Clayton Park Junior High

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					<Title> Clay ton Park Ju nior Hig h A Scho ol for Diverse Learners </Title>
<META name="description" conten t=" Your Chance to As k, Denied A Fu ture ">
<META name="key words" content="Immigration Bac kgroun d of Nova Sco tia Staff Development practice, OTH, ENL, T02">

                                                                                                                            Clayton Park Junior High
                                                                                                                          A School for Diverse Learners

                                                                                                                       A Paper for the ‘Your Chance to Ask’ session
                                                                                                                             ‘Denied A Future’ Conference
                                                                                                                            Budapest, November 28-30, 2001

                                                                                                                                        Max Moulton
                                                                                                                                 Clayton Park Junior High
                                                                                                                                Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Immigration Background of Nova Scotia:

17th century        The first European settlement was founded at Port Royal in
Acadia in 1604. Throughout the century, French settlers established homes in
Nova Scotia.
18th century
Growing numbers of immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland settled here
seeking a better life. After the American Revolution in 1776, United Empire
Loyalists fled to Canada to maintain their loyalty to Britain. These were our first
refugees. Our first ‘free’ Black refugees came to Nova Scotia during this period
as well.

19th century
British immigration continued. Later in the century Nova Scotia welcomed
immigrants from central and Eastern Europe to develop the land.
During the war of 1812 another immigration of Black settlers took place.

20th century
Immigration boomed during the period leading up to World War, reaching a peak
in 1913. Immigration has fluctuated over the years, depending on pressures
abroad and Canada's needs. After a lull during the Depression and Second
World War, many Europeans displaced by war and persecution settled in

1950’s and 60’s
A number of Greek and Italian immigrants settled in Halifax.
Canada began resettling thousands of Vietnamese boat people.

Canada accepted growing numbers of people fleeing oppression and civil war in
countries such as El Salvador and Chile.

 Immigration from Asia has increased in recent years.

In the spring of 1999, Canadians welcomed more than 5000 refugees from
Kosovo, under an emergency evacuation program. Many of these settled in

Halifax until the1990’s was a city of European background with the second
largest Black population in Canada. The relationship between these two cultures
has been at times rocky.

Our School:

       Clayton Park Junior High is located in the northwestern section of Halifax,
Nova Scotia, Canada. The school draws mainly from the communities of
Rockingham and Clayton Park. The school has grades 7-9, with students whose
age’s range from 11- 15 years. Our present school population is 350.

       Over the last four to five years our area has experienced the largest
growth in our Metropolitan area. This growth has brought with it a dramatic
change in the demographics of the area. The area has become very culturally
and socially/economically diverse.
• This area is one of the few areas near the Halifax peninsula that has land for
   new growth. Many new homes and apartments have ‘sprung’ up. This has
   provided opportunities for people from around the world to move into Halifax.
   Many New Canadian immigrant entrepreneurs have moved here with their
   wealth and talents.
• There are also many apartment buildings that are used by the government to
   provide needed accommodations for refugees who have come to this country
   to seek a new beginning.

      Clayton Park Junior High reflects these demographic changes that have
   taken place. Over the last six years, our school culture has become a very
   multicultural one.
•   The second largest language group in the school is Arabic. We teach
    students from all the major Arabic countries in the Middle East; Bahrain, Iran,
    Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, United Arab
    Emirates, and Yemen.
•   We also have students from most of the ‘troubled’ spots of the world; Iraq and
    Kuwait; Israel and Palestine, Syria and Egypt. The school also teaches
    students from both sides of the Bosnian Crises – Serbs and Albanians.
•   Students from Africa are also represented: Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt,
    South Africa Zimbabwe, Somalia, Uganda, Eritrea and Kenya.
•   Eastern and Western Europe is also well represented: France, Germany,
    Italy, Spain, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Russia, Poland,
    Czechoslovakia, Greece, Malta, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Romania and
•   The East is also represented by India, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan, India, Sri
    Lanka, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Australia
•   From The Southern Hemisphere, we have students from Brazil, Venezuela,
    Cuba, Argentina, Costa Rica, Barbados, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, and
•   And of course The United States and Mexico.
•   We have the four major religions of the world represented.
•   We have over 30 languages spoken in the school.

        As you can see from the statistical analysis of the school’s diverse
    population, Clayton Park Junior High plays a unique role in the educational
    role of the Halifax Regional School Board. The ‘norm’ at Clayton Park is
    ‘diversity’. The staff and school community have become the cultural center
    for the neighborhood. We try to help both students and parents in their difficult
    adjustments to a new country and a new culture. This has been new to
    Halifax and we are learning as we go. “Diversity enriches the life of the
    school but it also tests the imagination and will of education systems to
    respond to the expressed needs of different language, ethic and religious
    groups, men and women, affluent and poor. We must assure the equity for all
    students. We must present a vision of a community in which everyone is
    included and respected.” (Secondary Schools in Canada: The national Report
    of the Exemplary Schools Project, Canadian Education Association, 1995)

        In doing so, it has been imperative that Clayton Park Junior High develop
    a concept of a ‘community school’ unique to our demographic area. Caring
    about the progress of students means understanding the problems they are
    trying to overcome outside as well as inside the classroom. It requires the
    school to become a vital support for all the members in the school ‘family’. We
    are not only taking care of our students; we are supporting the entire family
    unit in whatever ways we can – legal help, medical help, employment help. By
    helping the entire family to best utilize the services available in our broader
    community, we are creating a framework for learning. Through student
    awareness of their role in the broader community, we are facilitating the
   growth of responsible citizenship, positive personal development, and
   communication skills.

