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Challenging ourselves to transform our departments

At Cambie we are transforming our approach to education.  We are focus on sustainability, personalization and a focus on students. Below are brief plans for each department as summarized by the Educational Facilitator for each department.  

Fine Arts Department

The Fine Arts department has always been – and continues to be – at the forefront of immersive and experiential learning…we were “project-based” before it was an educational catchphrase!  Students in the arts can only truly “grow” with regular, timely formative feedback on the creation of their work as it evolves – true artistic learning is grounded in the “process”, not the product.  It is, however, our students’ love of the “process” of creation that continues to allow for the development of outstanding artistic “products” – exciting theatrical productions, musical explorations, and visual arts showcases that rival larger schools in the district.

Ms. Foster, Educational Facilitator

ELL Department

The 2019-2020 school year was an exciting one for the ELL Department. All of the ELL teachers jumped on board the SRPP with their main focus being the use of eportfolios as a way of recording and reporting out student progress.

This year, the department goals are to continue with the use of the eportfolios as we found them to be a great way to capture the language growth of the English language learners. We also found them to be an effective way to have students reflect on the core competencies.

Ms. Meyer & Ms. Wong, Educational Facilitator

Design and Fabrication Department

In the HJ Cambie Design department, we strive to transform our students into confident and innovative makers. We teach our students a high-level recognition of the qualities of good design to lay the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of creative expression and excellence in craft. Our extensive and well-equipped shops provide for one of the best experiential and hands-on learning environments in the province and we are proud to challenge our students to educational experiences that help them achieve their very best in the pursuit of quality.

Mr. Podmoroff, Educational Facilitator

Mathamatics Department

The Cambie Math Department strives to prepare students for the real world.  We provide engaging opportunities where students are challenged with open-ended questions and work collaboratively daily as part of the classroom routine. One example is focusing on complex numeracy tasks. Part of our teaching philosophy is to show students why math is important by focusing on big ideas instead of mathematical algorithms. We believe that critical and creative thinking lives beyond content knowledge.  We foster an environment where we celebrate creativity and encourage taking risks using different approaches to problem-solving.  By creating flexible learning environments, students will be able to realize their unlimited abilities, develop stronger thinking, and develop better communication skills

Mr. Li, Educational Facilitator

Modern Languages Department

Our goal every year is to integrate new technology to make our curriculum interesting and relevant to students. Modern Language teachers use online programs like Quizlet and Duolingo to support our teaching and to provide students with ways to practice and improve their language skills. Last year students were introduced to virtual reality, and were really excited to use VR goggles to give presentations about French and Spanish-speaking countries.

Modern Languages have not had a drastic change in curriculum. However, our methodology and assessment practices have been evolving. We have adopted some form of the TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and story-telling) approach in our teaching. We have largely moved away from textbooks and teach from movie talks with video clips and using novels in the target language to stimulate discussion.

Our focus has been to promote speaking fluency above everything. Our assessment has shifted from grammatical accuracy with tests to assessing fluency of communication. Interviews and discussions are assessed more than written output. For this, the district portal has become a useful tool for recording student projects, interviews, and presentations in their portfolios.

Mr. Kroeker, Educational Facilitator


The Pathways Department is continuing to build the program with clear expectations, cross-curricular work and a variety of opportunities in the community that build leadership skills and community understanding.  Our students continue to be expected not only to complete volunteer hours, but to thoughtfully work towards achieving personal goals surrounding their volunteer hours and their contributions within both the Cambie School community and the surrounding community.   This also applies for all field trip opportunities and connecting these to the curriculum, specifically the Big Ideas and Core Competencies.  Within our cohort classes, our department expects students to work hard to accomplish personal goals academically and we are continuing to enhance our program with further depth of curriculum as well as allowing for cross-curricular projects, assignments and interactions.

Ms. Paukov, Educational Facilitator

Physical Health and Education Department

The P.E. Department wants students to be active and moving around as much as they can during PE.  There are many benefits to students being active not only physically, but mentally as well, as activity opens up the learning centres in the brain.  We want students to recognize these benefits of being active.  

