Micro Village – Year 2 in Review

This year was a success in many ways. As always, we continue to reflect on how ways we can modify Micro Village to improve next year! Part of this reflection is through the Venture Annual Reports. While creating these reports, facilitators assist owners/mangers and employees in  reviewing the year through the creation of an annual profit/loss statement, and examing their success at reaching the venture goals, which were set earlier in the year. With this feedback, all members of the venture begin to look forward to being more successful next year. It is important to realize that success is not only reflected in the bottom line, but is also reflected in how they have grown as individuals and through their contributions to the community. Many ventures contributed to our community beyond the business of their business.

  • Pet Heaven was able to expose many members of the public to animals that were looking for a forever home via SCARS Animal Rescue, Edmonton
  • Helping Hands did mutiple community service activities to enhance the playground and pick up the spirits of others
  • Micro Bank sold Teddy Bears for the Stollery and raised 500MB which converted to $137.50 CA!

In addition to reflecting on their business, as a whole, every employee was given an annual performance evaluation. In these evaluations, managers, assisted by the facilitator, noted the strengths of each employee. In an effort to move learning forward, managers also noted areas for growth and discussed ways that improvement could occur. Finally, employees had the  opportunity to give feedback both on their performance and the job itself.

To celebrate the successful year, Micro Village held its 2nd Annual Micro Village Community Fair. This is our way of closing up business and saying good bye. Each venture designed an activity for the members of the Micro Village to enjoy during our last market day. This day is closed to visitors as it is a time for the students to enjoy themselves visiting ventures and participating in the games/activities. It seemed that all students had a great time as they wandered from venture to venture and enjoyed the free activities.

This time of year is also a time to give thanks to those that have supported Micro Village through the year. We wish to publicly acknowledge and thank the following:

  • The Spruce Grove Examiner & Marcia Love for their wonderful coverage of Micro Village specifically, and Parkland Village School, in general
  • The Spruce Grove & District Chamber of Commerce – Dianne Pilla, Membership & Events Coordinator, Brenda Johnson, President & CEO
  • Officer Hoffman, Parkland County Peace Officer, as a mentor for the Parkland Patrol
  • Mrs. Armishaw, Mrs. Bagnel, & Mrs. Kitura for their support of the Italian Bistro
  • Mr. deBoer for assisting with birdhouse building in Pet Heaven
  • SCARS Rescue, from Edmonton, for bringing out adoptable pets in support of Pet Heaven
  • Nina McLaughlin for sharing her animal rescue expertise for a second year in a row
  • Parkland Village School Council for their unwavering support of Micro Village
  • The Parkland Village School Community

Well the year has wound up with a little sadness, but all are looking forward to next year with anticipation. It will be just a little bit different and a little bit better, as we continue to grow. If you are interested in supporting Micro Village, or know of anyone who may be, please don’t hesitate to contact the school at 780 962-8121. Have a restful summer.

 

 

Congratulations PVS Micro Village!

Over the last school year, the PVS community went quietly about the business of working through our inaugural year as a MicroSociety school. It seems that our hard work has been recognized by the MicroIMG_5874SocIMG_5872iety  organization. Today, arriving inauspiciously by mail, was a nondescript envelope. Who would expect that the envelope would contain 2 certificates? The first awarded us the Rookie of the Year  and the second named us as a Three Star MicroSociety School; the second highest level of possible achievement (four stars is the maximum awarded)! This tells us we are off to an amazing start on our journey to becoming the best MicroSociety possible. We are looking forward to digger deeper this year and increasing the level of student and community engagement. Stay tuned as we continue to share our journey during the 2016-2017 school year.

The Survey Says…

The results are in! They are very encouraging and supportive of PVS Micro Village’s MicroSocietyⓇ. Each Market Day, we were so lucky and pleased to have a number of visitors come to tour and shop. Over the course of our inaugural Market Day Season, we had 72 “adults” and a very special group of 36 grades 2 & 4 students from Blueberry School tour as our guests. Adult visitors included parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles of PVS students; trustees, superintendents, and visiting PSD70 administrators; venture/agency mentors and community members. All these wonderful visitors provided an amazing opportunity for our government members, as hosts at the Visitors’ Centre, to hone their public speaking skills, social convention & pragmatic skills, and to see the enthusiasm from the community around our Micro Village. Additionally, touring guests gave all Micro Village citizens the chance to interact with customers outside of our school community. Thus, providing unique interactions. Some visitors came in more than once and were able to provide feedback that indicated we were showing growth in the manner we conducted ourselves, in the products we sold, and in the general organization of the Market Day. This positive feedback may mean the most to both students and staff. However, all that being said, maybe it is the way Micro Village enhances our link to the community that will have the greatest impact in the upcoming years. We are truly blessed to have this opportunity to create partnerships that encourage, through almost daily, interactions with those in the community outside of our school itself. Clicking on this link will give you the specifics of our survey results. A summary is as follows:

Adult Visitors’ Rating………………………………………average of 4.8/5

Blueberry Students’ Rating…………………………an average of  4.6/5

Thank you, once more, for your support and involvement. We hope you can visit again next year to witness the growth we will undoubtedly experience.