       All of this has required a variety of programs that respond to the
   challenge. We need to redefine our concept of ‘schooling’. However, creating
   a respectful climate that adapts, in various ways, to the increasing diversity of
   student needs, takes sustained energy, clear direction, and innovative special
   programs. It requires change on the part of all aspects of the school
   community, as well as, support from the various levels of administrative

        “The educational landscape is littered with the remains of failed school
   reforms, many of which failed because of the social conditions surrounding
   the schools. Only those reforms that recognize these conditions and actively
   engage them are likely to make a lasting difference in the lives of the children,
   educators, and the community served by the school.” (The New Meaning of
   Educational Change, 2nd ed, Michael Fullan, OISE Press, 1991.) The task of
   recognizing and engaging the cultural conditions of our school community can
   only be done by working with the members of that community. The school
   must become a warm, friendly, welcoming educational center for all members
   of its family. This partnering has required staff, time, and resources. At the
   school level, we needed to make parental involvement a fundamental part of
   the definition and mission of an effective school.


       Over the last few years, the school has strived to involve parents more in
the school:
          • Appropriate cultural support groups have been set up to a) help
              translate school information into the various languages, b) provide
              a means of communication for parental visits to the school, c) help
              establish a positive sense of ‘community’ within the school climate
          • Staff and the YMCA School Support Worker* have meet with many
              of the new families to a) help explain the cultural differences they
              may experience, b) set up professional services (doctor,lawyer) and
              other essential services that the family may need, c) where possible
              helping to arrange for someone to aid in communications in other
              than school matters.
          • Set up ‘host’ families. Each new family is connected with an
              established family in order to provide help in the new environment.
              This involves planning weekend, evening and summer projects
              involving both families.

          (*YMCA School Support Worker – this is a federally funded program
          for our community. Several schools are provided with an individual who
          is a support person to the new families. The support workers do not
          follow the usual pattern of school life. Their hours are flexible and they
          are free to visit homes when necessary. They are usually people who
          have been recent immigrants and thus can appreciate the needs of the
          families they support)

The school has also taken a pro-active stance with respect to racial problems.
Supported by the Halifax Regional School Board’s Racial, Cross-Cultural and
Harassment Policy, the school has accepted the responsibility to create a ‘caring
community’ in which students are provided the opportunity not only to work and
learn but also to fell accepted, respected and safe. If this is not done, students
who face racial slurs and verbal and physical harassment, they will form social
groups for comfort and protection. In some cases, these groups move from
reactive to pro-active solutions. When students care about one another, they are
more apt to care about their learning. Clayton Park has:

      1. Provided opportunities for the sharing of knowledge of the various
         cultural groups found in the school
             • Cultural fairs
             • Classroom discussions (respectful dialogue)
             • Special recognition during holiday and religious events
             • Celebrate the differences

      2. When disagreements do occur, have the ‘offender’ meet with those
         they have harmed or hurt. We have found this method to be very
         successful in the cases of ‘name calling’ and ‘racial slurs’. This can
         change conflict into creative and constructive learning.

      3. Have meetings with the family of the ‘offender’ to provide
         understanding of the rules and regulations of the school.

      4. In extreme cases, remove the ‘offender’ from the school.

      Our curriculum philosophy is based on the concept of ‘multiple
      intelligences’ of Dr. Howard Gardner. Each student must be given the
      opportunity to lean and express themselves in a variety of ways. Therefore
      art, physical education, family studies, technological education are taken
      by all students, as well as the usual core subjects. Music is taken by over
      100 of our students.

      In all courses:
                 • the cultural diversity is recognized and celebrated.
                 • The students learn to analyze and critique ideas from
                    multiple perspectives.
                 • The teacher must create an environment where students feel
                    safe to take risks.
                 • Provide opportunities for students to learn about each other.
                                Images (pictures, paintings) of the various cultures are found through out
                                the school. All students must ‘see’ themselves if they are to feel at home.
                                We must foster the self-esteem of all our students.

                                We have a full time English as a Second language (ESL) teacher who
                                helps with the students who cannot speak any English.

                                Our Library has tried to have a collection of materials that reflect the
                                diverse population of the school.

Staff Development:
       Over the last six years, cultural sensitivity as been a priority in our
professional development plan. We have used school board as well as outside
agencies in this respect.
       When possible, staff has been chosen on the basis of their comfort with
and knowledge of the various cultures. I have two Greek teachers and one
Arabic speaking teacher on staff. My YMCA School Support Worker is Spanish

In conclusion, the school has developed and continues to develop a welcoming
educational center for all the students and their families.