Reminder | Fees & Waivers
Chalk Pastel Art in Grade 3/4
Celebrating Diversity in Kindergarten!
On February 24th WDS staff and students participated in ‘Pink Shirt Day.’ Pink Shirt Day is a day where we acknowledge the efforts we put forth to stop bullying. This year the province of Alberta’s focus was: …"on working together and treating others with dignity and respect. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all and shown the importance of helping one another and advocating for those who need it. Help us “lift each other up” and support programs that encourage healthy self-esteem and teach empathy, compassion, and kindness.” At West Dalhousie School (WDS) we feel a huge responsibility in creating a safe and healthy environment for our students; one that protects every student from bullying. This means we not only identify and address bullying on a consistent basis, but we also create a culture of respect and dignity by honouring diversity through our language, role modeling, daily lessons, and celebrations. Bullying takes many forms; physical, verbal, and emotional and can have lasting effects on an educational environment. As a result, preventing school bullying is extremely important to us. At WDS we have a low tolerance policy for Bullying that is supported by progressive measures of education and discipline. We are immensely proud that WDS is a safe place to be, however, at times bullying does happen. We are very aware of bullying indicators and as such have a wrap-around model to ensure that we are supporting our students. Some things that we do are: We talk about Bullying. We let our students know how people are affected by bullying. We work with them daily to instill empathy and emotional intelligence. We ensure students’ emotional needs are met by ensuring that they are loved while in school. We teach them to identify and share their feelings; to explore other people’s perspectives and how they may feel; to participate in problem solving where both parties reach an agreed upon solution and we always talk about the impact one has on others by using our Three Pillars of Care. We also ensure that students are aware of the consequences that may be enforced for bullying others at school. WDS students understand that bullying is not tolerated and will be addressed. We are always Visible to our students Throughout the Day and during non-structured times; bussing, lunchtime; recess etc. We have heightened supervision and staggered recess breaks so that there are more adults around for support and relationship building opportunities with students. We Watch for Bullying Indicators: teachers and other staff can recognize the most common types of bullying as well as cyberbullying indicators. We are aware that children often bully differently. For instance, boys often resort to physical bullying and girls are more likely to use relational bullying like ostracizing another student. We look for what is called "gateway indicators." These are initial behaviors that students display that are often gateways for more intentional types of bullying. (Some gateway indicators include rolling eyes, laughing under their breath, making jokes, turning their backs on others, and using sarcasm). A crucial part of our anti-bullying culture is that we Empower Student Bystanders to have a voice. Through our inclusive teaching practices and role modeling we teach students to stand up against bullying behavior or to report it to an adult. WDS students know that bullying ends when one person takes a stand. We provide safe and confidential ways that our students can report bullying incidents. They tell a teacher or another trusted adult; they can write us a note or email us; they can meet with us in person. WDS staff Keep Their Ears to the Ground. We listen, observe and interact with our students. We get to know each of our students and as such can usually identify if there is a concern or if a situation is arising that needs our intervention. We can confidently state that students feel it is safe for them to alert us of potential issues. No student wants to be considered a snitch. We Maintain Open Communication as we strive to build a rapport with all your students. We get to know them as individuals. We greet each student every day and ask how things are going. We do our best to find out about their interests and goals. And if they are struggling, offer support or direct them to school resources where their specific needs can be met. We work closely with parents so that together we can create success plans for children and provide support for their learning. We also work closely with our parent community. Our School council annually offers parents webinars or guest speaker sessions where parents are engaged in Bully Awareness sessions. We encourage parents to support school rules and bullying intervention strategies. If a parent reports a bullying incident, we are sure to investigate it right away. Parents are our partners in offering a safe, caring, and inclusive learning experience. They are partners in the strategies we follow to ensure bullying behaviors are minimized and corrected. At WDS we foster a sense of community and facilitate healing for anyone who has been impacted by bullying. We cannot do this work alone and as we all know it takes a village to raise a child. As WDS community members we all have a responsibility to stop bullying by keeping our ears to the ground and our eyes on our students. Taking steps to prevent bullying will go a long way in improving students’ learning, their daily lived experience and their impact on this world. I challenge you today to ‘Lift Each Other Up’ by engaging in one act of kindness. Maria SpagnoloPrincipal