Entrepreneurship in Action

Earlier this month, PVS Micro Village citizens, in grades 2 & 3, had the opportunity to bid for ownership of one of the 10 ventures within our society. Just as in the real world, bidders were required to complete an application package that included a business plan, budget and either proof of cash for purchase or a loan approval from Micro Village Bank. Each venture was assigned a minimum bid value, based on their profitability, and prospective buyers were expected to include a 10% deposit with their application. Finally, all bids were sealed and had a “not before and not after” submission date and time. This was to ensure all students had an equal opportunity to enter a potentially successful bid.

I am sure, that by this time readers may be thinking, “Oh my gosh, what a lot of work for the little ones”, or “Isn’t that so cute?”. Well, at first glance it is both. However, this is serious business for our students. As such, we needed to treat the process with the respect it deserves. The applicants were asked to go through a process that engaged them in reflecting on the business at hand, research the profitability of their business plan, be financially accountable, and in some cases, examine partnership viability. While 19 applications were picked up, only 10 were actually submitted. This is a testament to the work involved and the commitment of those students that chose to make a bid. In fact, two partnerships were unsuccessful in their first bid. One decided to complete the process to purchase an available venture (which, initially, did not receive any bids) and the second chose to move on. A case of clearly supporting MicroSociety’s mandate of giving students choice and managing the outcomes of their decisions.

As I visited the classrooms, talking to the students about the process, I was amazed by their insightful questions and felt privileged to be part of the discussions about the pros and cons of owning a venture. In one case, I was asked if partnerships were allowed. “Why, yes”, I said, as if it was the most natural thing, but in reality this was the first time I had considered partnerships. In my adult world, I only envisioned lone applicants. It took a student to think outside of “my box” and propose a new and viable idea; such is the beauty of MicroSociety and in our following the students’ lead. As a result, many of the ventures are now owned by partnerships.

I am hopeful that readers can now look at this process through the lens of the learners. When we look at the Cross-Curricular Competencies and 21st C Skills Wheel, it is clear this process has touched on many. While, it is only a handful of the students in the school that, by necessity, have this particular opportunity or have chosen to take advantage of this opportunity, it is the start of what we hope will become a lead-in to students proposing ventures, creating more student partnerships, and increasing their personal ownership of Micro Village. As this is only one area of leadership possibilities, it reminds us of the potential of Micro Village is limited only by the students’ imagination and will combined with our adult willingness to follow and support their lead.

On behalf of the PVS Micro Village community, I would like to send out a hearty congratulations to our inaugural venture owners and wish them the best of luck next year, as new venture owners!

Bugs & Berries Gift Shoppe……………………Emma (gr. 3)

Furever Pawrtners……………………………….Celeste & Hailey (gr. 3)

Italian Bistro……………………………………….Lailee (gr. 2/3)

Micro Media………………………………………..Parker & Easton (2S)

Picture It Salon……………………………………Brooklyn (gr. 2L) & Ellis                                                                             (gr. 2S)

ProLife Sports……………………………………..Dawson (gr. 2/3)

Sweet Treats Bakery……………………………..Ava, Alexandra & Lily                                                                                  (gr. 2/3)

Tech Check…………………………………………..Sam (gr. 3)

We hope you will continue to follow our story to see how the new year plays out. You can be guaranteed it will be exciting!

 

Value Village Gives Helping Hands A Hand

On, Tuesday, May 24, 2016 PVS Micro Village’s Helping Hands NGO traveled to Edmonton to visit Value Village.This visit came about because the Helping Hands staff wanted to get a first hand look at how a thrift store operates. The following is an account of the visit by Carter Davidson, Manager and Mason Murray, Assistant Manager:

Bernadette, the Value Village Store Manager, meet us at the front of the store. She asked us to put the items we brought for donation into a donation box, then we rolled it into the loading bay. We learned in the loading bay that everything needs to be accepted by the gentleman that works in that area. He put it into bags and then into containers. The loading bay was stacked with clothing, toys, books, and stuffies. From the loading bay the donations went to a sorting room. Altogether, there are 70 staff members working in the store. Many work in the sorting room where they check donations to see if the condition is good enough to keep and sell. If the condition isn’t good, they recycle it. Clothing  goes to Africa or is used for bags of rags. Electronic cords, all metal, and paper are recycled. Donations that are are good enough to sell are priced and then put into the store so people can buy them.

