October 26, 2016 — After two and a half years of planning and preparation, Gonzaga Middle School (GMS) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, opened its doors to its first Grade 6 class in September, becoming the second Jesuit-endorsed Nativity-model school in Canada.
The school will provide a holistic, co-educational, culturally sensitive middle school education for children from low-income families in Winnipeg’s North End and North East Downtown inner-city neighborhoods. GMS seeks to develop “men and women for others” while preparing students for success in high school and post-secondary study. It will strive to graduate students who are intellectually competent, open to growth, spiritually alive and committed to doing justice.
Like its sister school, Mother Teresa Middle School in Regina, GMS will help students develop to their full potential to break the cycle of poverty and become leaders through a Jesuit Nativity-model middle school education.
The school incorporates best practices from Jesuit Nativity model schools and the NativityMiguel Coalition of Schools, which includes a longer school day, before and after school programming, extended school year (including summer camp weeks), enrichment activities, and mentoring and graduate support programs. GMS will also provide meals and snacks, transportation to and from school, technology and other supports. After graduation, GMS will continue to provide support to students during high school.
Students attending Gonzaga Middle School will come from a variety of faith and cultural backgrounds, including Indigenous, New-Canadian and other communities. In the tradition of Jesuit education and the spirit of reconciliation called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, GMS is “committed to being inclusive and respecting the faith and spiritual traditions of its students.”
The first Grade 6 class has 17 students, and over half (53%) of this first class are from First Nation backgrounds.
GMS has also continued to work on building relationships with members of the community and community groups to address reconciliation and build community relationships. An agreement to Encourage Reconciliation and Positive Relationships has been developed to guide the process. [Source: Jesuits [Conference of Canada and the United States], Gonzaga Middle School]