Purpose and Definition of the Educational Project
The Educational Project is a strategic tool through which the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School community can define and communicate to its stakeholders at large as well as educational practitioners, the policy orientations, the action priorities, and the expected results to ensure the educational success for all students. It reflects the characteristics and needs of the students who attend Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary School and the expectations expressed in the community. Based on consensus, the educational project is prepared and implemented through the collaborative efforts of various partners: students, parents, teachers, support staff members, administration, members of the community and school board representatives.
To promote individual success and well-being in a safe, healthy community.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School is a caring community of students, staff and parents committed to academic excellence. In our delivery of high-quality education, unique learning styles and individual needs are respected to ensure that each student reaches their full potential. This, we believe, can be achieved by focusing on student-teacher attachments and by creating a positive and healthy school climate.
To prepare our students for a culturally diverse, bilingual and technologically complex world, emphasis will be placed on Math, literacy and the integration of technology. By offering a 50/50 French Immersion program from K5 to Grade six, our students will have an opportunity to excel in both official languages. In partnership with staff, parents and the community at large, our students are encouraged to become compassionate citizens who will interact in ethical and environmentally friendly ways, and will be sensitive of their roles and responsibilities in a democratic and inclusive society. By cultivating close relationships with parents and involving all stakeholders, we will continue to have a successful, healthy, safe, green, and vibrant school community.
Creating a culture of compassion, empathy, respect, and kindness (“Cultivating a school climate that focuses on healthy relationships and contributes to creating a sense of belonging for students, staff, and parents within our school community).
School and its Community
Pierre Elliott Trudeau is located in the centre of the city of Gatineau, and is the only English elementary school in the sector. Given our close proximity to Ottawa, we have many families who are employed by the Federal Government; and, as such, there is a very high demand from our families for a strong French Immersion Program. Consequently, our school offers a 50/50 Immersion program in which our students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 study French and English concurrently. The model of French Immersion delivered at PETES includes English Language Arts and Math being taught in English and all other subjects taught in French (French, Art, Ethics, P.E. Social Sciences, Science).
Over the past seven years, the enrollment at PETES has almost doubled (from 295 in 2010 to 550 in 2018). For an English school in the province of Quebec, this growth in enrollment is almost unprecedented. In 2010, there were 14 homerooms at PETES (plus a pilot project K4 class) and in the year 2017, we peaked with an enrolment of 575 students and 26 homerooms. Considering that the building has remained the same size, space has indeed become a major problem. To accommodate for the increase in the number of homerooms (12 additional homerooms), we have lost our computer lab, Community Learning centre (CLC) room, FSL room, cafeteria, half of our library, main office, and conversion of additional office spaces into classrooms.
These significant changes, we believe, were beginning to have a significant impact on the educational experiences that we could offer. Therefore, the governing board lobbied the School Board and Ministry of Education for an investment to build an extension. During the school year 2018/2019 the school board agreed to install two portable classrooms on the east side of the building. This additional space was necessary to help provide a better environment for optimal teaching and learning. Additionally, the extra space allowed the school to create a quiet area for students with a variety of needs. It is an imperative that the school retains this resource space in the 2019/2020 school year.
In the spring of 2018, the school received the incredible news that the Ministry of Education had approved an application to invest $5 million to build a new gymnasium, cafeteria and four classrooms. In addition, the Ministry also announced that the school had been selected as one of seven schools throughout the province to receive a $2.7 million investment as a Lab Ecole School (school of the future – focus on school architectural design, fitness and nutrition to help improve student health and academic outcomes). The news was received with great relief and excitement from the entire school community. During the 2018/2019 school year, the total amount of the extension / Lab Ecole investment had grown to $10 million. The next steps included many meetings with the Lab Ecole team (mostly in Quebec City) and multiple partners to select a specific design of school building to match the context, school philosophy and needs of the PETES community. At the time of writing, the school is waiting for further news on the architectural competition (anticipated in August 2019).
