Numeracy @ Seba Beach – washing away with “I can’t do math”

Numeracy is defined as the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, if one can understand simple mathematical equations such as, 2 + 2 = 4, then one would be considered possessing at least basic numeric knowledge.

Numbers are everywhere in the world and on a given any given day we do math without even thinking about it.  A numerically literate person can manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life. However, this is a skill that many take fo granted, there are a lot of individuals that struggle with Numeracy.

At Seba Beach School, we have collected data, that reveals that many of our students would benefit from a Numeracy program, somewhat similar to the literacy programthat we have in place. Similar to the Literacy program, the Numeracy programs philosophy is that students learn best when they are taught at their level, with students at their level, in small groups and that the basics need to be learned and understood before moving to a new concept.

To ensure that the students are working at the appropriate levels and that they are also being challenged, at the beginning of the year the literacy level of each student was assessed. After the students were assessed they were placed into groups with students that are at the same level and to this group was assigned an educational staff.

In October the majority of students have been working on improving and fine tuning their skills and tools related to mental math. An example of this would the skills and tools that students can use to solve. Everyone chooses a specific method to complete a question, but the idea is not to have every student complete the question in the same way, but for students to be familiar with all of the techniques and choose the one that appeals the best to them. Below are three examples of this.


Rounding                                                    Breaking Down                                                           Counting On

74-38=                                                        74-38 =                                                                          74-38=

round up by 2 to get 40                       74- (30 & 8)                                                                  38 to 40 is up by 2

74-40 = 34                                                74-30 = 44                                                                   40 to 70 is up by 30

34 up by 2 is 36                                       44-8 = 36                                                                      70 to 74 is up by 4

Ans = 36                                                     Ans = 36                                                                       2+30+4 = Ans 36

Students are shown these as well as the traditional format and others and practice using them, then students are free to choose their method of preference.

Not only are the Numeracy groups great for interventions to assist children in Math, but the groups also allow for more individualized focus for where students need the help and alternative practice in an environment where competition is not present, because students are grouped based on abilities.

Personally, I know that the students that I am working with are having fun, and they are still being challenged to do better and make improvements in their skills. As well, since the groupings and the information being covered is directly tied and coordinated with the new JUMP math that is being used in all of our math classes, our students are seeing the continuity. If you have any questions or would like some information, please feel free to contact the school and ask for Mr. Ram or Mrs. Wong.

Staff are excited about the design and implementation of our Numeracy program and all of its possibilities. . We are looking forward to the successes of our students, to seeing the results of students being more independent and confident. Overall, the staff at Seba Beach are looking forward to making our belief and mindset that “ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN” a reality.  Come, join us.

LITERACY @ Seba Beach – Kids who Read, Succeed

The ability to communicate your thoughts is among one of the most important aspects that will determine your success in relationships, ability to make money, as well as your life. Without a proper supply of vocabulary, literary capacity, and determination to do better, you will have a very difficult time being independent. Language learning is perhaps one of the most difficult things to master, and so, mastering any language requires a great deal of practice, determination, and continual usage.

With all of this in mind and understanding the needs of our students Seba Beach School has created and implemented a school wide literacy program. The basis behind the program is that students learn best when they are taught at their level, with students at their level, in small groups and that the basics need to be learned and understood before moving to a new concept.

To ensure that the students are working at the appropriate levels and that they are also being challenged, at the beginning of the year the literacy level of each student was assessed. After the students were assessed they were placed into groups with students that are at the same level and to this group was assigned an educational staff. For example for one month students will look at all of the skills and tools that one can use to sequence stories.

The students will practice this using readings, story boards, and other methods that are relevant for group levels. Bi-weekly at the longest educational staff will meet as a group to discuss techniques, strategies that are successful, strategies that need to be changed, and how students are progressing and whether or not they are ready to move to the next skill. To measure the growth and improvement of each student they will be assessed once every reporting period this will provide us with the best possible information to plan for each student. To help and communicate with parents the school will post updates to the school website to share the skills and tools that the school is using. This will provide parents with ideas that can be used to continue the work that is happening at the school.

