Posted in Personalized Learning, Principal's Corner

Personalized Learning and Competencies

In a community of academics (neighbour to a University), it is interesting to say the least when minimizing the coAlbertaEducationFrameworkre subjects and maximizing the core competencies.

To the left is one of our favourite visuals (from Alberta) to use with our parent community as it speaks for itself.

Our team worked with the new BC Ed Plan which does a great job of honouring the core competencies.  We had numerous, ongoing staff discussions and led parent sessions in both English and Chinese on the school philosophy and the importance of the learning competencies. To highlight what was occurring at NRP and to highlight what is happening with the BC Ed Plan, I devised this document to provide a synopsis.  Perhaps this may be of use to you too!

Personalizing Learning and Competencies

A special acknowledgement to a school in UK, Glen Park, who had this fabulous template online which I adapted and altered.  You gotta love how the world helps out!


Posted in Principal's Corner, Principles of Learning

School Priorities Based on OECD 7 Principles of Learning with 6 Key Building Blocks

We are often asked what makes Norma Rose Point (NRP) School different.  It is difficult to speak to one innovation in this non-traditional setting. To provide focus for the many innovative things happening at NRPS, staff collaborated on the creation of a one-page NRP 2015-16 Priorities document.

As a reminder, NRP is based on the research presented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) 7 Principles of Innovative Learning, research that guides the development of learning environments for the 21st century.

Our three priorities are:

  • To teach with clear learning intentions
  • To emphasize the learning competencies in daily practice, and
  • To establish principles and practices for meaningful communication with students and parents about student learning

Within our priorities document, we chose to embed the OECD’s six building blocks for innovative learning environments – home-school partnerships, cooperative learning, service learning, formative assessment, learning with technology, and inquiry-based approach. We have some hyperlinks of YouTube videos in the document to help our community better understand.  If anyone reading has any recommendations for new hyperlinks, please let us know.

15-16 Priorities Master


  1. To teach with clear learning intentions, the staff and students are co-creating Learning Maps and I-Charts with students to guide the “what” and the “how” of learning.
  1. Embedding the learning competencies in daily practice also takes planning and dialogue. By teaching and learning in this new way, learners develop skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and leadership, communication and digital literacy, personal and social responsibility, creativity and innovation and global and cultural understanding.
  1. We do not use traditional grades, we value strengths-based learning, student voice and the core competencies, and therefore continue to develop a better system that is:
  • accessible to families, anytime
  • continually demonstrating the progress of each student
  • individualized and looks different for all learners
  • emphasizes the learning competencies and de-emphasizes the grades

We plan to implement an online communication platform (Edsby) as a way to communicate to parents via a student digital portfolio. We are creating a framework of how to communicate student learning which references the learning competencies in a curricular way. This framework is informed through collaboration with educators from SD 36 (Surrey), SD71 (Comox) and SD72 (Campbell River).

At NRP, we work as a collective to meet learner needs (educators and students alike) and to realize our priorities.  With 200 new students this upcoming year and 13 new staff, working as a collective is the only way forward.

In closing, student voices (as always), highlight our priorities in this animate:

Lead Team:  Jacob Martens, Karen Noel-Bentley, Suzie Polzin and Rosa Fazio


Posted in Learning Communities, Principal's Corner

Learning Spaces and Furniture Choices

During school tours, I am asked often of our furniture choices and what furniture companies I recommend.  Here’s a glimpse of some of our furniture, courtesy of Elaine, one of our many visitors.  I have added to the powerpoint to help further showcase our learning space and furniture.

Please click on the following link to load a powerpoint pdf of our learning space with captions:

NRP Learning SpaceNRP Learning Space

Our main suppliers were: — their natural wood product is extraordinary — the curved square and rectangular tables with benches, the stages, the book bins and the hanging bamboo cloud are Natural Pod products — where we ordered the Mity Bilt tables — this includes the Nesting Flip Tables and the Conekt Tripod (three pieces combine to make one round table) — where we ordered the Portfolio and Paper Mobile Storage Units (the bins that students place their belongings/work in) — where we ordered the vary reasonably priced VP/P desks, boardroom furniture, the round tables and the espresso 2 drawer mobile pedestal locking cabinet in the Professional Offices — where we ordered the round coloured carpets and the Mediascape Lounge in the Learning Commons — where we ordered our soft furnishings

Hope this helps.