Even though available space has become a major issue, we are continuing to develop and enhance initiatives to achieve our goal of creating a safe, healthy, green, and vibrant school community. The projects for the school year 2019/2020 will include:
- Community sports nights for students, parents and staff;
- Workshops for Kindergarten and grade one parents – play, nature, yoga, healthy child development (Dr. Neufeld / Deborah MacNamara)
- Healthy eating / cooking classes (Mini-Chef)
- Music programs with Ms. Medley, Tim Piper and Leo brooks to align the Arts with the ELA and French programs
- Intergenerational mentoring programs (French and English)
- Cultural activities such as traditional dancing, singing, beading, and drumming
- Fifth Annual Powwow
- New sports programs from our CLC coordinator (lacrosse, rugby, skiing)
- Enhanced gardening, recycling and composting program
- Reclaiming playground games initiative – teaching skipping, clapping and rhyming games
- Renting La Fonderie sports complex to increase physical fitness levels
- Playmakers in the playground with Mr. Montgomery (focus on play, nature and leadership)
- Nature walks for Kindergarten and cycle one classes with Hali (focus on outdoor education linked to the curriculum)
- Environmental partnership with Educ-Action (strategies for students and staff to embrace nature and protect the environment through improved recycling program)
- Cultivate our partnerships with L’Arche, Maison de l’Amitie, Ottawa Gaels, Gatineau Cameroonian Soccer Club, Enviro Educ-Action, Champion for Life (after school program); Dimensions sports program (after school program); swimming at UQO for grade three’s; Military Resource Families; For Us Girls Club, Fab Lab (digital Fabrication); Aviation Museum (Aerospace network); Ottawa / Gatineau Tunisian community.
As a caring school community, we are always concerned with the overall health and wellness of our student population. As such, we have once again participated in the Propel Research Study from the University of Waterloo (2018) to assess the distinct needs of our students and families. We have applied and received funding from the MESSR and Breakfast for Learning to provide breakfast for many students, daily milk for our kindergarten and grade one students, and healthy snacks and fruit for all students. In addition, since some families have difficulty accessing sports teams and clubs within the community, we have organized a number of activities that take place after school, on weekends and during the school day.
These activities will include: nature walks, hikes in the Gatineau park, outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, Sunday soccer, performance group (choir), recess and lunchtime First Nations cultural support activities (dancing, singing, beading, and drumming), environment club, Shannen’s Dream / Project of Heart club, after school Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts, swimming, skating and snow-shoeing. Overall, the school has always had very close ties with the entire community; however, developing inclusive and positive partnerships and relationships has now become a part of the culture at our school. Moreover, we believe, that by placing a particular emphasis on a safe and healthy school and building a greater sense of community, the visibility and reputation of the school will continue to be enhanced. This can be validated by the fact that the school population has risen dramatically over the past seven years: 295 in 2010 to 540 in 2018 (48%), and the school has been selected as one of six Lab Ecole schools in the province.
As of September 30th, 2018, there were 540 students registered at the school:
- Kindergarten 70
- Cycle One: 153
- Cycle Two: 167
- Cycle Three: 150
- Total: 540
In the 2018/ 2019 school year, it was the first time in seven years the enrollment at PETES decreased. In 2018/2019, we noticed a decrease in the number of Kindergarten students (from 80 in 2017 down to 69 in 2019), and fewer families than usual registered in September (after the school year begins). Either our registration for the school year 2018/2019 could be a one-year anomaly; or, it could be an indicator, that our enrolment has finally plateaued. For example, our number of Kindergarten registrations could be returning to the numbers from six years ago – (52 in 2012/13; 75 in 2013/14; 85 in 2014/2015; 84 in 2015/2016; 85 in 2016/17; 80 in 2017/18; 69 in 2018/19). However, at the time of writing the number of Kindergarten students registered for the 2019/2020 school year had reached 62 (this number should increase by August). Furthermore, we noticed that fewer families moved from our Northern communities this year. This could be an indication that there are currently fewer homes available to rent or purchase in our catchment area, or families were locating in new builds outside our catchment area. As a result, of these aforementioned changes throughout the school year the enrollment settled at 540 (this number remained stable as the school enrolment is at 538 in June 2019).
