Adopt a School – Application Search

Pexsisen Elementary School

Section A: School Information
Full Name of SchoolPexsisen Elementary School
Address3100 Constellation Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia V9B 0V2
School Board or other AffiliationOther / Not Found
Please enter the full name of the School Board or other AffiliationSooke School District 62
Grades served by your School
  • SK
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Number of students at your school in eligible Grade Levels350
Does your school have charitable status?Yes
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation defines a high-needs school as a Canadian publicly funded elementary school that receives at least 80% of its funding from the provincial or federal government. Does this accurately represent your school funding situation?Yes
Principal Information

Principal Information

NameKaren DeCicco
Phone(250) 474-9800
Secondary Contact Information

Secondary Contact Information

TitleTeacher Librarian
NameJulie Spencer
Phone(250) 516-5944
Additional Information
1. Has your school previously participated in the Indigo Adopt A School ProgramNo
2. Has your school been awarded a Literacy Fund grant in the past?No
3. Is your school a French speaking school?No
4. Is your school French Immersion?No
5. Do you have an English-speaking staff member available for correspondence via phone?Yes
6. Is your school a First Nations School?No
7. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation specifically directs resources to communities in need. Which of the following demographic groups does your school community identify as serving?
  • Low socio-economic
  • Indigenous
  • Newcomer
  • Other
Please specify other demographic groups your school community identify as serving.Vulnerable Students, including those with special needs
8. How did you find out about the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation?
  • School Board/Trustee
Section B: Authorized Account RepresentativesThe Foundation now allocates grants through the Adopt A School program in the form of an Indigo Corporate account. Your school is permitted to have up to three (3) authorized account representatives who will have purchasing power on your account. The principal of your school must be one of the designated representatives. In the event that your application is successful, please indicate the other two representatives you would like to have on your account,.we suggest that your Teacher-librarian or library technician are includes as reps.
Contact 1

Contact 1

NameJulie Spencer
TitleTeacher Librarian
Contact 2

Contact 2

NameKaren DeCicco
Section C: Selecting your partner store

In the event that your school is selected as an Adopt A School partner, what store location (eg. Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Indigospirit store) in your community would you like to be partnered with to help fundraise for your school library?

Remote/rural schools: We recognize that some recipient schools will be located at a significant distance from a store. We suggest selecting a store that is closest to you geographically if possible.

Section D: Tell us your storyThis section is your opportunity to provide the Foundation and our Indigo partners with the story of your school, students, and community. We want to learn more about the challenges you face in accessing literacy resources, but also the commitment you’ve demonstrated in the face of these challenges. Please be specific as you discuss your local demographics as well as any special programs and/or government/board designations that may exist in your community.
1. Why have you chosen to apply for the Adopt-A-School Program this year?

The Sooke School District is currently experiencing an unprecedented growth. In 2021/2022, the District anticipated growing by 400-450 students. Instead, 827 students joined - a growth of 6.9%, or the largest growth we’ve experienced in 30 years. Pexsisen (pronounced puck-see-sung) is a new elementary school that will open in the Fall of 2022. The name, meaning “the opening of hands,” was gifted by the Songhees First Nations. It is located in the Westhills Community of Langford, which is part of the Greater Victoria area.

The school’s demographics will vary widely, with students coming from 10 different elementary schools in our District, as well as students who are new to the District or just entering Kindergarten. From the BC Government’s Website on School Success, Sooke District has slightly higher than the provincial average of “Lone Parent Families” (4.5%) and the percentage of adults aged 25-64 that have postsecondary credentials is lower than the provincial average, at 61%.

Of significance is the high cost of living in the Greater Victoria area. Average house prices in Langford are hovering around $1.2 million. Lack of housing is another issue, which has now led to a housing crisis. Families are struggling. It is imperative we support our families through equitable access to library resources, reducing the financial strain that some families may experience. Asking parents to supplement District funding by volunteering time and purchasing books at Book Fairs is not feasible for many families.

The Indigenous population in our District currently makes up 11% of the student population, and our students with special needs represent approximately 14% of the student population. Based on the results of our Foundational Skills Assessment in Grade 4 Literacy, Indigenous students performed in the low average range, suggesting this is an area of potential concern and one that should be taken into consideration when developing school-wide literacy goals.

