An Inquiry into What Community and Belonging Look Like at Glenbow School

Principal, Glenbow Elementary School –┬áIt was June 29 last school year, and the building was almost empty. Students had already embarked on their summer holidays, when our wise, mindful and talented CDA, Colleen Heschl-Ball, shared with me that she had an idea.

The idea involved some planning and keeping in touch over the summer break, with the possibility of grant writing in mind. The idea involved finding an artist who could help represent every member of the Glenbow Learning Community in their work. The idea involved bringing in experts to engage our students in themes of community, a sense of place and belonging. It was our first year of Glenbow as a dual track school and we felt that it was important to commemorate this new beginning.

Momentum came with additional talented and driven staff members joining the grant writing process. It continued with the acceptance of a Canada 150 Grant and the confirmation of an artist, Caitlin Bodewitz, who worked in the medium of photography. Experts were contacted and lined up to share with students, including (not so) old friends to RVS like:

  • Barry Allen (former 21st Century Learning Specialist) to share photography tips.
  • Steve Repic (former RVS Grounds Lead) to share themes around community, belonging, and a sense of space.
  • Julie Stover & Karen Edwards (retired Glenbow teachers) to speak about the history of Glenbow School.
  • Peter Bouvier (current Glenbow teacher) to share photography tips.

The project was embraced by all classes, who had the opportunity to share some of the key themes that came out in their discussion. We have had armies of parent volunteers in to help each student save photos and screen them on to a square of wood. Classrooms were given up to support the two week residency and schedules were rescheduled to ensure that all students had this opportunity to enhance their learning.

This weekend, Caitlin has worked tirelessly to begin to transfer student work into her beautiful masterpiece, our masterpiece.

Thank you to all who have been involved in helping with this undertaking. Thank you Colleen,for sharing your idea… I wonder what other ideas are out there, waiting to be hatched?

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