Predicting the actual enrolment numbers at PETES can be quite challenging from year-to-year, so we will be watching the number of new registrations very closely. As of May 1st the number of kindergarten students had reached 62 (this is quite high for the time of year). A very interesting statistic that may be unique to PETES is the high number of students that register at PETES mid-way through the school year and then do not re-register the following year (approximately 65% of families). The vast majority of families that do not re-register are only residing in our catchment area very a short period. Again, this makes it incredibly difficult to predict the actual number of registrations from year-to-year.
Given the fact that PETES has now been selected as a Lab Ecole School, it will bring more attention to our school community and, probably, more new registrations (once the construction has finished). As a result, we will be anticipating a rise in our enrolment for the school year 2021/2022 and we will be designing our new school building with higher enrollment in mind (could include four year old kindergartens). We will be consulting with the community throughout the entire lab Ecole process to ensure everyone is aware of the building timelines and the possibilities of the innovative designs.
Safe and Healthy School
As Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary is such a unique school (downtown location, proximity to Ottawa, transient population, large indigenous population of 18%, and highest number of families living below the poverty line in the board: 26%); it is an imperative that the school responds to its unique context by meeting our diverse needs. It is necessary, then, that our school and community organizes activities such as; clubs, sports, and events to help our students and parents have a strong sense of connection and belonging to the school. However, with the dramatic increase in the school enrolment over the past five years we have been compromised in our building by a noticeable lack of space. This is forcing the school to convert available areas into classrooms; thus restricting the opportunity for alternative settings within the building.
In addition, we have noticed a trend in our Tell Them From Me survey over the past five years that our students are not feeling as safe as before. We are not sure if students are feeling unsafe due to the over crowdedness, or due to their understanding of the definition of the word ‘safe’. With the help of our Safe School Team we are going to conduct an in-depth analysis of uncovering when and were students feel safe and unsafe, and what does the word ‘safe’ actually mean to students. The Tell Them From Me survey is a very important tool to assess school safety; however, we will need more specific and detailed information before implementing new strategies to enhance school safety.
We are also extremely concerned about the eating habits and healthy lifestyle choices due the report University of Waterloo Propel Study that was completed by the students of PETES in June 2018. The study concluded:
- 59% of PETES children do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. The availability of junk food nearby is a minor reason explaining this number.
- 78% of PETES children reported they drank sugary beverages before the survey, which is quite high.
- 70% of PETES Children ate junk food because it was easy to find
- 65% have eaten eat junk food out of habit since they were young
- 55% of PETES children think that the school encourages healthy eating
Because of this data, the school has started to look at a variety of creative ways to enhance the healthy lifestyles of our students. To improve nutrition and help with student’s knowledge of food preparation, PETES has created a Mini-Chef Program from “Garden to Compost”. With Chef Joy and their classroom teacher, students will learn to plan, promote, prepare, and serve meals to the entire student body. We are very excited about an incredibly unique program that will expose our students to a higher level of nutritional and environmental awareness; while at the same time, develop their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills.
We have also established Daily walks for kindergarten students, runs for classes and weekly visits to a sports facility to ensure our students are being more active and healthy.
Due to the increased enrolment at PETES over the past several years, we have realized that there is very little available space in the building to support many student’s individual needs (need for emotional expression, need for a quiet space, office space to meet with individuals or small groups, kinesthetic movement room, sensory room, more gym space, and many more. As such, we have had to become more creative to help students express their emotional needs safely. Therefore, the staff agreed that it would be prudent to use grant money to rent La Fonderie Sports Complex. Based on the feedback from students and staff, the sessions at La Fonderie were extremely successful throughout the 2018/2019 school year. At the June 2019 Governing Board meeting, it will be recommended that we continue to rent the space at La Fonderie by using healthy lifestyles grant money. From student feedback, the many people cited how much they enjoyed the walk as well as the exposure to a variety of new sports (dance, ringette, handball, Gaelic football, fitness stations, and more).