In addition, we anticipate many English Language Learners and newcomers to our school, including recent Ukrainian refugees. One property within our District, the Ukrainian Safe Haven, expects the arrival of 100+ Ukrainian refugees. We will need literacy resources to support all of these groups.

Sooke District has recently aligned its strategic plan with its vision “where student voice and choice are honoured through engaging, purposeful and experiential learning in a safe and respectful community.” The 2021-2025 Strategic Plan focuses on three goals:

Develop and support adaptable learners who are creative, critical and social thinkers with the capacity to be educated citizens.
Create a culture of belonging.
Pursue organizational excellence to support a vibrant school district.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the forefront of the Strategic Plan in which SD 62 endeavours to support students, staff and families.
While these goals are admirable, they require funding to achieve. As noted below, the dollar amount spent on books per student last year was between $3.00-$4.00 This is simply not enough, which leaves school libraries to turn to Book Fairs and the Parent Advisory Council to fundraise. I also encourage donations and rely on grants to purchase resources for the library and classroom teachers. Most importantly, we want our students at Pexsisen to have an equitable start to the school year; in in which they can get their hands on book and experience the joy that comes from reading.

2. What literacy initiatives already exist at your school?

We are excited to open Pexsisen in the Fall of 2022. As a school team, we are just now connecting online and will certainly begin many collaborations over the next few months. Based on my meetings with the Principal and District TL, the following school-wide programs will be implemented:

Guided and Independent Reading in both Fiction and Non Fiction
Decodable Readers
We will use Adrienne Gear’s anchor books to support her Reading Power and Writing Power programs
Heggerty resources
ELL Resources
Fiction and NonFiction books for Literature Circles/thematic study to offer the appropriate reading level to groups of students
Books that classroom teachers can use for Novel Study or Read Alouds
Books that promote Community: safe, inclusive, diverse, social justice, equity, immigration, refugees, kindness,
SOGI 123 resources
Books to support:
Social Emotional Learning
Digital Literacy
Financial Literacy
Core Competencies
Environmental Literacy
ADST (STEM) Curriculum
Indigenous ways of knowing, including books that support Truth and Reconciliation
Book Award programs: Chocolate Lily, Red Cedar, Newberry

3. How has literacy at your school been impacted by COVID-19 and how would receiving this grant make a difference?

The most recent Vulnerability Indicator in our District suggests about 27% of our student population have been identified as vulnerable in one or more of the following areas: communication skills, language and cognitive development, emotional maturity, social competence and physical health and well-being. This recent data comes from the 2016/2017 school year and 2018/2019 school year. Covid-19 data is yet to be shared, however, it is no surprise that vulnerability has drastically increased since the pandemic. Many classroom teachers comment on how their students are struggling emotionally and academically. Students are behind in their literacy development; how they read, listen and view information, as well as how they write, speak and represent it. With the disruption of in-person learning, illness and mental health challenges, many students have fallen behind.
Our District has chosen to invest in counsellors to support the social and emotional health of our students. While that is certainly a wise choice, they have not chosen to invest in Librarians and Libraries in a way that could support our literacy initiatives. For example, Library time continues to be reduced and Library Assistant hours have been cut significantly. No additional funding has been provided to purchase the resources we so desperately need.

Receiving this grant would be hugely impactful to our school population. The anticipated needs of our students are immense and Covid-19 has amplified these issues. We would be able to purchase resources that would support all students, especially those most vulnerable. Over time a great deal of research has made the correlation between school libraries and student achievement, including higher standardized test scores and overall higher student achievement. Scores aside, having access to additional funding would allow classroom teachers and the library to support students in their much needed literacy development and social emotional needs.

