School District 8’s five-year strategic plan has been released with two of the main focuses aiming to create inclusive learning environments and promote academic success.
As part of its plan to promote inclusivity the district announced that they will be building an accessible playground at Canyon Lister Elementary school. The playground will be open for students and the public to use this fall.
Trish Smillie, SD8’s superintendent, explained that the accessible playground will provide all students with the ability to play and explore together.
“An accessible playground is a playground that reduces barriers to participation for all children and youth,” says Smillie. “So, children with different types of mobility restrictions are able to access the playground. It will have different heights and different ways of playing within the playground as well.”
She also said the district hopes the playground will not only promote inclusivity for its students, but also for the community.
“One of the priorities of the strategic plan is to create a caring and inclusive community. Having the ability for all students to use a playground that reduces barriers of students playing together and enjoying play structures is one step forward in ensuring that we have an inclusive community.”
Smillie also explained that providing students with the necessary tools to achieve academic success was one of the district’s main focuses when developing the plan.
“Our strategic plan is the guiding roadmap that leads us towards an improved student learning. The plan includes actions that aim to help to stimulate growth in certain areas that we know we need to have growth in, particularly around our academic learning, and including ensuring that we have inclusive spaces.”
Smillie said when developing the plan one main suggestion they received from parents and faculty was to implement tools that stimulate growth from their students to ensure every child has the ability to be successful once they graduate.
“Parents overwhelmingly said they want to have options for their child’s future. They want students to be able to transition out of high school with different options and an awareness of opportunities beyond high school.” said Smillie.
“That’s something we’ll be working closely on. Parents wanted the school district to ensure that literacy and numeracy was focused on, and that’s something we highlighted in the plan as well.”