We learned some business strategies such as how it all works, how they price, how they know which items haven’t sold and that while the business is for profit, it also helps people with disabilities because they buy their products from Inclusion Alberta. Inclusion Alberta gets donations from the public and sells it to Value Village. So, every time a person gives donations to organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, people with disabilities are given the opportunity to have a job and make money. We learned  new ways to price and display donations in Helping Hands so that we can sell more, make more money and help more people. 

Helping Hands wishes to thank Bernadette and all the staff at Value Village for welcoming us into the store and for sharing ideas on how we can improve our  Micro Village Helping Hands store. They would also like to thank the Aspen Foundation for Labour Education for their grant, which provided for transportation. 

PVS Micro Village’s Helping Hands Lend a Hand

Dateline:  March 28, 2016                                                                                                                

Subject: Helping Hands Lend a HandLots to Learn

On March 28, 2016 the employees of  Helping Hands, a non-profit organization within the PVS Micro Village Society, traveled to the City of Spruce Grove to lend a hand at The Parkland Food Bank. This opportunity allowed employees to give back to the community.

Employees, under the direction of Carter Davidson, Manager and Mason Murray, Asst. Manager, decided they wanted to embark on a project that would help the greater community of Parkland County. Through their awareness of the amount of food collected at the school each year for Christmas Hampers, the staff identified The Parkland Food Bank  as a worthy cause. They felt this initiative would have a widespread positive influence, and that there is a need for a reliable source of nutrition withing the Parkland County community.

In order to collect food items, employees spent time creating and posting flyers around the school. They also ensured each Micro Village citizen took a flyer home to their families and advertised on Micro Media’s  biweekly newscast. Helping Hands offered a free bag of popcorn in exchange for a suitable food item donation. After the collection period, they had amassed 58 kg of food! It was noted by one employee, this was the equivalent weight of 2 employees, Mason and Jackson.

With a grant from The Aspen Foundation for Labour Educationthe non-profit group was able to charter a bus for the trip to The Parkland Food Bank. All 9 employees, managers, and 3 adult facilitators made the trek to deliver their 58 kg package. While there, they were able to learn more about the service the food bank offers, gain an understanding of the need, and do a little work. Members sorted their donations and shelved bread. Interesting facts they shared about Parkland Food Bank include:

  • The cost of milk & meat each month equals $6000. Clients only receive 1 L of milk and 1 lb of meat at a visit.
  • Sorting FoodClients are able to pick up a “full hamper” once each month.
  • Clients are able to access bread and produce once each week.
  • The Parkland Food Bank is supported by local stores which donate all left over bread products.
  • Bread products that cannot be used are traded as feed to a local rancher for meat.
  • A local company donated a cube truck to pick up supplies.

When asked what was the biggest insight they gained from their visit, Helping Hands employees overwhelming expressed dismay at the high level of need. They knew this service was in the community, but the visual image of the amount of food on the shelves, It Takes Teamworkand the dollars spent each week painted a picture of the enormity of the service the food bank provides. If you wish to find out more information on The Parkland Food Bank, you can click on this linkHelping Hands would like to thank The Parkland Food Bank for welcoming them to the facility. They would also like to thank The Aspen Foundation for Labour Education, for their generous grant. Finally, without the support of PVS Micro Village, there would not have been any food to donate, so thanks go out to all citizens of Micro Village.

 

 

 

 

The Best Fit for the Best People – Production Has Begun!

This week has been very exciting. After a decidedly unexpected 2 weeks of interviews, every Micro Village Citizen has a job with a venture or agency  and our production meetings have begun! Venture and Agency Management Teams, and their staff, are moving forward with the process of preparing for our  Market Day “soft” opening on March 8. As exciting as this is, we are moving forward with an eye towards excellence, so that may mean some ventures are ready to open and others may need a bit more time.  We are learning that flexibility and patience are key to ensuring we do the best we can, in the most timely fashion. Sometimes, “timely” means “more time”.

If one was to sum up the greatest challenge of our journey it would be that our learning is a process. Although we want to make everything perfect the first go around, it is not always so. Our goal is to engage in reflection, ask for and accept feedback from all stakeholders, then use this information to modify our current and future planning. We are driven to provide an educational experience that engages all our students in a meaningful way through choice and authentic real-life connections. This is evident as we walk around the school during these first production meetings. Despite a few hiccups, we can hear and see the excitement of all Micro Village citizens. Venture and Agency teams are engaged in their planning activities, stretching their thinking, and taking on responsibilities they wouldn’t have dreamed of before. We say bring on Market Day!

