The Urban Academy Times
Inspire   Empower   Demonstrate   Lead
In This Issue
The UA Houses Have Arrived
Buddy Time
Inside the Classroom: Up Close with a UA Student

Social Media Social

2016/20 17 Issue: 2
December Issue

As the 2016/2017 year progresses at great pace, the winter break is a time to reflect on all that we have achieved in 2016.  Our sports teams are up and running, with students competing in soccer, volleyball, basketball and track and field against other Greater Vancouver Independent Schools Athletic Association schools.  The introduction of the houses at Uptown has allowed students to develop their skills in leadership and collaboration, while instituting intramurals at lunch time encourages participation by all and fun.  Each house receives points for students taking part in the games, with extra points awarded to the prevailing team.
As we move ever closer to the reality of our new school facility, it is encouraging to see the continued support and commitment of our families towards this initiative.  As each day passes we get ever closer to the day that building begins, ensuring that we keep to our timeline to open the new facility in the fall of 2018.  Annual Appeal packages went home to every family in November.  Please respond with your support.  We need all of our families working together to ensure our students have the outstanding learning opportunities that we know we can provide.  Your generosity allows us to expand our technology, fine arts and physical education offerings for all students.
We had an exciting end to the term when all of our students, from JK-Gr. 12, took part in Urban Academy's very first pep rally for the unveiling of their new school mascot - the UA Lions; Guardian of the Fraser!  Students gathered together for a special assembly at Queens Ave Church to celebrate our school teams and share aspects of the mascot that they helped shape with the School Wide Write last June.  At the end of the day every student was sent home with a keepsake celebrating their new identity as UA Lions.
The Urban Academy House System for Grade 4-12 students has been a wonderful addition this year. Each student was assigned to a house at the beginning of the year, and they stay in that house for the duration of their time at Urban Academy. Siblings are also assigned to the same house. All New West names, the houses represent different elements of our students: Anvils, who inspire creativity; Hyacks, who empower stealth; Sappers, who demonstrate ability; and the Royals, who lead with authority.
In early December our students performed their Winter Concert at the Anvil Centre.  Despite the unexpected snowfall it was wonderful to see a full house.  Under the guidance of Mrs. Brooke, Ms. Petrovska and Ms. Macdonald, with the support of the entire staff, the students worked long and hard for this spectacular performance.
Looking forward to 2017 there is a lot to be excited about.  As our school continues to develop and grow our programs including music, drama, French, OOSC and clubs will expand to meet the interests of students, as well as offering the opportunity to discover new interests.  We have another wonderful Gala coming up in March.  Planning and preparation is continually working in the background to make the Mardi Gras themed Groundbreaker Gala our best one yet.
Thank you for your commitment to Urban Academy.  I very much look forward to a bright and exciting 2017, and all that it has to bring.
Mrs. Cheryle Beaumont
Head of School
The UA Houses Have Arrived
Walking through the halls of Uptown at lunch time on Wednesday you might think you've landed on the set of The Amazing Race Canada. Students are huddled together in groups, dashing from classroom to corridor, working together to solve cryptic clues and crack open a safe box that rests under the watchful eye of Ms. MacLeod. This isn't The Amazing Race though, it's a UA House Challenge.
The Urban Academy house system launched to much excitement earlier this year. Representing aspects of New Westminster's history, students from Grades 4-12 were divided into four houses - the Anvils, the Sappers, the Hyacks and the Royals (no sorting hat necessary!).  Over time, all UA students will join a house, and stay in that house for the duration of their time at Urban Academy.
The houses will promote cross grade learning experiences for all students at UA by encouraging leadership skills, developing team spirit and teaching loyalty. Our Grades 9-12 students have taken on leadership roles by acting as House Captains and guiding their younger schoolmates through house activities and challenges. Points are earned by all students taking part in activities such as completing two 5km laps of Queens Park trail during the Terry Fox run within a limited time, or adhering to the school uniform policy.
Each house utilised their creative talents to compose a house motto and design a house banner. Teacher mentors have been assigned to each house to guide and encourage students in the growth of their houses, and completing challenges each week.  Keep an eye on future news to see how the houses are growing and creating a new tradition at Urban Academy.

Buddy Time
The buddy program is in full swing at Robson Manor.  Buddy Time is a time for students in every class from JK to Grade 3 to work with another class from a different grade level.  Once a week students get together with their buddies to read books, share in learning activities, and sometimes go on walks or field trips together.
Buddy Time is enormously beneficial to all of the students involved.  The older students develop strong leadership skills and gain greater self-confidence, the younger students improve their social skills and enjoy sharing and learning from their big buddies.
From creating spooky Halloween scenes using watercolour paints to solving Sudoku puzzles together, reading stories and helping younger students learn to count all of our Robson students are engaging with each other and their surroundings to help each other learn and grow.
These young minds truly are inspiring learners and it is exciting to know that a day when this opportunity is available to all UA students is just over the horizon!