Interventions based on Analysis
Here are specific student concerns that will be addressed during the 2019/2020 school year:
- High number of kindergarten and grade one students have an autism code; therefore, staff will need to receive additional professional development
- The number of First Nations students has increased dramatically over past four years to 85 students (16% of our enrolment); therefore, we have dedicated a technician to track and support new students academically
- Additional French resource support in cycle one, two and three
- A higher number of grade one students are not reading at level in ELA; therefore, extra resource help will be provided in this area
- Significant number of students from grade one to three (in both the English and immersion programs) will be receiving small group support to help with reading fluency and decoding
- Targeting and supporting grade one and two English classes through Soundprints due to their low benchmark results (reading levels) in both French and English
- Establishing a homework recovery club during both recesses
- Creating an “Attachment Room” to support students with high energy and high emotional expression (bicycle desks, elliptical pedals, drums, tablets with supporting software) – for identified students, two daily 15 minute times to drop-in to complete work with the behaviour technician
- Establishing a “Team Teaching” approach between two teachers in the same grade. During some Math and ELA classes, teachers will sort groups of students to target specific areas.
- Creating groups (pods) of teachers to align curriculum development to our new strategies (nature, environment, play, nutrition, fitness)
We are anticipating a minimum of two years before the extension will be complete; therefore. we will have to continue to be creative with our available space. There are 28 rooms within the school: 26 rooms are designated as homerooms; while two have specialty designation: CLC/attachment room and staff room. As a result, every class is being used to its maximum capacity and every nook of space has been converted to an office, book room, or storage area. Unfortunately, we do not have any space left to create a much needed sensory room. However, we have adapted our new resource room and invested in materials to create a partial sensory area. Therefore, over the next two years, we will have to continue to monitor expected future enrollment growth to manage, and perhaps reorganize or reconfigure, our existing space.
We are continuing to invest significantly towards technology in the classroom. All teachers have been updated with laptops and all classrooms have now been equipped with Smartboards. Our kindergarten classes and resource department have acquired five iPADs each; while our grade four English class is still participating in a school board iPad project. In addition, we purchased two chrome books each for all our grade one and two classes. We have also purchased a second set of 28 laptops so we now have two portable computer labs. The emphasis and integration of technology have been coordinated by a plan designed by our tech committee with the purpose of enhancing outstanding teaching in the classroom.
The school was originally named Pius xii and it was located on 186 Archambault Street, Gatineau (Hull). In 2000, the school was renamed Pierre Elliott Trudeau; and, in the fall of 2002, it was moved to its current location on 2 Millar Street, Gatineau (Hull).
For the school year 2018/2019, we received staffing allocation for 39.5 staff members (includes aides and technicians)
- 4 kindergarten teachers
- 25 teachers from grade one to six
- 2 FSL teachers
- 2.5 gym teachers
- 2.5 resource teachers
- 2.5 technicians (behaviour/Aboriginal student support)
- 12 part-time aides
Families and Communities
Continuing to cultivate closer relationships and partnerships with the families and the community will be a main goal for this year and beyond. We have an active Home and School who have worked closely with the school to fundraise to help finance: field trips, awards ceremonies, school clubs, musical instruments, sports teams, and the promotion of the Performing Arts. This year, with the continued support of the Home and School, we will be offering extra-curricular activities, clubs, Arts, and evening events. We believe that this collaboration will help make our school a more inviting and welcoming environment for students and parents alike; while at the same time, enhancing our reputation within the community.
