provide teaching staff in the long term.  A more immediate concern, however, has been the fact that enrolments have grown at many schools to a level that cannot be contained in the building.  Thus, beginning in September of 2007 the Board has limited new K enrolment at each site to a level that will not require additional portables.  This will require development of a draw process for EFI registration is demand exceeds capacity, which it is expected to do at several schools.

To address overcrowding at Anderson Elementary and spread French Immersion programs more equitably throughout the district, the Board will be phasing in a new EFI program at Mitchell Elementary beginning in September, 2007.

Literacy continues to be a primary goal within our FI schools, and has expanded to include non-fiction topics such as literacy in mathematics instruction.  We continue to add to our District Resource Centre’s collections of kits and videos to support the various literacy initiatives such as SMART Reading and Reading Power, as well as to support the new Science IRP.

In Core French, many elementary teachers are participating in a French methodology series once a month offered with the support of Simon Fraser University.  In secondary schools across the district, teachers are beginning to use Oxford’s Communiquête program and are participating in workshops on the implementation of this new program.

Friends for Life–Anxiety Prevention Program
The “Friends” Program is a universal prevention program for Grade 4 and 5 students aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety/depression along with building resiliency in children.  Anxiety has become one of the most common forms of psychological distress in childhood.  This initiative is funded by MCFD and supported through the Ministry of Education throughout British Columbia.  In Richmond, training is offered to Grade 4 teachers only.  The Friends Program consists of 10 sessions and focuses on helping children develop coping strategies to deal with everyday anxiety that arises in the lives of children.  As well, Richmond has offered evening sessions for interested parents.  Last year, 12 elementary schools chose to offer the program with more teachers being trained again this year.  The Friends Program is coordinated by the Coordinator of Counselling and the Area Counsellors.

Gambling Prevention Initiative
In partnership with Richmond Addiction Services, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the school district a Gambling Prevention initiative has been developed for delivery to Grade 6 students.  This curriculum and web site are intended to assist students to understand the risks so they can make wise decisions and act responsibly.  Interested staff were trained prior to the Christmas break and will be piloting the curriculum in coming months.  The response of the staff who were trained is very positive and augurs well for the Ministry’s intent to make this curriculum available to all schools throughout the province.  Discussion is underway regarding a secondary school initiative.

International Programs
The International Student Program affords the opportunity for qualified fee-paying applicants, from a variety of countries throughout the world, to continue their studies in an English-language setting alongside local students.  Currently, international students are studying at 8 of our 11 secondary schools, including the International Baccalaureate Program offered at Richmond Secondary School.  As of February 2007, our International Student Program will enrol in excess of 300 participants with registration expected to reach beyond 325 students for the Fall of 2007.  The positive growth in enrolment continues to occur as a result of students and their parents being very satisfied with program opportunities and levels of student achievement, in addition to a very active recruiting campaign.  In an effort to increase the diversity of students, International Programs has been actively marketing in Latin America and various parts of Europe.  

To date, international students have adjusted well to their new surroundings, have shown commitment to their studies, and have integrated successfully into all aspects of a well-rounded school experience.  Through an interactive exchange of information about culture, centered upon personally-lived experiences from various parts of the world, Canadian and international students alike have the opportunity to mutually enrich each other’s lives.  In addition, all students in the district derive benefit from the work of International Programs as the revenues are used to maintain and to enhance services which might otherwise be decreased or lost due to funding shortages.  

International Programs also include short term programs for both foreign students and visiting groups of teachers.  This is a growing area of interest and activity.  Summer group programs, focused on intensifying the relationships with several "key" schools in Hong Kong, have been successful in attracting more students to return and register as full time international students.  Over the course of the academic year, we have had and continue to have visitors from the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, as well as Bogota, Colombia, and Seoul, Korea, for short-term programs and exposure to Canadian culture and schooling.  Following these successful experiences, a number of groups have expressed their interest in a similar program experience.

