Vision on Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award-A Retrospective

We presented as a part of the Whole Child Virtual Conference May 8, 2013. It was an interesting discussion about what is working well in the schools that have won this award and a chance to share our what we have all learned throughout this journey. Take a look at our virtual conference titled: Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award—A Retrospective.


The Power of Social Media to Connect

There is much discussion about the negative power of social media, for a host of reasons. I will not argue, because all the negatives are possible. However, I have found that what exists as well, are a host of very positive reasons to engage and utilize social media platforms: for example, social media’s power to connect and build community. One example: A few months ago, I was reading through my Tweets and saw a post from the NFB (The National Film Board) saying something like, “Excited to start our animation workshops in Toronto and Montreal this morning.”

I quickly responded, “We’d love animation workshops in Vancouver too please :)”

And, guess what? The NFB replied, tracked us down and sent a crack team (Ashley and Claudia) from Montreal, to lead a Stop Motion Animation workshop at Byrne Creek for Valentine’s Day. How lucky are we?

As the Community School Coordinator at Byrne Creek, I no longer am a teacher with classes. Luckily one of our fabulous art teachers at Byrne agreed to participate! In Mrs. Mather’s art class Valentine’s Day 2013 a few exemplary NFB works such as Flawed were shown and then in teams the kids got down to work: creating a story board, inventing their claymation characters and beginning to create their animations. Our students used an App developed by the NFB called PixStop (which is free for all to use it) and, within a very fun hour and a half, stop motion animation pieces of their very own where ready to shared with you all. Enjoy!

Our students are more able to flourish, find their spark, find the excitement in learning, with partners like the NFB sharing their resources and expertise with us. Thank you NFB and to social media!


Byrne Creek and the ASCD Whole Child Award

It has almost been a year since Byrne Creek found out that we won the ASCD’s 2012 Vision in Action: Whole Child Award.

We have had a fantastic year with many opportunities to share best practice and learn from others all over North America doing similar work helping to build healthier communities.

Talk a look at the ASCD movie that was released to feature the work done at  Byrne Creek!


Byrne Creek’s Christmas Hamper Drive 2012

We are very proud of the work that our Student Government does! If you would like to contribute contact send the Community Room  a message! Happy Holidays everyone!


Global Dignity Day 2012

In a world where it seems no-one agrees on anything, a world where politics divides, religion divides, and race and even cultural borders seem to divide, dignity is something that everyone can agree on.” Global Dignity Co-Founders

“Global Dignity is the brainchild of three friends, concerned global citizens who met as Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum: HRH Crown Prince Haakon (Norway), Professor Pekka Himanen (Finland) and founder of Operation HOPE, John Hope Bryant (United States).

The three friends realized that the one thing that everyone in the world could agree on, irrespective of their differences is: We all want our Dignity to be recognized. Dignity is the very foundation of our humanity. Dignity is universal. Dignity is also the source of human rights.

The co-founders created Global Dignity in 2006. Since then they have worked with many Young Global Leaders and other partners in over 40 countries, hosting what are known as Dignity Days. This involves visiting local schools and communities around the world and teaching a “course in dignity” to youth.” (This passage was found here on the Global Dignity home page).

This is the second year that Canada has participated in Global Dignity Day and Byrne Creek Secondary was privileged to be invited to participate this year.  With students from more than 60 different countries, diversity is the norm and the school is always seeking ways to connect and unite people that come from a variety of different backgrounds.

The school hosted workshops the day before October 16, 2012 and the day of Global Dignity Day October 17, 2012 with keynote speakers and a teleconference with 12 sites in Canada and one site in Taiwan.

Keynotes for the interactive workshop were Christopher Logan and Orville Lee. Christopher Logan is a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, who was named as the city chair of Global Dignity, Hong Kong. He gave us the context of how Global Dignity Day started. We were very lucky to have him at Byrne Creek!

Orville Lee, former CFL player and SFU Alumni, was convincing as he described how he gained confidence and ultimately dignity as he grew up. He engaged our students with the story of coming to Canada from Jamaican as a young boy and emphasized how ‘Your dignity is your destiny. “ He encouraged everyone to reach out and ask those around you for guidance, and stressed that when people see you working so hard to be a better person and achieve, they will work with you towards success so you don’t have to do this alone. Orville Lee explained how he found his individual dignity and respect through sport. He had a very successful football career and when he retired, he and his wife Ruth Lee started the Pathfinder Youth Society to help vulnerable youth transition.

