Every year our grade 4 to 6 students do a survey called Tell Them From Me (TTFM). The TTFM survey is meant to give students a voice at their school and to provide Alberta Education and schools some information. This information can be very useful in identifying strengths and areas of growth in a learning community.
Last year we decided to try to give students a bigger voice at Our Lady of the Assumption School. In addition to doing TTFM we used surveymonkey to create Tell OLA From Us (TOFU – educators love acronyms) for our grade 3 to 6 students. These were locally developed questions that we gave students every two months or so. The data we gathered from the students was very useful and helped to guide our staff in making decisions. Here are two examples from last year’s TOFU survey:
This year we are planning to continue our TOFU survey. Also, we are expanding our TOFU survey by using a scale rating system and providing students a written response to some of the questions. Here are the questions we are asking this year:
Giving students a voice is important in creating community and provides valuable information for the learning community. TTFM and TOFU gives our students a voice that is heard.
September is always a wonderful month due to the excitement of a new school year.
This September was better; mainly due to the building of community. When building community you must honour the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future. Although there were many community building activities this September including our Welcome Back BBQ, Opening Mass, restructuring our lunch routines, and the Terry Fox Run; I want to focus on two events. These two events are the opening and blessing of our new playground and our annual Grade 6 Southern Alberta Bible Camp (SABC) trip.
It truly takes a community to build a project like a new playground. Under the leadership of our School Council, especially Amanda and Travis Hillier, our community came together to organize, fundraise, and to build our new playground. Without the support of all the members of our learning community and support of the greater community of Lethbridge we would not have a new playground. I mentioned it is important to honour the past; it was wonderful to have past Principal Mr. Roch Bruneau, who opened the old playground, at our opening. Faith is part of all we do. I would like to give a big thank you to Fr. Lukas from All Saint’s Parish for blessing our new playground. We celebrated the present during our opening and blessing, but the big celebration is every recess when we see the playground full with happy students. Also, here is a short video from Shaw TV Lethbridge’s ‘Go!’ of the finished product:
The other community builder was our annual Grade 6 SABC. Although it is just for our Grade 6s, our whole community comes together to support this annual trip. Our Grade 5 parents fundraise throughout the year and our larger community supports all the fundraising events. The actual event truly builds community amongst the Grade 6 students and staff. Doing a variety of recreational activities together, teambuilding tasks, and simply spending three days together builds a strong sense community among all the participants. It is great to start off the school year building community. For the first time in a long time all our Grade 6 students attended the SABC trip. As we look to the future, we are already starting to plan for next year.
There are a lot of important learning activities that occur at a school, but all of these need to occur on the strong foundation of community.