As our ultimate goal is for students to acquire the knowledge and desire to live well-balanced, healthy and active lifestyles and to continue beyond high school.  These habits can be developed and fostered in high school.  Beyond simply just participating, we want students to learn that it is okay to sweat and to work hard.  Getting outside of their comfort zone and to push themselves physically is a good thing and will result in becoming more physically fit.  In our pre-class warm up we regularly incorporate a 12-minute run. This warm-up forces students to follow a simple run-walk sequence where many are forced to push themselves to run for longer segments as we progress through the year.  Last year, near the end of the year a class was sent out on a warm-up run and told they were going to run the entire route as a group.  Near the end of the run a student was overheard saying “wow – we ran the whole thing.”  This resonates with our department, as many times students do not know what they are capable of. 

If students are not encouraged to push themselves to go beyond what they think they are capable of they will never see the benefits of training.  In addition to the active part of our class, we also strive to incorporate active health discussion topics in our classes.  Topics include nutrition, healthy relationships, mental health, and many others.  These lessons allow students to develop balance in all aspects of their health beyond the physical.  Through the active health discussions, self-assessments and goal setting, and gym units being active, students are given the tools to be healthy, active and happy in life.

Ms. Alblas, Educational Facilitator

Social Studies Department

The social studies department has undergone a number of changes over the course of the last 4 years. The changes to the curriculum from grades 8-12 have allowed the department to shift its focus from one based on prep for provincial exams to one based on going deeper with inquiry and making meaningful connections to the past, present and future.

We have collaboratively worked with district consultants and created our own Cambie social studies specific learning maps. This year, it is our intention, to continue to use the common language of our Big Ideas consistently throughout the subject grades. We will continue our work with students to engage them with inquiry to ask questions, build knowledge and deeper understanding of key concepts, explore challenging questions, and approach problems and issues in many different ways.

The Core Competencies of communication, creative thinking and critical thinking form the basis of not only our teaching, but also our assessment practices. Our assessment includes a focus on the core competencies and learning maps. We are fortunate to have department members use various forms of communication with students and parents; for example, email, twitter, websites, and the portal.

This year, one of our goals is to continue our work to further develop our scope and sequence from gr. 8-12. This would include, but not limited to, such topics as big ideas, assessment, and fieldtrip planning.

Experiential learning is something we all strive to focus on with our students. Activities such as the Temple Tour (SS8), Fly over Canada (SS9), Forbidden Walking Tour (SS10), Victoria Trip to visit the Parliament and Royal BC Museum (SS10), Holocaust Museum (Explorations 11), visiting the Law Courts (Law 12), and the Student Vote (school-wide) are examples of some of our place-based learning activities.

We take special care to set high expectations and stress the importance of citing original work correctly and responsibly. Plagiarism in our classes and post-secondary are discussed with considerable attention to the consequences.

To conclude, the social studies teachers at Cambie are committed to guiding students to become informed and thoughtful Canadian and global citizens, who, when they go out in the world to live, work, play and vote, are grounded in their own learned version of Canadian identity and global citizenship.

Ms. Olleck, Educational Facilitator

Counselling Department

As a department we strive to work closely with the administration, staff, and parents in the best interest of Cambie students. We engage in collaborative conversations and promote professional growth within the department and encourage other to learn from us in addressing the needs of students.  As a department we model and inspire innovation and growth; to incorporate the use of inquiry to support learning. Our department has a model reflective practice as it founation it addressing both students, parents teachers and other stakeholders.

As department we have support the implementation of the new curriculum and new instructional strategies. WE  promote, educate and support students regarding mental health/ wellness, including the Wednesday Wellness PA Initiative and providing access to useful resources such as the Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide and the Here To Help Website at (link is external) We liaise closely with post-secondary institutes about admissions requirements, and to share pertinent information with students, parents, departments and school staff.  We also,  build on the good foundation of training and accessing student helpers we have called Cambie Counselling Centre helpers, and tap on their skills and volunteering incentive. In nurturing this group, we are raising awareness of the importance of mental well-being among these potential leaders of the school.

Currently, both the Counselling Department and the Career Information Advisor are using the portal/website/digital means to communicate with students and their parents. We aim for all department members to have a webpage this year. We strongly believe in the Cambie 3R Spirit, and endorse the Growth Mindset philosophy, along with the school. Through interactions with all students, we promote a strong personal image, good mental health, a willingness to raise personal bars, by hard work, mutual respect and a deep sense of school pride.

Ms. Li, Educational Facilitator

Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2021