Students and staff were very excited to have the opportunity to hear the keynotes stories! The message from both was powerful: each of us, in the everyday actions/choices that we make, help shape our world.  Living with dignity and promoting a world filled with dignity depends on the simple fact that we all make choices each day that shape our world. The little things that we do, the everyday actions that all people are capable of, influence the world that we live in.

Students worked on their own stories of dignity, sharing them within this school community of peers and then wrote their stories and set a goal to commit to an action that promotes dignity in their world.

We learned that the conversation about what dignity means to each person can vary, but that finding that one exact definition is not the point. It is about creating the space and time to have these important conversations and work together to create a world filled global citizens that understand the importance and rights for all to live with dignity.

Thank you to all of our Byrne Creek partners, teachers and students for making this a successful event. Thank you so very much to our speakers for becoming an important part of Byrne Creek’s story. And a special thank you to Senator Yonah Martin for inviting us to participate and for being such a fantastic role model for living one’s life with Dignity.

Byrne Creek is a school that leads with HEART (Honestly, Empathy, Acheivement, Respect and Teamwork). Last year the school received the ASCD’s Vision in Action: Whole Child Award recognizing  the staff’s unique work remaining adaptive and flexible in educational programming initiatives that support the whole child’s development (academic and social emotional). Byrne Creek is look forward to Global Dignity Day next year! We have a Centre for Dialogue videoconference facility and are hoping to find a “Buddy” school to share in our discussion. If you are interested please let us know!

Links for Global Dignity Day Resources: The Global Dignity Site and the Global Dignity Canada Site.


A Friend From Philidelphia Came For a Visit

This is a blog written about Byrne Creek last year after a team from Byrne went to accept the ASCD Whole Child: Vision in Action award in Philadelphia. Check it out. The author Diana Laufenberg offered our team a tour of her school the Science Learning Academy, which is a project based learning charter school in Philadelphia that holds inquiry based learning at it’s heart. Today Diana came to Byrne Creek for a visit.

Diana’s visit was a rare and welcome opportunity to reflect, share best practice, talk, think, share and observe our school in action through the eyes of a guest educator. This sort of opportunity is powerful. I wish that all of our Byrne Creek teachers could have had the opportunity to tour the school with Diana today!

It allowed me the chance to pause for a few hours and reflect on what we are doing very well at Byrne Creek (building attachment and strong relationship throughout our system and adapting our programs to meet the needs of our diverse learners) and to dream ahead to what is possible in the future for Byrne Creek and the educational system in BC in general. Thank you for stopping by Dianna! We hope to see you again soon.


Byrne Passion

Last year with the help of the Passion Foundation and Loretta Cella, 16 of our Byrne Creek girls participated in the Passion Project leadership training series. As a part of these workshops a final community project or initiative is encouraged. The project is completely developed, created, and completed the youth who participate for their peers. It’s an opportunity for them to showcase their leadership skills, develop new skills, and give back in a lasting way.

This is the video that our Byrne Creek students created over the summer. Check it out here. This video highlights the negative voices girls have about themselves based on outside influences and what its like to Change the Tape.

The girls will continue with this program into the fall as they begin to develop Girl’s Leadership Workshops for our feeder elementary schools.


Byrne Creek’s Grade 8 Art Student’s Community Murals Project

Anto Steko’s grade 8 Art students at Byrne Creek Secondary School, in partnership with the City of Burnaby created 10 4 X 4 murals that represent what community means to Byrne’s  students. They will be displayed along the Edmond’s Corridor while our lovely new Community center is being build. Go check them out!

What does community mean to you?


Byrne Creek Blogging Extraordinaires!

The ASCD Whole Child Blog features several blogs from our Byrne Creek Community over the past month. Take a look at this blog by Ms. Erickson and Ms. Lauzon, There May Not Be an App for That.…and then scroll down and see what other Byrne Creek blogs that you can fund! They are all fantastic! For example, how about reading this blog from our LEO Club called The Byrne Creek LEO Club: Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity?


The Whole Child Blog Features the Poem, “I am Byrne Creek.”

Have you read the “I am Byrne Creek” Poem yet? What are you waiting for?