Dr. Morris Gibson School Fosters Inclusive Learning

Dr. Morris Gibson School Fosters Inclusive Learning

Dr. Morris Gibson School (Okotoks) Principal Kevin Newman and Vice Principal Loriann Salmon provided Foohtills School Division Trustees with an overview of the school’s Education Plan. Accountability Pillar results indicate that the school had another stellar year, achieving lots of “Excellent” and “Good” measures in all areas. Some highlights:

  • On the Language Arts Provincial Achievement Test (PAT), 96% of student achieved the Acceptable standard (compared to the provincial average of 91%), while 25% were rated Excellent (19.5% provincially);
  • In Mathematics, 96% achieved Acceptable (81% provincially) while 19% were rated Excellent (17% provincially);
  • In Science, a whopping 99% were rated Acceptable (84% provincially) while 41% achieved Excellence (29% provincially).

As a school with a regional program focused on inclusive learning practices, Dr. Morris Gibson has built an inclusive learning rubric, a measurement tool based on one developed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. It is designed to track Inclusionary Philosophy and Beliefs, Instructional Practices and Programming Interventions, and Collaborative Culture.

School Goals include:

1. Create a responsive, meaningful, high quality learning environment for all: In a school with a large number of students requiring targeted and individualized supports, the staff has organized strategies on a continuum to address universal, targeted and individualized needs. The school team has also spent a lot of time working on their Beliefs and Commitments, to ensure their practices are in line, and focusing on their Vision and Preferred Future to identify where they want to be and strategies to get there.

2. Develop meaningful relationships that support ongoing communication and collaboration between students, staff, parents and the community: The school has embedded collaborative time in the schedule at all levels for students and staff. Students are engaged in the community through a variety of collaborative endeavours, including the Okotoks Hospice and Okotoks Adult Day Support. The school is also working hard to enhance communication with parents and increase parent engagement.

3. Foster a safe, caring, inclusive environment where everyone is welcomed and belongs: Based on the theme, “Shining Together” Dr. Morris Gibson has a number of programs designed to foster a sense of belonging among students and staff – from various clubs/activities to involve students (e.g. flag football, photography, chess, Lego) to Doc’s PALS – a concept borrowed from Red Deer Lake School – whereby students, identifiable by bright vests, are trained in how to involve students who don’t have anyone to play with at recess. New this year is an inclusive music program for ALL students. Kudos to music teachers Bonnie Kentch and Julie Julian for their work in removing barriers and identifying accommodations that allow all students, regardless of the level of support they require, to participate in music together.

Board Chair Christine Pretty commended the school on their “leading edge” work on inclusion while achieving such impressive educational results.