By Cindy Filipenko
Lisa Bartlett is the new vice-principal at Signal Hill Elementary School. With 12 years teaching experience, she has spent the last decade in the Alberta school system. She left a vice-principal position in Canmore, Alberta to take on the job in Pemberton.
Her reasons for relocation were personal — her fiancé lives in Whistler. However, she is clearly excited by the professional opportunities teaching in Pemberton offers.
“I think we have a really good staff and it’s just about getting all the supports in place so we can offer every child as many opportunities as possible.”
Bartlett subscribes to the educational philosophy of developing the whole child. This means that education extends beyond the 3Rs and into emotional, social and physical territory.
Signal Hill has a reputation for providing excellent support programs such as Read Well, a program designed to increase proficiency among new readers, and Making Connections, a program primarily aimed at First Nations students to help them transition into the school and meet the curriculum expectations. Bartlett brings with her a wealth of knowledge from programs that have proven effective in Alberta, as well as a Master’s degree.
“I’ve done Master’s course work in educational technology, so that’s an area I’m very interested in,” says Bartlett.
A place that seems a natural fit for integrating that knowledge is in Inquiry-based Learning, a teaching method that has proved successful in Alberta.
“Inquiry-based Learning is hands-on and project based. It makes students more independent learners,” said Bartlett.
In that model, a teacher poses a theoretical question and the students look for an answer. For example, in a social studies class, students might be asked, “What would have happened if the French had won the battle on the Plains of Abraham? What would Canada now look like?” This kind of question opens up a variety of opportunities for cross-curriculum learning.
She acknowledges that programs like Inquiry-based Learning take a long time to establish and is not sure what aspects could be applied to the school’s current curriculum. While she ponders those types of questions, she sounds committed to enjoying her new community.
“I’m going to be here for a long time. I like the way people work together in this community. I like that we have kids from the reserve coming here. I love how they interact and get involved. It’s revitalizing,” said Bartlett.
Former vice-principal Kathryn Strilchuk has moved into the vice-principal position at Pemberton Senior Secondary.