Personal Safety of Children
(CARE Kit Program–Child Abuse Safety Awareness
All primary teachers in Richmond are provided training in order to teach the CARE Kit.  It is expected that students will receive the program twice in the primary years.  Students are taught to recognize inappropriate situations and learn strategies that help keep them safe.  The CARE Kit training is taught by a number of trained Area Counsellors.

Richmond Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association
The participation statistics for secondary schools in Richmond demonstrate that, for the first time in the last three years, there has been a slight increase in the number of student athletes and school teams.  There are 6% more students participating and 4% more teams involved in secondary athletic programs throughout the Fall and Winter sport seasons.

Student Athletes
School Teams

Richmond secondary schools continue to provide quality athletic programs for students in our district.  This is demonstrated by the number of teams that have qualified for BC Secondary School Championships and their results this past Fall sport season.

BC Championship Finish
Senior Boys’ AA Football
2nd place
Junior Boys’ Football
1st place - Champions
Boys’ AA Soccer
7th place
Girls’ AAA Field Hockey
1st place - Champions
Girls’ AAA Field Hockey
12th place
Girls’ AAAA Volleyball
5th place
Girls’ AAA Volleyball
10th place

The District has begun to authorize community coaches in carefully selected cases in order to address the high, and growing, demand for participation in athletics.

Roots of Empathy (ROE)
The Roots of Empathy Program is in its sixth year in our elementary schools and is one part of a larger Social Responsibility focus in the district.  Richmond 2006/07 ROE Quick Facts:  28 programs with 24 instructors–6 instructors are VCH nurses, 8 instructors are Area Counsellors, and 10 instructors are elementary administrators; 21 schools involved (up from 2 schools six years ago); key district contact–Norma Bryant (Lee Elementary); BC ROE organization mentor–Laurel Whatley.  The ROE program is precisely targeted at increasing a child’s empathy towards others through the unique aspect of using babies between 3 and 12 months of age as the focal point for understanding.  By seeing “through the eyes of children,” the student comes to an appreciation and, hopefully, deeper understanding of the basic needs of all children.  The opportunity to learn this skill in a convenient setting like their school classroom, with real infants in authentic ways, has proven to be one positive manner in which students do acquire more empathetic behaviours.

Science Jam
The Richmond School District will host its fourth annual Science Jam on February 28, 2007, at Richmond Centre.  Science Jam is a celebration of science and learning for elementary students that takes place during Education Week.  The event presents an opportunity for students to display their learning in science and to interact with the public in regards to their science project displays.  This year’s event will showcase approximately 390 projects by over 700 students from 12 different elementary schools.  In addition, students and the public are invited to engage in a variety of science-related activities hosted by a number of community organizations.

Science Expo & Careers Fair
The Richmond School District will host its first annual Science Expo & Careers Fair on March 29, 2007, at Aberdeen Centre.  The Science Expo & Careers Fair event provides an opportunity for secondary students to display their work and learning in science in a noncompetitive way, as well as have an opportunity to interact and practice their interpersonal communication skills with professionals in science-related careers.  The itinerary for the evening includes two sessions that will feature a panel of professionals who will provide information on science careers for students.

Strengthening Fine Arts
The new Strengthening Fine Arts (SFA) discussion paper was widely circulated throughout the district.  The following Fine Arts priorities continue to be at the heart of our work:  first, build capacity in schools and network across schools as a means of supporting students and staff; second, better serve the needs of students by providing Fine Arts promotion, partnerships, and professional development for staff; and third, strengthen curriculum based pro-d at the district level to better support elementary and secondary Fine Arts teachers.  Ultimately, the discussion paper will provide direction for the short term as well as provide a three year and ten year plan.

We continue to develop our partnerships with Gateway Theatre, the City of Richmond Art Strategy, the Vancouver Opera Association (VOA), Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), Richmond Art Gallery, and ArtStarts.  We are in our third year working with Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) in four elementary schools in a partnership with the district, schools, and their PACs.  LTTA is also partnering with the district in a series of pro-d opportunities in the Spring of 2007 and a Media Arts Project connected to our IT Department in approximately 8 schools.

