Phelps Helps at Alexander Galt
"Inclusion is not simply about physical proximity. It is about intentionally planning for the success of all students." - Carol Ann Tomlinson
Where: Alexander Galt
When: Every Monday during the school year at 12pm
High school, no matter the size of the school, and no matter how remarkable the administration and teachers, is not always an easy place for our youth to navigate and feel at home in, especially for the first year students transitioning from elementary school. They can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of students, the unfamiliar faces, and the entirely new system. This is in part why Phelps Helps developed a plan to hold a weekly lunch-time club with the Stanstead area students at Alexander Galt. Phelps@Galt recreates the closeness and sense of community of a small elementary school within the space of the larger high school. Here, students from the same local elementary schools can reconnect and seek comfort from their former school-mates.
Here too, the Phelps Helps team offers games and activities which vary from week to week. Depending on how they feel, students can choose between quieter activities (such as playing board games) and higher energy activities. For the latter, we’ve played dodgeball and “pacman” in the gym. We’ve also offered ninja warrior training, a fun challenge with obstacles to test speed, dexterity and strength. For the quieter activities, students have relaxed and had fun braiding bracelets, playing dominoes, chess, and various card games.
While providing a comfortable space for the students to visit and play games, the club also creates the ideal opportunity for Phelps Helps to see how the students of the Stanstead region are doing. We’re there to listen, provide support, and to see if they need extra help with their school work, and if so, we encourage them to attend our Phelps Helps High School tutoring sessions. When Phelps Helps first started visiting Galt, employees would roam through the school seeking out students from the region to encourage them to join in, but now the students that were sought out have adopted the Phelps@Galt Club as part of their weekly routine.
In addition to the time Phelps Helps spends with the students, the weekly Galt visits are also an occasion to collaborate with the people who work closely with the students, the dedicated vice-principals, social aid technicians and teachers of Alexander Galt. In our conversations with the staff, we have learned more about the students’ well-being and progress in school. With their in-depth knowledge of the students and their advice, we have been strategizing ways we at Phelps Helps can better support these students, and in return we trust the students will do much better at school.
In collaboration with schools and other organizations in our community, Phelps Helps aims to create and fortify a network of support for the youth in our community, helping them to succeed at school and to ultimately graduate and become active members of their community. The Phelps@Galt club at Alexander Galt High School is one facet of a multi-faceted approach with this goal in mind. To date, Phelps@Galt has had meaningful weekly interactions with well over twenty Phelps Helps students, and approximately fifty percent of these students are now attending the high school tutoring sessions on a more regular basis. This is good news! And we’re looking forward to continuing this trend in partnership with Alexander Galt!