Part 1: Analysis of Context

1. What do we know about our learners?

Don Christian Elementary is located in the Cloverdale area of Surrey.  Don Christian Elementary opened in 1983. We currently enroll approximately 380 students from Kindergarten to Grade 7. A Social Development Program is integrated within the school, to help meet the learning needs of all students. This is Don Christian’s ninth year as a district designated Community School. There is strong staff and community support of student achievement, with an emphasis on academics, athletics, fine arts and  social emotional learning and social responsibility. 

Parents at Don Christian strongly support their children’s academic, social, physical and artistic development. They help set direction and provide generous financial resources to meet collaborative objectives for student success.  Ongoing financial support from PAC provides all students with equal access to extra curricular activities. Numerous fundraisers and family events help provide social cohesion for all. 

The 2018-19 school plan at Don Christian focuses on increasing student achievement in the area of Social Emotional Learning (SEL).  This is our seventh year with Social Responsibility and SEL as our goal area.  We have made many positive strides and we feel there is great benefit in continuing in this direction.  

Some things that we know about our learners:


  • students enjoy literacy,
  • most students are eager to learn,
  • many students are pleasant, kind, empathetic, well mannered, and have good school readiness,
  • many students are technology savvy
  • students have varied life experiences and background knowledge,
  • students are hands on learners,
  •  most students are curious and inquisitive, creative, social and believe in building community.

Areas for Learning:

  • managing emotions, stress, and anxiety,
  •  taking responsibility for actions,
  •  self-regulation skills,
  •  social skills and empathy,
  • problem solving skills.

Our mission is to … provide a positive learning environment that will enable each individual student to reach his/her individual potential, experience success, and strive for excellence.

In order to do so, we feel that continued focus on Social and Emotional Learning will enable our school to provide such a positive learning environment.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which young people acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions; set and achieve goals; demonstrate empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; and, make effective decisions. It includes a number of competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

‘At Don Christian Elementary we work together to create a Caring, Accountable, Trustworthy and Safe learning environment.’

2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?

Why SEL (Social and Emotional Learning)?

Social and Emotional Learning is one of the Surrey School District’s Learning by Design Priority Practices.

Students supported by intentional social and emotional learning instruction:

  • develop increased capacity for school engagement, learning opportunities, and academic achievement;
  • develop self-awareness skills to monitor emotions with greater understanding of the impact on well-being;
  • recognize and respect the perspectives of others, and have greater appreciate for diversity in groups and   communities;
  • conceptualize and espouse increased compassion and empathy for others, forming foundations for social awareness;
  • understand and take responsibility for their actions, and make constructive and ethical decisions with regards to personal and social behaviour;
  • recognize the importance of social awareness in the development of self-concept and personal identity;
  • develop and maintain healthy relationships; and,
  • value and bridge the links between school and home, creating connections for learning. 

Teachers create and facilitate increased capacity for positive student development when they focus on social and emotional learning by:

  •  fostering a classroom climate that increases student personal, positive perception of well-being and belonging;
  • appreciating the dynamic and vital nature of high-quality student-teacher relationships that will positively impact school engagement and student success;
  • implementing evidence-based curriculum and programs that incorporate explicit, sequenced, and active forms of skill development;
  • adopting specific instructional components that foster caring, engaging, and participatory learning that shapes school attachment, motivation to learn, and increased academic achievement; and,
  • aligning classroom instruction in social and emotional development with school, family, and community values.

In the Winter of 2016, all of our enrolling teachers completed surveys for each student in their class based on the BC Performance Standards for Social Responsibility .

Here is a link to the BC Performance Standards for Social Responsibility.

Here are our: Social Responsibility Survey Teacher Questions

These are results of our Winter 2016 surveys as an example of both the survey and results: Winter 2016 Teacher Social Responsibility Survey Results

Following specific intentional interventions, we would like to see more students in the ‘Most of the Time’ category and fewer students in the ‘Some of the Time’ and ‘Rarely’ categories on the teacher surveys.

