District Highlights

High hopes for students at Highland Park elementary

Pictured above (left to right): student Colby Cutler, his mom Jennifer Cutler and principal Nicole Neggers. 


“I hope kids believe in themselves! I hope all my students feel safe and valued! They learn to contribute to our world by following their passion.”

These are just a few of the inspiring answers from Highland Park elementary staff who were asked this question: What are your hopes for our students?

When new principal Nicole Neggers started at the school in September she wanted to get a sense of what was important to teachers and staff, so she organized a visioning session in a staff meeting where she asked staff to write down their hopes for students on a brightly coloured piece of paper.

“It told me a lot about what their values were for our students and our school.”

It turns out that the school’s staff share many values. They didn’t write down hopes for better math or spelling scores; nearly all their hopes focused on social emotional learning.

“They were really all about the children being happy and safe and secure at school and curious and excited about learning,” she said.

“They wanted kids to feel important and feel confident. If you have the foundation of social emotional learning then the academics will come.”

After hearing from school staff Neggers wanted to engage with parents.  Hopes Board2

During an open house at the start of the year, she put the staff hopes on a board to display for parents and then set up another board in the entranceway and invited parents to write down their hopes for their children. 

“I was pleasantly surprised – the majority of the parents felt the social emotional piece was important as well.”

One parent’s comment resonated with Neggers. “To find his brightest smile,” said the note.

Other parent hopes included: “I hope my daughter continues to be confident and kind. To have fun and learn new things. I hope he learns to celebrate his successes. Keeps on learning and smiling.”

“Based on the responses, academics are important, however, the adults would ultimately like students to be kind, friendly, hard working, feel safe at school, make good choices, feel confident, take risks and celebrate successes, for example,” said Neggers.

Students also got a chance to write down their hopes for the school year. Here’s what a few said: “We all get along. Make new friends. I want my ideas to be out there. I’m hopeful for a successful school year.”

Neggers says the board will remain on display at Highland Park for the entire year so the whole school community can be reminded of their hopes for their students.


Our vision
Our vision is for every individual to feel valued and for all learners to reach their potential.
Our mission
Our mission is to support all individuals in their development as successful learners, and as respectful, caring and responsible members of society.