Just imagine, that in a few weeks our community will be shopping at the Bugs & Berries Gift Shoppe, Sweet Treats Bakery, The Italian Bistro, or browsing through the Helping Hands Thrift Store. Perhaps one might want to take advantage of the services offered by The Recreation Centre, Animal Rescue & Wellness Centre or at the TechCheck Design Studio. If you are looking for some entertainment, you might stop and visit the Performing/Fine Arts Studio and challenge your brain at the Wild Science Museum. Finally, one may tour the Government Offices, the Warehouse or exchange your Canadian money for Micro Village Micro Bucks at the Micro Village Bank. Don’t forget to watch out for our PeaceKeepers. You just might be issued a “doing good” ticket for following the laws and being kind OR you could find yourself  on the wrong end of a “not so good” ticket for being unsafe or unkind; the choice is yours!

Check out this video to get a taste of our Production Days…more to come in the future.

 

Micro Village Constitution is More than an Idea!

Today, our Micro Village government members moved the Constitution from an idea to reality! After taking both an Affirmation of Citizenship and Affirmation of Office, all members of government, including the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Members of Parliament, each representing their grade level (grades 1-4) constituency, signed the final draft of our society’s Constitution.

Nov 25 - 2015 049

The Micro Village Constitution was developed through an arduous process which represented democracy in action. All grade 4 students were members of the committee tasked with developing and ratifying a document that reflects our culture, expectations, rights, responsibilities and freedoms. Meetings were facilitated by both Mrs. Cheryl Eidick and Mrs. Paige Couros (Parkland Village School’s grade 4 teachers). You may access the Parkland Village School’s Micro Village Constitution here.

The group began by reviewing existing constitutions from other MicroSociety’s within Alberta and the U.S.A. After highlighting the ideas and statements that resonated with them, the students looked at the Canadian Charter of Rights to ensure the selections were aligned with a Constitutional Monarchy form of government, such as ours.

Perhaps the most meaningful portion of Micro Village’s Constitution was the thoughtful discussion held by the students in developing the preamble. This statement lays out the ideals for the culture of Micro Village. It is through this statement that the grade 4 students expressed the ideals to which all citizens should aspire. In reading this statement, you will note that respect, fairness, equality, and a healthy community top the list of the values for this “more perfect school”. It is important to note that our community extends beyond the students and the staff. It does in fact extend to “all future students, families and teachers” with the goal to ensure “Parkland Village School’s Micro Village [citizens will] enjoy the same freedoms we enjoy today”.

Finally, the grade 4 students were tasked during their Micro University Constitutional Course, to review the remainder of the document. This work resulted in the finished document signed today and outlines Micro Village Citizens’ Rights and Freedoms, Equalization, and sections pertaining to the operation of our government. With the document in place, our government will be able to sit in Parliamentary sessions to do  work which includes creating laws, establishing taxes, and setting Micro Village’s minimum wage. This document guides, supports, and governs all citizens of Micro Village and is the core of our society whereby “kids are in charge”, are responsible for their learning, and engaged in developing an ideal culture and society.

Micro Village Campaigning and Elections

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If you were to walk through the halls of Micro Village (the name that was created and voted on by citizens at our school) right now you would see colourful signs plastering the walls (like the ones above). We just finished campaign week and students who are vying for position of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have been shaking hands, putting up posters and talking with students on the playground. This year we will have a Prime Minister from grade 4 and a Deputy Prime Minister from grade 3. During our first round of Micro University, students learned how to campaign and how to make an informed vote with professor Dhaliwal.

On November 8th, 2015 we will have an assembly from 2-2:30 p.m. where Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister candidates will have an opportunity to give a short speech explaining why they will make a great leader. Parents are welcome to watch the candidates explain their platforms. On November 9th, 2015 students will vote and the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will be announced before fall break. In each classroom, students will also vote for a Member of Parliament who will represent their class in Micro Village’s government.

Being a member of government is just one of many leadership opportunities that will be open to students this year. Coming up next for Micro Village, we will be announcing the ventures (businesses) we will have this year. We will be hiring managers and assistant managers for each venture. Ventures will be announced the week following fall break!

Thank you to all the citizens who participated in the elections! You can be very proud of yourselves for trying something new and taking a risk. In the words of basketball legend Michael Jordan “I can accept failure. Everybody fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. Fear is an illusion.”