The recent visit from the Believe Initiative
organization at P.L. Robertson Public School has already left a lasting impression on Grade 8 student Samuel.
Founded by Canadian Olympian hurdler Sarah Wells, the Believe Initiative visited the Milton school on Jan. 15 to engage 200 Grade 7 and 8 students through a number of activities and workshops to help them better understand their potential as successful students and leaders.
“This summit taught me about the notion of fear and how to deal with it,” says Samuel. “In one game, I learned the importance of communication as a leader. I thought the Believe Initiative was a fun and interactive way to motivate students to work toward their goals.”
“Inviting the Believe Initiative to the school was a great opportunity to help students learn about the benefits of resilience and always working hard,” says Renesha Spartalis, teacher at P.L. Robertson PS and one of the summit’s co-organizers. "As we guide our Grade 7 and 8 students along their pathway to success, we want to ensure that we are meeting their learning needs while also tapping into their personal passions.”
A key part of the Believe Initiative involves students creating a passion project as a way to connect this experience to the curriculum. The goal is for students to develop a plan over the course of 10 weeks to tackle an issue of their choosing that they want to solve.
The objective is for students to share their passion projects at the school’s Inspiration Fair on April 16.
“We want students to understand resilience and the power of believing in themselves,” Wells says, adding that part of the Believe Initiative experience includes sharing her obstacles in becoming an Olympian. “Hard work doesn't always lead to success but being resilient and believing in yourself will always lead to another opportunity to try to achieve success.”
The Believe Initiative is one of 33 Experiential Learning Projects the Halton District School Board has engaged in this current school year, says Lisa Galay, the Board’s Leader of Experiential Learning, Grades 7-12.
“Experiential Learning Projects are initiatives led by Grade 7-12 teachers who want to implement an innovative teaching and learning approach with their students to reinforce curriculum concepts, career and life-planning activities or learning beyond the curriculum,” she says.
Overall, Spartalis says P.L. Robertson students have responded positively to the Believe Initiative experience and is looking forward to seeing the passion projects develop over the next several weeks.
“Students and staff alike could sense the positive energy throughout the day. Our students were actively engaged in self-reflection, resilience and community building activities, and left the ‘Believe Initiative Summit Day’ feeling energized and motivated to plan out and put their passion projects into action.”