History and Renewal
In 2004, the staff and community, under the leadership of Grier Swerhone, advocated for North Park Wilson School 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 understanding of what it means 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 re-visioning 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 Métis. New Canadians are regularly welcomed into the school. More than half our students are not involved in extracurricular activities outside of school. 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 from Me data, classroom assessments and informal surveys of staff, students and the community.
The data indicated that our students felt a sense of advocacy at school, strong relationships with teachers and a positive learning climate. The data also revealed focus, belonging, positive relationships, self-esteem and engagement in learning as areas of concern. The staff and community were also deeply concerned with data indicating high levels of anxiety and depression in our students.
The decision to re-vision 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 build their confidence by discovering their full potential through the arts.
Artistic learning honours diversity. Our students have a sense of belonging and strong connections to each other and the wider community.
Our students identify and voice their understandings, beliefs and interests in a variety of ways.
By reaching our students through their heARTS, we are teaching compassion, empathy and caring.