In the Classroom: Up Close with a UA Student
Sitting before me, Tanish Shah was proud to be on the other side of the interviewer/interviewee relationship. Having interviewed people before for various UA inquiries, this Grade 3 student (and his parents) kindly agreed to allow us into the complex, optimistic, world-is-my-oyster mind of this nearly 8 year old.

We'll save you the details about what he's great at: Music (specifically piano and ukulele) and math. As well as what he would like to work more on: Science because it's interesting and he likes chemicals and got into some really insightful thoughts. So enjoy this Q&A session with a three year veteran of Urban Academy.

UA. What is something that is challenging you this year?
TS. I'm working on a changemaker project for April 1st and I need helpers. I'm organizing a park clean up to keep nature clean and I picked April because it's warm. I like warm weather. I need 25-75 people for the project.

UA. Why is it important to be a changemaker?
TS. I'm doing it because it's important to make a positive change in the world. Even kids can do small things. You can hold a door and help one person, or do something that helps even more than one person.

Editors note: Perhaps there may be someone free on April 1st to help Tanish be a changemaker? We have it on good authority that it will be warm. :-)

UA. What about technology - what have you learned much about it over the last few years?
TS. I do my final copy of projects in word. We also have tech time with Mrs. Cochrane. We're using Digital Compass where there are different characters in a scene and they give you two choices in a situation. Sometimes it's easy an sometimes it's hard.

UA. So is it like 'should I have a sandwich or pizza for lunch'?
TS. ( Giggling at the clearly unaware adult) No! It's like if I'm doing research, should I look up the information on Wikipedia or in a book? I need to make the best choice for my situation.

UA. We talk about mindfulness a lot at school. What is that?
TS. To be aware of your surroundings. I see kids being mindful, and it's all thanks to Mr. McDiarmid. He taught us Tai Chi once in Opening Circle. Kids are friendly here too, and that's important.

UA: What sort of things have you been involved in at Urban Academy?
TS. I'm in Chess Club and Choir. Last year I played the Ukulele when the Kindergarteners played at Mothers Day. I like music and being on stage at the performances.

UA. What project have you done in the last few years that you're really proud of and remember well?
TS. in Grade 2 we did maps of BC. We labeled the cities and mountain ranges in different colours and made it in 3D. It took a long time, about a month. I did a legend too and labeled where animals lived. I didn't know that ostriches and emus lived in BC, did you? They are at the bottom right corner!

UA. So what do you want to be when you grow up?
TS. A musician, a teacher for grades 2-5 and a mathematician.

UA. Wow, that sounds like you want to be a lot of things. Is this all at the same time?
TS. In the week I'll be a teacher, on Saturday I will be a mathematician and on Sunday I'll do music.

UA. What about when you're older and may have a family, are you going to have time for it all?
TS. Yes, I'll have some spare time in the evening for the family.

Oh to be young again and have the world sprawling out before you! Thank you to Tanish for reminding us that all things are possible and for giving us some insight into the life of an Urban Academy student!
In our classrooms the students in JK-3 have been learning about "mindfulness" and what it means to be aware of how their brain works in any present moment.  During Opening Circle and classroom based workshops the students focused on learning about the parts of their brain and how each part plays an important role.  The students learned that when our brains are stressed it can affect the way we learn and deal with certain situations.  When our brains are calm we are more easily able to deal with stress in a more positive way.

Students were shown ways to help their brains deal with situations of stress in a variety of ways.  In our classrooms, we have been practicing breathing techniques and experimenting with moments of silence to help us calm our brains down.
Teachers have been incorporating "mindfulness" activities such as yoga, tai chi, listening to calming music and sharing feelings into classroom time and Opening Circle on a regular basis.  Roleplaying has also been an integral piece in learning how to approach certain situations and dealing with real problems that students might be facing.
These techniques have really helped students to focus their attention, self-regulate, monitor their own stress and be aware of their own thinking.  These are just some of the many ways we are "inspiring the mindful learner" in our everyday classrooms.

Have you seen the Mindfulness Wall on the board outside Ms. McNamara's office.  If your child has been inspired by something they learned at school and they take initiative to do something with that at home we would love for you to write a short paragraph or story about what it is that your child is inspired by.  As our developmental focus is "inspiring the mindful learner", teachers in grades JK-Grade 3 would like to fill this wall with stories of our students being inspired to learn, and what they are doing at home to translate the knowledge between school and home. If you have any questions about this please email email your classroom teacher!
Event Update
The year is steamrolling ahead and we've already done so much, but there is still so much left to do.  Take a look at your school calendar and start signing up for parent volunteer hours.  And take some time to mark these dates in your family planner:

January 2017
January 3: School resumes
January 6-20: PAX fundraiser
January 11: Sexual health education - parent night
January 18 & 19: Sexual health education - Robson & Uptown
January 26: Open house - Uptown
January 28: Open house - Robson
January 9-February 17: FSA for Grades 4 and 7 ( Grades 4 & 7 please avoid vacation plans during this time)