ASCD Honors Canadian School for its Supportive Education Community
Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the 2012 winner of ASCD's annual Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. ASCD honored Byrne Creek 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.
Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award recognizes schools that move beyond a narrow focus on academic achievement to take action for the whole child, creating 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.
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. In response to the diverse set of learners at the school, teachers strive to be masters of personalization and differentiated instruction.
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.
"The success we have experienced at Byrne Creek is the result of passionate staff, thoughtful planning, and integrated programming coming together to support students in a vibrant and diverse community. Our educators approach each new challenge with an open mind. They genuinely care for our students and recognize that their roles are pivotal to student success," says Principal Dave Rawnsley.
"Additionally, support from government ministries, the school district, and the larger community create conditions that enable us to respond to the needs of each child and move forward in a sustainable way. We are particularly proud of how our entire community continues to deepen and broaden its understanding of what it means to educate the whole child and how we have been able to make a real difference in our students' lives."
Schools throughout North America applied for Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. As the winner, Byrne Creek Secondary School will send five team members to be guests at ASCD's Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, Pa., March 24–26, and the school will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Whole Child Podcast.