Please fell free to access our information and share it if it is beneficial. If you are interested in the program please feel free to contact the school and ask for Mr. Ram, Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Melmoth.

Staff are excited about the Literacy program and all of its possibilities. . We are looking forward to the successes of our students, to seeing the results of students being more independent and confident. Overall, the staff at Seba Beach are looking forward to making our belief and mindset that “ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN” a reality.  Come, join us.

If You Look To The West The STARS Shine!

Being able to have sports teams is a challenge facing schools in rural locations. The schools that are located on the west end of Parkland County have come up with a solution to this challenge. The solution is to join together and combine our children and resources. This allows our children to experience the joy of being on a sports team. The schools involved are Wabamun, Entwistle, Seba Beach, and Tomahawk, and it’s just a coincidence that the when abbreviated the school names spell WEST.

This fall the principle of these schools met and decided that it was definitely a win-win situation for everyone involved to make a combined team. The students that want to play on a school sports team will get the opportunity to do just that. This takes a little more dedication from the students and parents because it is not as easy as staying after school for practise. Some students on the team must now travel to the practices  depending on which school is the host school. So far, Seba Beach has been the host school. This was a challenge that most students and parents were willing to take so that they can play the sports they love.

This school year there were two West End teams for volleyball, with students coming from Wabamun, Seba Beach and Tomahawk. The teams formed were a junior girls’ team, coached by Katherine Kindrat (Seba Teacher) and a senior girls’ team coached by Stephanie Khondowe-Wong (Seba Teacher). It was a season of growth and learning for the players, coaches and parents. It was a season of success for the junior and senior girls. Both teams overcame obstacles and developed friendships that will continue to grow throughout the school years.

The junior girls WEST STARS were able to reach a high level of success this season. They had their shares of wins and losses throughout the regular season. The team attended two tournaments. The first tournament at Living Waters helped these girls to see that they were just as good as all the other teams. The second tournament closer to the end of the season at Spruce Grove Composite High school was where these STARS really began to shine brightly. The girls played hard and came together as a team should and made it to the Association finals. The final match was very close and the girls came home with Second place, beating out many schools in Parkland County that have not had to face the challenges of combining students from different schools to make a team. It was wonderful to see!

When the tryouts were held for basketball, the turnout was awesome. There were enough boys and girls from the four schools that three teams will be made for the basketball season. From this turnout there was a developmental team formed with grade 5 and 6 students coached by Mr. Ferzli (Seba Teacher), a senior girls’ team coached by Katherine Kindrat (Seba Teacher) and a senior boy’s team also coached by Mr. Ferzli.

The season has already started and although the outcomes of the games have not been in the WEST STARS favor so far, we just need a little while to get the team polished up so we can really shine out there! It looks to be a busy season for all those involved. A four-School basket-ball team is another first for Parkland County West End Schools and is another exciting first for the WEST STARS sports team.

The game schedule has been made with games being held on Tuesdays after 4pm start, the tournament dates set with the Memorial Tournament on February 15th and 16th and the Championship Basketball tournament will be held March 5,6,7,8,9 & 11th in Stony Plain or Spruce Grove. The players are excited for this opportunity to come together and shine.


Musicians in the WEST

There are many advantages to living and working in rural Alberta. The small community feel, the atmosphere and the being connected is wonderful. It sometimes reminds me of the atmosphere that was presented in the television series CHEERS, the place where everyone knows your name.

This being said there are some disadvantages to living this peaceful, less hectic, less busy life style. The largest disadvantage is the difficulty in accessing some of the amenities that exist within the urban centers. One of these such elements is the ability to access and participate in cultural/musical events that for the most part do not play in towns or villages where the population is less that 1000.