Since PETES has been an official Community Learning Centre for several years, we are now in a better position to offer unique opportunities for students and parents. Having a CLC coordinator specifically dedicated to supporting learning in the classroom and organizing events in the evenings (and weekends), has transformed PETES into a true community school. The following are examples of community initiatives from our CLC and Home and School:
- Pancake breakfast and Snowflake Bazaar
- Performance group (100 students)
- Evening dances
- Community soccer, hockey and basketball evenings for staff and families
- Community VC workshops
- Series of evening workshops for kindergarten parents on Play and Healthy Child Development (Dr. Gordon Neufeld philosophy)
- Used toy and winter clothing drive; Christmas baskets
- Soccer evening for parents
- Partnership with L’Arche and Maison de l’amitie
- Partnerships with Ottawa Gaelic football team, OHSSN, Outaouais Ski Patrol, and Cameroonian-Gatineau Soccer Club, Ottawa-Gatineau Tunisian Community
- Literacy evenings: “I love to read”; family movie nights
- Friday morning drop-in for coffee and muffins with the principal
- Evening or weekend cooking classes
- Saturday activity days (sports, drumming, cooking)
- Community garden
- Sparks / Brownies / Guides / Cubs / Beavers / Scouts
- Local community carnival (weekend)
- Multi-Cultural Day Celebration
- Black History month celebration
- Healthy cooking classes – Mini-Chef Program
- Annual spring Pow Wow
- Evening of the Arts
- Annual grade three Music performance
- Enviro Educ-Action (environmental awareness program)
- Champion for Life (after school program)
- Dimensions sports program (after school program)
- Swimming at UQO for grade three’s;
- Military Resource Families (evening French classes)
- For Us Girls Club (lunch time club for girl’s empowerment)
- Fab Lab (digital Fabrication)
- Aviation Museum (Aerospace network
Analysis of Situation
This year, we had 540 students registered at our school on September 30th. As the school is located in the Hull sector of Gatineau, we have a very transient population. Considering the population has increased dramatically over the past six years, we were quite surprised when our enrolment for 2018/2019 dropped by 30 students. There were several factors that accounted for the decrease in enrolment: fewer kindergarten registrations (68 instead of 80); many families moved away from the catchment area or out of province (approximately 45 students); and a higher number of our indigenous families from Northern Quebec registered at South Hull due to the availability of new buildings. As a result, we anticipate our enrolment remaining around 530 / 540 for the next few years.
From an analysis of the current situation, here are the main areas of focus for this school year:
- Improving reading levels of our students from Grade one to grade four according to our benchmark assessment system
- Providing additional support for our FSL students in our English program; particular emphasis for French as a third language for many (26%)
- Providing additional French resource support in all FSL classes
- Improve communication between home and school; particular attention to our new anti-bullying referral form (In last year’s Tell Them From Me survey only 31% of students who indicated that they had been bullied actually told a parent – 50% told a teacher)
- Improve student attendance (more letters to parents to underline the importance of regular school attendance)
- Additional resources to provide social-emotional support for our high number of kindergarten students
- Continue to have our Math specialists share successful practices and lead our Math team
- Additional supervision of students inside and outside during recesses
- Student leadership program at lunch time to help provide support to kindergarten and grade one students
- Continue to promote a safe and healthy school through positive relationships, student engagement, healthy lifestyles, nutritional awareness, and student leadership opportunities
- More alternative options at recess for students who are having difficulty during unstructured time (robotics, DI, Chess, rubric cube clubs, comic book club, lego club, knitting, etc.)
- A professional learning community with kindergarten teachers and principal to share practices, study the Neufeld paradigm and assess the new organizational and social-emotional needs of our kindergarten students
- Reach more parents to become actively involved in our school community (participation in events, volunteer in classes and on field trips, and tap into skillsets for new CLC initiatives)
- Organize a welcoming committee through our Home and School and CLC to support new families to the school / region
- Create a cultural support group to help our Indigenous students and families to become more connected to the school (lunch time activities in the cultural room; broomball and lacrosse; evening gatherings for families and staff; Pow Wow in the spring time at the school)
- Mini Chef! – A healthy mini-chef awareness program to help students academically by engaging them in a program that includes: gardening, meal planning, budgeting, food preparation, promotion, and composting
- A focus on Kindergarten play, yoga, outdoor education, and nature walks
- Integrate long-term “Lab Ecole” teaching and learning strategies (nutrition / gardening / cooking, movement, science / stem, outdoor education, etc.)