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School Context

 

ASIA, Sumas Mountain Campus is a public school of choice currently enrolling Grades 6-12, with a focus on integrating the arts as a lens to engage students in the regular curriculum. The school has been at the current site for nine years, during which time four new grades have been added.  The first class graduated in June 2010.  We are the only school in Abbotsford to house both a middle and a secondary program.

The program is an Integrated Fine Arts Curriculum, which provides students with direct intensive study and skill development in the Fine Arts strands and opportunities to demonstrate their learning in Core Curriculum through the Arts. Each classroom teacher is required to have post-secondary qualifications or equivalent experience and/or training in music, art, dance, digital media, or drama, as well as core academic subjects.  Teachers teach curriculum in addition to their arts’ specialities, and are expected to integrate the arts and curriculum across all grade levels.

Data collection of student achievement has been a focus the last three years and we are learning to use the data to discuss student achievement, school goals, and school philosophy and direction.  

The staff chooses a theme each year to drive both the curriculum and the arts/  This year’s theme is For the Love of the Arts.  We will look forward to a week long celebration in June with our Exhibition of Learning.

Artist-in-Residence projects in 2015-16

-Get the Ball Rolling Video in conjunction with ArtStarts. A 15 minute video fashioned after the artist Rube Goldberg. Students worked throughout the year experimenting with creative and very different ways to move a ball throughout the school showcasing our arts and classes. This was supported by the film crew, Time Lapse Films, and creative director, Dale Klippenstein

- A concentrated workshop opportunity with Dr. Edward S. Bach from Brandon University for band students from grades 7 to 12. Students worked one on one with Dr. Bach and his student teacher receiving rich feedback on their playing technique.  We were thrilled to have Dr. Bach return for our Spring Jazz Gala where he dazzled the crowd with his trumpet playing talent. 

Artist-in-Residence projects in 2013-14:
- Linda Klippenstein worked with Grade 7 students and teachers to continue our picnic table project.  They incorporated English and Socials 7 Prescribed Learning Outcomes with Visual Arts using our school theme of VOiCE
- George Hemion worked with Aboriginal and art students to create a large carving representing an eagle, orca, and a bear. 
- Susie Green worked with dance students Grades 6-12 for two weeks on the dance curriculum.
- Sylvie Roussel-Janssens worked with Social Justice 12 students to create a fabric art representations of Human Rights issues.
- Dale Klippenstein, photographer,  worked with Grade 8 students on the “Recreating the Renaissance” Project

Philosophy behind the Program: ASIA offers a program where the Arts are a vehicle for learning, the lens through which students acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to find success in academic study, career and personal life.

The school supports learning at all levels by the use of a staff developed Scope and Sequence of the Arts in which learning outcomes of all the Art disciplines are linked from grade to grade.   We have also developed a common language in terms of the elements and the vocabulary of the Arts, so as to teach and assess students’ work cross-curricularly.

Teachers see parents as partners in learning and many teachers have adopted on-line posting of assignments and class notes on websites so parents have immediate access to information on their children’s work and progress.  About half the staff have developed a personal class website to inform parents and students.  In addition, many teachers use Check My Mark, an online marks program, to report out to parents and students of student progress.

ASIA Sumas offers wide-ranging and intensive programs in dance, visual art, digital media arts, drama and music, providing students with many opportunities to showcase their talents. In 2009-10 our students presented the school’s first musical theatre, “Broadway Bound” written by teachers.  Elton John’s “Aida” was performed in the Spring of 2009-10.  In 2011-12 our students performed “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”.  “Aida” and “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” were performed in the Abbotsford Arts Centre. In 2012-13 our students presented the musical “The Apple Tree” at ASIA Sumas.  In 2013-14 we presented “Grease the Musical”.  Over 100 students, more than one-third of the staff and 18 parents were involved on the stage or behind the scenes.   All of our shows were rehearsed outside the school timetable and involved students in both the Middle and Secondary Schools. This year both our secondary and middle school are producing a show.  Secondary students presented The Tempest in March 2015, and Middle School students are presenting The Little Prince in April 2015 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.

ASIA Sumas’ student leadership class is working to improve school culture with a variety of service projects, in addition to dances, spirit weeks, movie nights, and student appreciation days.  These students are models of responsible student citizenship, demonstrating leadership, responsiveness, self-initiative and reliability.  Currently, they are supporting “Run for Water” by helping with a Mini Run, a Liquid Lock In, and bake sales.  In February 2014, a small group of students were in Los Angeles taking workshops at both The Edge and in Disneyland.

ASIA students have extra-curricular options such as Track and Field, Cross Country Club, Jazz Band, Vocal Jazz, Middle School Choir, Swim Club, Golf Club, Writing Club, Drama Club and Musical Theatre.  Other extra-curricular activities include a number of plays (Dramaganza, Dessert Theatre, spring shows) and musical events (concerts, coffeehouses, pod presentations, District Nights of Music, Exhibitions of Learning and the Arts).

The staff is committed to a coordinated ongoing focus on Arts Integration and personal growth and development in the field.  Half the staff has completed the 15+ Simon Fraser University Graduate Diploma Program in Arts Integration in 2013.  Another staff member completed a Masters Degree in Imaginative Education.  One staff member has completed a Masters in Educational Practice, and is now teaching and mentoring SFU students in the Arts Integration program.  During staff meetings, the staff is developing understandings in each of the arts to better integrate all the arts in student learning.  They are also working on improving adaptation of assignments by their colleagues.  We continue to examine our practices around assessment with the purpose of improving student learning and achievement.

Our School population in 2015-16 consists of:

350 students from Grade 6-12 (Middle: 184; Secondary: 166)
Number of designated ELL students:  2
Percentage of Secondary Aboriginal students:  13%
Percentage of Middle Aboriginal students:  15.5%
Percentage of Secondary students with Special Education designation:   21%
Percentage of Middle students with Special Education designation:   13%
Number of International Students:  2
Students are from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.
As a school of choice we have students attending from both within and outside of the District (Chilliwack, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge and Mission).