To help facilitate this, the Resiliency Coordinator at our division office worked diligently to create and implement a Music/Artist in house program at Seba Beach, that would benefit not just Seba Beach but also the other three schools in the area, Tomahawk, Entwistle and Wabamun.

The music integration began at Seba Beach on Thursday, October 4th with The arrival and mini-concert put on by The J.D. Edwards Band. This event was sponsored by The Stony Plain Reporter and made available with a lot of work by Parkland School Divisions Resiliency Coordinator.

The JD Edwards Band is a 6 piece Winnipeg based group with a fascinating history and a brand
new story to tell. Together since 2006, this ever evolving group is driven by the uniquely infectious,
engaging and heartfelt songwriting of band leader JD Edwards. With a truly original voice and a
knack for crafting amazing songs, JD is able to capture every listener with an honest and uniquely
personal touch. From gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful JD’s voice has a sound that
embraces diversity as a strength. JD’s eclectic songwriting style draws from a wide variety of
musical experiences, honing a loud and gritty repertoire heavily influenced by Country, Blues,
R & B, and Soul. Delivered with a contagious optimism and energy, each performance JD is able
to draw in audiences with a real sense of musical purity. Offering a full pallet of textures and
sounds the JD Edwards Band always manages to musically acknowledge their influences without
compromising their ingenuity or principle. As a full group the band delivers time and time again
with the subtlety and power required to capture their original and highly appealing signature
sound. Now with a self titled first release, a live acoustic record and the proud release of their third
disc (Roads & Roads 2011) the JD Edwards Band is geared to hit the road and deliver its own brand
of infectious Canadian music tailored to appeal to all.

Here is a little Video that was created to capture the event – Enjoy

Lee from the Stony Plain reporter also came out to join us on this exciting day, and we appreciated him coming out and more importantly for The Stony Plain Reporter for sponsoring the event. It gave the students of the three schools some insight to choosing music as a methods of expression and provided the students with an experience that many of them may not have had.


A Communities Perspective.

Recently I had completed a post that shed light on one of the reasons why Seba Beach made some changes to our options program as well provided some insight into how the schools in the western end of Parkland School Division were working together to provide more opportunities for our students.

On October the 4th, The Stony Plain Report/ Enquirer made a visit to Seba Beach when all of the schools were present for the WEST options. Here is what was published:

W.E.S.T. Option benefits multiple schools

By Lee Butler

Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:39:40 MDT AM

Entwistle School Principal Les Worthington and Seba Beach School Principal Shawn Ram stand proudly in the Seba Beach shop class. Seba Beach is home to the W.E.S.T. Option program which also includes Wabamun School and Tomahawk School.

ChangePARKLAND PARKLAND COUNTY – The Wabamun, Entwistle, Seba Beach and Tomahawk schools have continued their W.E.S.T. Option program into the 2012-2013 school year.


The initiative gives students in each of the schools a diverse variety of education and helps form a sense of community within the Parkland County School Division.

Seba Beach School serves as the main hub of the project, due to its bigger size and array of academic amenities.

Seba Beach Principal Shawn Ram explained how the W.E.S.T. Option is increasing learning opportunities for all of the schools involved.

“It provides more opportunities for the students of each school. Seba Beach used to be a full high school so we were fitted with a full shop, kitchen and home economics lab. This allows for the other three schools to come in and have some of those options that they’re going to see when they get to Memorial Composite in Stony Plain,” said Ram.

The program has been running for half a decade, with the Tomahawk School re-joining the fold last year.

It opens the doors to rural students who are picking up real-world skills from farms and acreages. W.E.S.T. Option gives them a format to apply these skills so they are properly trained and also prepared for higher levels through high school.

“It gives them an insight when it comes to career choices, especially the junior highs. They’ll be looking at things like woods, cooking, outdoor sports, first-nations, music and robotics. So the gambit is there for what can be taught,” Ram explained.

Entwistle Principal Les Worthington has seen first-hand enthusiasm from his own students about the W.E.S.T. Option initiative.

