Discovering Beiseker Community School
Kristina Rentz, Assistant Principal, Beiseker Community School – Changing schools can be hard, regardless of whether you are a student, a teacher or an administrator. It takes time to learn new faces and names, a new role and a new building. Worry and anxiety can set in, leaving a person to wonder, “will I fit in?”, “what is the culture like?” and “how quickly can I adjust?” Although this was my fourth move in Rocky View Schools (RVS), these thoughts of uncertainty still crept in. And to add to the personal change for me, the school also was getting a new principal.
We quickly adjusted as an admin team and while working with the staff and community, we realized what a truly special and unique place Beiseker Community School (BCS) is. As the only K – Gr. 12 school in the jurisdiction, it is a place where ‘community’ really shines through.
In our first few days together, we had the staff share what made BCS great and worked to identify themes. We then reviewed the Playbook sections that highlighted the insights they uncovered last spring. We also had the students complete an activity where they shared what they thought made our school great. What we discovered was that the whole school community was on the same page! Three major themes appeared: Caring & Knowledgeable Staff, Unique Configuration and Strong Connection to Community.
The size and configuration of our school allows for everyone to connect with each other on numerous levels. Our high school and middle school students work with our elementary students in various curricular settings. They also share the same busses, hallways and common areas. Leadership opportunities are endless for students at every grade level. Our upper level teachers have weekly or daily interactions with the younger students and our elementary teachers have the privilege of watching their students grow all the way to graduation. As one parent added, “community belongs in our school name because it is how we all feel about this place”.
Although our strengths are the size and configuration, along with a strong sense of community, they also can be the things that provide challenges. When we have days designated to building a bond and strong culture between grades, how do we ensure authenticity and engagement? Having organic opportunities instead of forced collaboration will be a goal. People from three communities (Beiseker, Irricana and Kathyrn) come together to provide support at BCS. Keeping families informed when they do not live nearby adds extra complexity.
Moving forward this year, we want to make sure Beiseker Community School’s story is being shared far and wide. We want to promote all of the great things our staff and students are doing. We are looking to make our learning more visible through social media, as well as through more traditional forms of communication. Our doors are open to the community and we appreciate everything we gain from them. We all recognize how truly unique this school is. We want to ensure transparency and let the greater community share in our successes too.