Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks

By Anna Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Published Oct 29, 2021

Prairie Rose Public Schools continues to operate by their philosophy of “Prairie Rose Possibilities,” something that allows for many of the  unique opportunities for students in the division.

“Prairie Rose  Possibilities really comes from our focus in our strategic plan on  deeper learning,” said Deputy Superintendent Reagan Weeks. “So what  we’re really looking at is finding ways to create programming that not  only is engaging for students, but makes learning exciting, real, and  place-based. Where we begin is they ask driving questions in their  school, and in their school community, about the kinds of areas of  interest that might be capitalized on to make learning exciting. So  examples we already have would be our hockey Academy, or flight Academy.  Since that work, you’ve probably heard about the farm at school that  we’ve got happening in a number of different sites, but, but the  possibilities really are limitless. And so we’ve encouraged our schools  to find what they think might be best suited for their students, and  then collaborate with staff and community members to create optimal  learning environments.”

Teachers within the schools are encouraged  to do research into different opportunities to “enhance complexity and  transfer” for students, said Weeks, and  to create a place where greater  learning is more likely to occur when students are excited and engaged  in what they’re doing.

“We’re really excited about it. We feel as  though we’ve been able to design something that encourages excitement  and engagement amongst our own staff, and has been really exciting for  students. And so the response has been overwhelmingly positive. And  we’re continuing to look for ways to develop that more fully in every  single one of our school sites,” said Weeks.

The  strategic plan was first launched with the South Alberta Hockey  Academy, Dave Rozdeba Flight Academy, and the Irvine Equine Program, but  has since expanded to include 16 different projects across the  division, including the Prairie Rose Art Institute and several different  agricultural programs in various schools.

These projects are  intended to create environments where the future prospects of students  are expanded, and where “they believe school has an immediate impact on  their quality of life,” said Weeks. These programs allow many students  to engage in different interests and achieve a flow state in their day  to day lives, something that can boost other academic outcomes.

“Prairie  Rose serves distinct communities, and is committed to meeting their  unique needs. Place-based learning considers the interests of students,  the talents and passions of teachers, and the ecological environment and  community to create the conditions for deeper learning. And that’s  really what we’re striving to do,” said Weeks.

“We will continue  to iterate. So we’ll continuously improve, refine and adjust to meet the  learning needs of our students,” said Weeks. “The Arts Institute that  we have operating at Parkside is a great example of that. It’s rolling  out to all the students in our division, and a way for them to engage  with a very high quality art teacher and create beautiful works of art. I  mean, when we first launched that, it was only for students who were  located right in that school. And as we’ve gotten better, we’ve been  able to expand and we intend to do that with all of these projects every  step of the way.”

This item is reprinted with permission from Prairie Post East See article HERE.

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