Cover

Principal power

K. MARLEY August 23 2004
Cover

Principal power

K. MARLEY August 23 2004

MORE ADVERSITY BUSTERS

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SIR CHARLES TUPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL

VANCOUVER

It gained notoriety last November when a student was beaten to death right outside school property in a racist attack. But the students and staff at Sir Charles Tupper in central Vancouver formed action teams and took training in facilitation skills to help heal the community. Many of the school’s 1,000 students are from low-income families, and a few have children of their own or suffer from various disabilities. But since the dark days of last November, there’s a new spirit in the air at Sir Charles Tupper.

HARROW DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOL HARROW, ONT.

Against all odds, this rural school of 440 students celebrated its 100th anniversary in May. Harrow has been threatened with closure four times in the past 15 years, and despite vigorous protests, it faces another clo-

sure vote in November. “The town will fall apart if it’s shut down,” says Karen Fleming, who retired as principal in June. “They’re building a new subdivision in the area, but people won’t come if there isn’t a school.” JOHN G. DIEFENBAKER HIGH SCHOOL CALGARY

This blue-collar school used to be about “just getting the job done,” says principal Bob Tink-an attitude that led to it being ranked 147th in the province’s first Fraser report in 1999. This year it came 33rd. What happened? “Basically, it was about getting the kids involved,” says Linda Raasveldt, the former principal who decided to turn things around. Through added athletics, extracurriculars and debating competitions, and a focus on professional development and teamwork for the teachers, Raasveldt persuaded students, staff and the community of their stake in the school of 1,350 students.

K. MARLEY