Why is North Park Wilson a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts?
History and Renewal
In 2004, the staff and community, under the leadership of Grier Swerhone, advocated for North Park Wilson to be designated as a Centre of Excellence through the Arts.
Changes in the staff, student body and school community led to the erosion of the foundational understandings of what it meant to teach and learn in a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts. In the fall of 2014, the staff and community began the process of revisioning the dream that began 10 years before.
The population of North Park Wilson is diverse and engaged. The school is home to families from the Woodlawn, Richmond Heights, North Park, City Park and downtown communities. A wide range of socioeconomic levels are represented in the school population.
Approximately 30 per cent of our students are First Nations, Inuit and Metis. New Canadians are regularly welcomed into the school. Over half of our students are not involved in extra curricular activties outside of school time. The parent community frequently co-plans events with staff. School events and activities are well attended and supported.
Considering the Data
In the spring and fall of 2014 North Park Wilson staff studied current data that included Tell the From Me data, classroom assessments and informal surveys of staff, students and the community.
The data indicated that our students percieved a sense of advocacy at school, strong relations with teachers and a positive learning climate. The data also revealed focus, belonging, postive relationships, self-esteem and engagement in learning as areas of concern. The staff and community were also deeply concerned with the data that indicated high levels of anxiety and depression for our students.
The decision to revision our designation as a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts was made in response to our study of the data.
Our actions are guided by our beliefs. Through reading, research, reflection and discussion, the staff and community at North Park Wilson co-constructed the following beliefs that guide our work as a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts:
- Our changing world needs students who can think creatively and who collaborate to explore thoughtfully and engage deeply.
- Our students will build their confidence by discovering their full potential through the arts.
- Artistic learning honors diversity. Our students will have a sense of belonging and develop strong connections to each other and the wider community.
- Our students will identify and voice their understandings, beliefs and interests in a variety of ways.
- By reaching our students through their hearts, the arts teach compassion, empathy and caring.