This year we are publishing a series of stories about our schools. Read them all here.
(Pictured above is the Grade 1 class)
Pembina North Community School (PNCS) is located in Dapp, Alberta and serves approximately 200 Kindergarten to Grade 9 students. Students are bussed to the school from a large geographic area north of Westlock including the towns and hamlets of Dapp, Jarvie, Fawcett, Flatbush and Chisholm.
Established in 2014 through the amalgamation of three area schools, PNCS is proud of the strong bonds of community and caring that have been forged among their students, staff and families over the past six years. Students wear their black and yellow “Pembina Panthers” gear with pride, and parents are always prepared to volunteer in classrooms and for special events. The staff go above and beyond to create a daily atmosphere of acceptance throughout the school.
Principal Raime Drake emphasizes, “Before any learning can take place, it is essential for students to feel like they belong academically and socially.” All staff at PNCS prioritize the value of building relationships with students by getting to know their strengths and stretches, whether it be through the lens of literacy, numeracy, behaviour or social emotional learning.
PNCS staff enjoy the challenge of uniting a diverse community of learners and work daily to meet the needs of each individual student. They are ready to provide programming that is “out of the box” and challenge the status quo, often guided by this quote:
“We will know inclusive education has really become embedded in our culture when the term becomes obsolete.” Michael F. Giangreco et al.
As Mrs. Drake says, “Each staff member really does walk-the-walk when it comes to inclusion.” They focus on belonging, including academic and social inclusion. Drake speaks proudly of the Shelley Moore sessions which were hosted at PNCS in 2019 where staff were encouraged and challenged to “up their game” to plan and teach to the range of learners in their classrooms.
Building Best Practices for Instruction
An exciting initiative that PNCS teachers have introduced to their students is Concept Based Instruction (CBI). Teachers are able to deliver instruction with clear targets set for what students will come to understand. This enables students to learn through lessons that teach them wide-reaching concepts that they can apply not only in one particular subject, but throughout a range of other subjects that they will be taught.
PNCS is proud to offer diverse and inclusive learning opportunities for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 9. In addition to daily academics, all students also take music and physical education classes. Junior high students have the opportunity to diversify their learning further through Fine Arts classes such as Band, Watercolour, Drawing and Drama.
Students can also pursue special interests through Career and Technology classes such as Textile Arts, Outdoor Pursuits, Cosmetology, Photography, Film Studies, Creative Writing, Hockey, Ringette, Volleyball, Fitness, Foods, Construction and Digital Technology.
If students have a particular area of interest, such as volunteering at a business or community organization, they can also incorporate that into their learning as a Passion Project. The PNCS staff are an amazing group of people with extensive life and career experiences to call upon in order to give excellent quality instruction in this wide variety of learning opportunities for students.
With a boundary that reaches almost 100 km from north to south, PNCS geographically covers an enormous area, yet the sense of community is close and strong. Both the PNCS School Council and PNCS Fundraising Association are vibrant and active, providing endless volunteer and financial support to serve the needs of students. These volunteers do everything from preparing hot lunches and fantastic Christmas dinners that the students love, to running soccer tournaments and organizing Bingos in order to support the school sports teams and purchase fantastic playground equipment.
The PNCS community takes pride in their school and they go above-and-beyond to help whenever needed. Their generosity in giving to special projects such as Food Bank Drives and the Terry Fox Run is also outstanding.
A Building Where Every Student Belongs
Pembina North Community School is truly a building where every student belongs. Whether a student is an academic, a musician, a technician, an athlete, an avid reader, a movie fanatic or a mix of all of these with an array of other interests and talents besides, PNCS is proud to welcome each individual learner as part of their “Panther Pride.”
The school motto proudly states, “United We Achieve Excellence”. Through relationship building, diverse learning opportunities and inclusion of all, the staff and community are united in their goal to provide all students with a place to belong at PNCS.