Outdoor Learning Space to be Built on the Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School Site
As a result of broader concerns raised by the community, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) launched the Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel in 2019 and the Safe Schools Action Plan in 2021.
The Safe Schools Review Panel Final Report emphasized that bullying prevention is best promoted when students are taught personal skills that develop healthy relationships.
Working alongside the Indigenous Education team and the broader Indigenous communities across Hamilton, Mississaugas of the Credit and Six Nations, the intent is to honour the Two Row framework to co-develop an outdoor learning structure that honours local Indigenous approaches to wellness.
In peace, friendship and mutual respect, we will weave Indigenous conceptions of health and wellness with social/emotional development areas. Together, we will provide an incredible opportunity to support safer environments.
As an extension of these teachings, a dedicated outdoor classroom and community space is being planned at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School.
The goal is to use the space to teach students the skills they need to form healthy relationships. The construction of this space is to support the learning around how we create safer, more inclusive learning environments and communities.
The Final Report also highlights the importance of student voice and Indigenous community consultation. It is with this in mind that we are purposeful in centring these voices in the co-construction and collaborative vision of this project.
Outdoor Learning Space
- The dimensions include 12.5 meters from any point to its adjacent side.
- A permanent structure that can include garden beds, natural/sustainable construction.
- A pathway to the sidewalk along Dunsmure Road will provide access to the community.
Safer Schools Teachings and Learnings
- Curriculum will be developed for students to learn the traditional teachings led by the HWDSB Indigenous Education Team, the Indigenous Education Circle, and the local Indigenous community members.
- The Curriculum will be available to all students as it promotes social and emotional development, can be measured through the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI), and links to wellbeing, health, and academic success.
Consultation for the learning space will include students, staff and the Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School community, the Indigenous community, and Hamilton residents. Staff will offer outreach opportunities and individuals can email their submissions. Community consultation processes will begin the week of October 18.
Remembering Devan Selvey
On October 7, 2019, the Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School community, along with the broader Hamilton community, was shaken by the death of a student, Devan Selvey. Since his death, the grounds behind Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School has been a reminder of the tragic incident that took place two years ago.
An Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) tree, which is native to this region, is planted near the future home of the Outdoor Learning Space for the Selvey family. Many will recall that Devan’s favourite colour was purple. The tree blooms vibrant purple flowers and showcases heart-shaped leaves. A 2-metre wide top oak bench with carved words “Compassion, Empathy, Respect” supported by the Selvey family will also be on the site. This plan was developed through collaboration with Devan’s mother, Shari-Ann Selvey, and within HWDSB’s memorialization guidelines, school administration and system staff representing social work, Indigenous education, and safe schools.