Compassionate Schools

2017 | 11 | 28

On November 20 and 21, the Compassionate Schools Team met in Kangiqsualujjuaq, to exchange on the projects that our Compassionate Schools Resource Teachers are leading. The meeting was very inspiring and provided a great opportunity to share good practices. Some of the initiatives spearheaded by resource teachers include a project to address the students’ attendance challenge in Quaqtaq. The group with the highest attendance at the end of the month chooses the monthly recreational activity for the entire school. With this project, Isummasaqvik School was able to increase its primary attendance from 70% to 90%! Pitakallak School has been seeing great results with a sensory tool library in the school’s “Blue Room”. In January Pitakallak will also unveil the new “Harmony Room”, a model classroom for evidence-based strategies designed to support a nurturing environment.

Ajagutak School has been improving its home-school communication, with a new phone log for home communication, and sunshine calls home for all kids. Jaanimmarik School has been working hard to empower students to respond to bullying. They also launched a “Random Acts of Kindness” challenge, whereby classrooms are equipped with bags of suggestions and teachers and students are encouraged to draw one to fulfill. Students have discovered how intrinsically rewarding kindness is! Last but not least, Ulluriaq School has developed a bank of highly successful Tier 1 and Tier 2 strategies. At the Tier 1 level, for example, classrooms have “calm corners” to help students self-regulate when they feel stressed or angry. Ulluriaq also has TV screens throughout the school with Tier 1 information displayed and looped. A Tier 2 intervention that has been working well at Ulluriaq is for students who take medication to attend a breakfast club where they can enjoy a nice meal while waiting for their medication to take effect before heading to class. This has helped many students to have better mornings.

In addition to talking about successes, the Compassionate Schools Team also discussed challenges and brainstormed solutions. The primary challenges identified are: engaging staff, encouraging teamwork between staff and ensuring consistency of interventions; communication between schools, board and community; prioritizing Compassionate Schools in the board; and getting out of “punishment mode”.

Here is one solution the team came up with for each category, respectively: small groups that woauld share challenges and successes, perhaps during day 5 meetings; invite Commissioners to Universal Team meetings and invite parents to spend a day in their child’s classroom; include a short report on the student’s behavior/understanding with respect to each of the school’s values on the report card; and advertise PBIS and Compassionate Schools successes.

The team is excited to welcome Brenda Linn to the position of Pedagogical Counsellor. Brenda will be providing support to Sautjuit, Pigiurvik, Ikusik, Isummasaqvik and Arsaniq. She specializes in early reading, second language literacy and reading disabilities. She has a great deal of experience conducting psycho-educational assessments with Nunavik students and has been tutoring children from Nunavik in Dorval.

On the picture, from left to right: Jenny McManus, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher (Pitakallak); Kathleen Erickson, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher (Ulluriaq); Maxime Rousseau, Pedagogical Counsellor for Jaanimmarik, Ulluriaq, Kiluutaq and Asimauttaq; Dominique Tessier, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher (Jaanimmarik), Diana McLaren-Kennedy, Coordinator of the Compassionate School Project (and resource person for Pitakallak, Ajagutak, Tarsakallak); Paul Maggiolo, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher(Ajagutak), Chris Macpherson, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher (Ulluriaq). Absent: Frédérick Dubé, Compassionate Schools Resource Teacher (Isummasaqvik).