Prairie Rose Public Schools continues to operate by their philosophy of “Prairie Rose Possibilities,” something that allows for many of the unique opportunities for students in the division.
“Prairie Rose Possibilities really comes from our focus in our strategic plan on deeper learning,” said Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks. “So what we're really looking at is finding ways to create programming that not only is engaging for students, but makes learning exciting, real, and place-based. Where we begin is they ask driving questions in their school, and in their school community, about the kinds of areas of interest that might be capitalized on to make learning exciting. So examples we already have would be our hockey Academy, or flight Academy. Since that work, you've probably heard about the farm at school that we've got happening in a number of different sites, but, but the possibilities really are limitless. And so we've encouraged our schools to find what they think might be best suited for their students, and then collaborate with staff and community members to create optimal learning environments.”
Teachers within the schools are encouraged to do research into different opportunities to “enhance complexity and transfer” for students, said Weeks, and to create a place where greater learning is more likely to occur when students are excited and engaged in what they’re doing.
“We're really excited about it. We feel as though we've been able to design something that encourages excitement and engagement amongst our own staff, and has been really exciting for students. And so the response has been overwhelmingly positive. And we're continuing to look for ways to develop that more fully in every single one of our school sites,” said Weeks.
The strategic plan was first launched with the South Alberta Hockey Academy, Dave Rozdeba Flight Academy, and the Irvine Equine Program, but has since expanded to include 16 different projects across the division, including the Prairie Rose Art Institute and several different agricultural programs in various schools.
These projects are intended to create environments where the future prospects of students are expanded, and where “they believe school has an immediate impact on their quality of life,” said Weeks. These programs allow many students to engage in different interests and achieve a flow state in their day to day lives, something that can boost other academic outcomes.
“Prairie Rose serves distinct communities, and is committed to meeting their unique needs. Place-based learning considers the interests of students, the talents and passions of teachers, and the ecological environment and community to create the conditions for deeper learning. And that's really what we're striving to do,” said Weeks.
“We will continue to iterate. So we'll continuously improve, refine and adjust to meet the learning needs of our students,” said Weeks. “The Arts Institute that we have operating at Parkside is a great example of that. It's rolling out to all the students in our division, and a way for them to engage with a very high quality art teacher and create beautiful works of art. I mean, when we first launched that, it was only for students who were located right in that school. And as we've gotten better, we've been able to expand and we intend to do that with all of these projects every step of the way.”
Anna Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prairie Post East