“For our kids it’s super unique and for our kids the buy-in is huge. They know it’s a unique opportunity that a lot of kids won’t get,” said Worthington.

W.E.S.T. Option allows for instructors to collaborate together. They share ideas and strategies during their time together and build lasting relationships within the school division.

Students are able to build a sense of community between the four schools that will last far into their high school years.

“It is unique for schools to come together to do a set of options. This also allows for familiarity between students and the different administrations. They know we’re administrators, and they’re comfortable talking to any of us throughout the year. If we see them in town or at sports games, we’re not unfamiliar. It brings a sense of community for the kids by coming together it shows them they’re still the W.E.S.T.,” said Ram.

Worthington is excited to give his students an opportunity they wouldn’t receive without the combined efforts of each school.

His students have been optimistic and positive about their new opportunities, even though the commute can take a fair amount of time.

“They see the bigger picture that they’re part of Parkland School Division and not just part of one small rural school. They’re part of the bigger vision and this gives them the opportunity to see that. The school division wants to provide them with as many opportunities as they can. Although the bus ride may be a little bit lengthy, it’s worth it for the opportunities that they have,” said Worthington.

Twitter: @Lee_RepEx1

Changes to improve student engagement.

Many junior high schools in rural areas are limited by factors such as staff, resources, space, time, money and experience when it comes to providing optional classes to students. Seba Beach is also in this predicament, being a school of less than 150 students ECS through grade 12. To increase the opportunities for the students for students at Seba as well as the three schools (Tomahawk, Wabamun, Entwistle) which are all thirteen minutes away. The schools in the far western portion of Parkland School Division run collaborative WEST end options. Ironically WEST stands for the four schools that are involved:

Wabamun  – W

Entwistle    – E

Seba Beach – S

Tomahawk – T

By joining the schools for options we almost double the number of optional classes that the students can choose from, which is amazing for the students.

However, at the end of the last school year, while planning for the next school years scheduling. I noticed that there is a sufficient amount of time during the week that Seba Beach could run some of these same options as in-house options. Now, I know that some teachers and administrators out there are thinking two things :

This is going to be more work for the teachers?

Are teachers going to be taking away time from the core subjects to allocate for this additional option time?

The truth of it, is the answers for the questions are yes and no, respectively. Yeah there many be some more time that the teachers have to plan for and some more work in relation to keeping students motivated, but what it the outcome.

Students that are participating and enjoying their learning experience

That is a more than acceptable trade off. Remember it is all about the kids. Aside from this there is another benefit and it is not solely to that of my students. With the students in my school having the other options earlier in the week. It leaves additional spaces for the other schools students to participate in those options instead of competing for spots. I will be honest, it does mean that my students do get two options per term instead of one., but that only means that they have a better rounded year. I am looking forward to the start up and running of our new in-house options program.

I do however have one request, if you have an idea for an option that you believe would be feasible in a small rural school please share. It will be greatly appreciated.

What to expect this year at Seba

Sunrise 3
Parkland School Division has made some great, innovative and inspiring changes over the course of last year and many will come into effect this year at Seba.

With a New Vision : Parkland School Division is a place where exploration, creativity, and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams.

And a New MissionOur purpose is to prepare, engage and inspire our students to be their best in a quickly changing global community.

To ensure that we are meeting our division Vision and Mission the educational team at Seba Beach will be trying a great number of things, the new division report card and digital portfolio’s to name two. In addition the team at Seba hope to increase clarity, to increase the sharing of information and practices as well as engage parents and community by allowing them a direct line and view of the learning that is going on in each classroom.

We will strive to achieve this by are being inviting parents, community members, other division staff and other educational stakeholders to access our classroom blogs which are listed below as well as our school Facebook pages.

We hope that by collaborating within our division, outside our division, by highlighting our diversity and expressing our success while sharing our learning that we can ensure that at Seba Beach we are doing our best to meet the priorities we have in Parkland School Division.

Please come and join us, and share your ideas and experiences.