We plan continued teacher assessments and student self-assessments in the Core Competencies of Personal and Social abilities. These set of abilities relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society. Personal and social competency encompasses the abilities students need to thrive as individuals, to understand and care about themselves and others, and to find and achieve their purposes in the world.

Part 2: Focus and Planning

3. What focus emerges as a question to pursue?

We have identified three questions we wish to focus on:

  1. Can a school-wide K-7 program using common approaches with language and strategies help students take ownership of their social-emotional needs?
  2. How can we improve the social-emotional learning competencies of our learners?
  3. How can we improve our SEL teaching practices to build more personal and social  responsibility among students?


4. What professional learning do we need?

The staff believes that presenting consistent resources and strategies that spiral through  the grades would assist in providing students with tools they need to recognize and engage in better self-regulation and socially acceptable behaviour. This would, in turn, result in a a renewed focus on academic success. We believe this benefits all students. 

The staff has spent significant time investigating and working with a rich range of resources.  These include Second Step, Zones of Regulation, Mind Up.  We explore WITS and various teacher developed strategies and resources.  

Staff recently attended a district Summer Institute pro-d opportunity on SEL strategies – Cultivating foundational blocks to SEL; a September school pro-d focussed on Building Common SEL strategies in our School. 

Our monthly staff meetings will usually include a review of the School Plan for any additions or omissions. 



5. What is our plan?

Our plan will allow us to identify and build specific intentional strategies to help SEL with each  student as needed. 

  1. To establish baseline SEL data and subsequent methods to measure success using a Fall and Late Spring “Monkey Survey” teacher questionnaire with similar but grade-appropriate questions for primary and intermediate students 
  2. To develop common language between home and school to enhance school-home communication; emphasis on SEL competencies –> relationship skills
  3. To collaborate to identify classroom SEL activities and resources including: Second Step; Mind-up; Daily 5 routines; Morning Meetings ->SEL student check-ins; – emphasis on SEL competencies –> all five SEL competencies 
  4. To plan and deliver bi-monthly school-wide events that focus on SEL i.e.) 8 CATS Awards ceremonies per  year – emphasis on SEL competencies –> self-awareness, social awareness
  5. Primary teachers, LST form a growth Mindset book club to explore current pedagogical theories, discuss relevance within community, and adapt to community needs
  6. Staff are encouraged to develop a “foster” relationship with one student at risk (a student  not in own classroom) – emphasis on SEL competencies –> responsible decision-making
  7. Intermediate staff platoon teach various subjects i.e. Socials, Science, PE classes so all students interact with each other and so that common SEL strategies are in place – emphasis on SEL competencies –> relationship skills, self-management
  8. Intermediate staff coordinate homework expectations and offer a parent-optional after-school homework club – – emphasis on SEL competencies –> self-management
  9. All staff follow WITS program and initiate school-wide WITS Think Sheet response program
  10. Intermediate staff construct and use common Interim Report progress report emphasizing: positive community contributions; work completion; best efforts; 
  11. Principal, in collaboration with PAC, offer community meetings on Internet Safety; – emphasis on SEL competencies
  12. School liaises wth Safe Schools and RCMP SRO to provide presentations on  SEL, Inclusion, Internet Safety, Bullying (3-roles – bully, victim, stand-by); – emphasis on SEL competencies –> relationship skills, self-management, responsible decision-making


Part 3: Reflect, Adjust, Celebrate

6. How will we know our plan is making a difference? (evidence / success criteria)

  • Results from teacher survey of student SEL in Fall and late Spring
  • Compare evidence from Fall and late Spring Interim Report which includes teacher and student reflections
  • Evidence from WITS Response Sheets 
  • Anecdotal, quantitative  evidence regarding student participation in clubs promoting community service, local, national and global fundraising efforts for those in need

7. Based on the evidence, does our inquiry require adjustment?