Yearly events like Music In Our Schools and the Secondary Jazz Night will continue to occur.  This year we are also benefiting from the work of three elementary teacher leaders (Patty Silver, Robyn Traill, and Sandy Kwok-Swan) in drama, music, and visual arts as they assist teachers in their classrooms in each of these three Fine Arts areas.

One of our strategies for improving social responsibility is to provide leadership training and opportunities for students.  The district is supporting this plan by using TABLE 38 to develop a district-wide student leadership program.

TABLE 38 - The Association for Building Leadership Excellence is a district sponsored, secondary student organization that meets monthly to foster, enhance, and support student leadership development.  It enables secondary student leaders across the district to connect with each other.  Each secondary school (11) takes a turn each month to host a meeting at their school and the Student Council President chairs the meeting.  Our communication with each other is also enhanced through our own TABLE 38 RichNet Conference.

We have also created a District Student Leadership Advisors’ Network to support school sponsors in providing student leadership development in schools.  These regular quarterly networking sessions, attended by support staff, teachers, administrators, and district staff, are designed to provide an opportunity for schools to share their leadership development ideas, discuss issues and challenges, as well as develop a set of guiding principles to support their work with student leaders.  This District Study Group supports educators who are interested in learning more about how to support student leadership in their classrooms, schools, and communities.   

Student Leadership Conference
The Conference Committee provides an update on the annual conference for Grades 6 to 12 students.  This year’s conference, Global Caring: From ME to WE, was held on Saturday, October 14, at Palmer Secondary, and attracted a record attendance of more than 800 participants.  We had 620 student delegates, 20 committee members, 40 student site volunteers, 30 student presenters, 30 spirit leaders, 50 teacher and district employee sponsors, and 30 adult presenters.  TABLE 38, and the Richmond School District in collaboration with the City of Richmond, hosted the 2006 Richmond Student Leadership Conference.  The 620 delegates were in Grades 6-12 and were from 31 different elementary schools and 11 different secondary schools in Richmond.  

Our keynote speaker for the day was Marc Kielberger from Free the Children.  The Richmond School District is currently working with Free the Children to help build and maintain Thirukkovil Kumara Primary School in Sri Lanka.  

There were 27 different workshops for the students and advisors to attend.  Of the presenters, we had 23 student presenters and 26 adult presenters.   There were also 30 student  Spirit Leaders who volunteered from a number of schools.  These students welcomed delegates, facilitated groups, ran the gym riot, and generated lots of spirit the whole day.  They did an outstanding job!

We had 4 students from Burnett take pictures throughout the day and put them together in a PowerPoint shown at the end of the conference.  This was a great way to show the results of the day to everyone.  There were 35 volunteers from Palmer Secondary who worked in the background for the whole day.  They coordinated the setup, acted as workshop presiders introducing and thanking the presenters, and finished with the cleanup.

There were 35 adult leadership advisors (teachers. Administrators, support staff) who were in attendance the whole day to support their students.

All in all, this conference involved over 800 people.  Students went back to their schools excited about using the ideas they learned at the conference.  A committed group of about 12 members met starting in April to start planning the conference.  This was a conference for students organized by students.

As a follow-up to the District Student Leadership Conference, we will be hosting Inspiring Student Leadership networking sessions on January 18, February 8, and March 15 for interested student leadership sponsors to continue our conversation about student leadership development.  Our plan for these meetings is as follows:

Welcome and introduction
Sharing of ideas and issues
Upcoming meetings

TABLE Talk 38 Newsletter
The Newsletter Committee organizes the schools to write-up key activities that are being organized in schools.  These articles are printed and distributed to elementary and secondary student leaders.  During the past three years, six issues of the newsletter were produced.