Posted in Learning Communities, Principal's Corner, Uncategorized

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

I used to think that I could make a difference.  Now, I know that only WE can make a difference.

A few years ago my 3 yr old son asked me, “Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up.”  Know that my son’s world was all about fire, police and paramedics. So I said, I want to do exactly what I do now — I want to be a school principal.  He looked at me with disappointment and said, “But don’t you want to help people?  I explained that’s exactly what I get to do.

My mission statement for the past 25 years has been “to make a difference in the lives of others”.  I’m sure all of us have made a difference to a few.  But now my mission statement is to work in community with others to make a significant difference for the masses.

Everyone can dialogue, share, cooperate and go back into their own room or silo and do their own thing.  There are a lot of great innovative efforts happening in various classrooms, in various schools, in various districts.  That’s awesome, but how can those single efforts become transformative in schools.  It can only be done by working in community.  

In community means tcropped-img_31641.jpgeams of educators at a site working together to support teams of students. Every educator in a school needs to be part of a learning community, dialoguing daily with other team members to contribute ideas to create an action that the team owns — co-planning, co-teaching and co-learning together to meet learner needs.  

Educational transformation can only happen through collaborative efforts and collective action.  So we need to eliminate the internal walls of schools to unite learners — both teachers and students.  We also need to eliminate external walls of schools by embracing community members so that they too can contribute to making a difference to a child.  In order to go from innovative to transformative, we need to travel in a bus together rather than in individual cars.

There are two proverbs that are foundational to educational transformation:

It takes a village to raise a child  AND

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

That says it all.

Posted in Mother's Corner

To Div 10

Aloha to the whole class!

This is Tiana. I’m in Hawaii. I am having a good time.


I love swimming with my grandpa. My dad throws me in the air in the pool and in the ocean and catches me. We do that everyday. I got buried in the sand too.

We went to the zoo. One of my favourite animals is the turtles and the tigers. The turtles were fighting and it was really funny to watch. Tigers are going to be extinct soon if we don’t take care if them. I am very sad. I also liked the orangutans rolling around on the grass.

We went to see the Magic of Polynesia. It’s a magic show. There were so many good tricks.

When I come to class it will be so much fun. Have a good time. See you soon.



Posted in Mother's Corner

To Div 3

Hi Class,

I am having a good time in Hawaii so far. I went snorkeling every day except the first day. I saw 4 trumpet fish one was over 1 and a half feet long! We also saw a lizard fish, a cornet fish that camouflaged to hide from my dad, and a bigfin reef squid. You should look them up online.

The first 2 days there was a torrential down pour. It was also very windy. I was standing in the pool in the rain watching the Canucks lose the Heritage Classic on a TV inside a restaurant.

We are in Hawaii with my grandpa and grandma. They are both 87 years old. This is my third trip to Hawaii with grandma and grandpa.

Today we walked to the zoo. I really liked the tortoise that was trying to flip over his friend but he failed to. I also liked the cheetah and the tiger.


Somebody that we didn’t know was having a wedding below our balcony (on the rooftop of another building) so we decided to watch it from our balcony. My mom said it was weird being at a wedding that we weren’t even invited to!

I hope you all have a good day. See you soon.

Posted in Mother's Corner, Reflection

Dear Child, Remember . . .

My Dear Child,

Remember to remind yourself . . .

“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.”
-Harold V. Melcher

There is no perfect — just your best. Have you tried your best? Then great! If not, know you can do better. It’s up to you to try.

Right or wrong — you know the difference! You have a choice. Think before you choose an action.  If you choose wrong, take responsibility for the action and move on.  Do not repeat.

Disappointed? There is no use in focussing on the negative. Choose to see the wonderful opportunity that comes next and start on it.

Be happy with your achievements! There is no use comparing your achievements to someone else’s – you’ll miss out on your own!

Focus on your strengths. In life, you are not going to choose a career that highlights your weaknesses!

If you are not smiling, think of something that will make you smile.  Life is much too precious to be stressed out at such a young age.  Don’t grow up too fast.  You’ll be an adult soon enough.