**For question 4 I don't have any information yet, so I simply marked 3.**

4. How would you rate reading engagement in your student population?3
Section E: Past Adopt A School participants
Section F: Library Status and future state
1. Does your school have a school library?Yes
2. What percentage of classrooms at your school have classroom libraries?51-75%
3. What was the dollar amount spent on books per student last year?$ 3.50 CAD
4. Approximately what is the average age (in years) of library books in your school?0
5. With additional funding in place through the Adopt A School program, what literacy pillars are you looking to grow in your school library/classroom collections?
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)
  • Reconciliation and/or Indigenous Knowledge
  • Environmental Literacy
Please indicate your response to the following statement: "Our students have equitable access to diverse and representational books and educational resources.”Agree
Please indicate your response to the following statement: “Our students have equitable access to Indigenous-based reading content.”Agree
Please indicate your response to the following statement: “Our students have equitable access to books that interest them and support a love of reading.”Disagree
6a. Please include 1-2 short-term goals that you have for your library learning commons and/or classroom libraries

**We haven't begun to purchase books yet, but we plan to do our best with the funding we have to represent BIPOC authors, to include Indigenous content and to highlight environmental concepts and issues.**

Short-term Goals for the LLC:

1. Developing a sense of community by creating a collection that represents the diversity of our population. Purchasing picture books, novels, chapter books and graphic novels that include characters/authors/illustrators from diverse backgrounds. BIPOC/SOG123

2. Purchasing books to support teachers and students with their social and emotional health. These types of books, (picture books, teacher resources, novels), would focus on topics such as self-regulation, mindfulness, growth mindset, friendships, family topics (death, divorce, new baby, immigration/refugees.

6b. Please include 1-2 long-term goals that you have for your library learning commons and/or classroom libraries

Long-term goals:

1. Literacy Goal: I don’t have any data on the school yet, but thinking of the impact of Covid-19, an important long-term goal will be to increase the reading levels of all students in K-5 over the next 3 years. In September, teachers will conduct their initial reading assessments, which will tell us what and who we need to focus on. I think this will be a significant goal that we will need to set as a team.

2. Exploration & Discovery in the Library Learning Commons: I am looking forward to creating a learning commons that is the hub of the school. I hope to foster inquiry, innovation, creativity, design thinking and computational thinking. I would love for the LLC to be seen as an exciting place to work, learn and collaborate with others. I want the space to feel welcoming, safe and easy to access.

7a. Does your school have priorities surrounding diversity/anti-racism?Yes
Section G: Amplifying Awareness and Connecting with your Community
Section G Description
  • One of the main goals of the Adopt A School program is for our Indigo stores and high-needs schools to connect with their surrounding community to generate awareness about the Canadian literacy crisis and about the challenges schools and educators face.
  • A large part of what contributes to fundraising success during the run of the Adopt A School campaign rests on building firm partnerships between schools and their supporting Indigo retail partners in executing a unified vision.

This section of the application will give you a chance to express your ideas and capacity for effectively partnering with a neighboring (or remote) store to communicate your story, as well as promote awareness-raising activities within your own school and parent community.

Partnering with an Indigo store: How would you partner with a neighborhood or remotely-located store to bring your school’s story to life?

1. This is newsworthy! I would invite an Indio representative to the school to announce that we’ve been selected for the program and ask a news outlet to report on it. Chek News or CTV Vancouver Island News are always supportive of local school initiatives and often feature stories on the nightly news or in the paper. Because we are a new school, I think the interest will be very high. People also want to see what the school looks like and who the staff and students are.

2. Create a video to highlight our school culture and literacy needs.

3. Student artwork for customer donations: bookmarks, cards

4. Could we do a special Friends and Family Night where families are encouraged to come down/shop online with a special discount?

5. Photos highlighting specific students and their stories. Larger group photos of classes or the whole school.

Generating awareness within your own School and parent community: How would you raise awareness for the Adopt A School program with your members of your School and/or parent community?

Parents, teachers and students would be excited to partner with our local Indigo store and share how the Adopt-A-School-Program has made a difference at Pexsisen Elementary.

1. Reach out to the Parent Advisory Council. They will have a FaceBook page and post for all parents to see. Parents will pass along the information and families will be encouraged to shop at Indigo.
2. Ask PAC to organize a fundraiser
3. Share on our school website and school newsletter.
4. Reading Challenge - Read-a-thon

Date CreatedMay 4, 2022