The Little School that ROARS – seriously, we do. Sir Charles Tupper Secondary in Vancouver, BC is a ‘small’ high school, grades 8-12, of about 1,000 students. Our mascot is a tiger and our code of conduct is R.O.A.R.S. which is taught, modeled and followed by staff and students. It took me my whole first year in the school understand. When wanting to do something new in the class: ask the students for their input and interests. When a plan is established support is needed to help form the routines…then let the learners fly!

The plan in the grant application was to develop a salad bar service with the foundation of locally sourcing and growing our own food. By the start of the school year we had significant changes to the original grant group and our classroom – the school teaching cafeteria. It took a little while for us to get our bearings so that we could rethink our plans and get started. So easy to over think…… I asked, was answered and we dove in. The working plan has evolved over the year and it has not always been easy, but the result HAS been fabulous.

We started by growing microgreens to cut and use as part of our salad base. It took a few tries to learn the hits and misses of what grew well and what we enjoyed.  Tupper’s Life Skills 1 Social Enterprise, ‘From The Ground Up’, has been amazing in growing salad greens for us. Lastly is our longer-term projects: growing herbs in window boxes for the tender plants, outdoor tubs for the cold loving hardier plants and ten very large pots to grow a harvest of potatoes!


Then the salad bar service……. This is where we have slowed down a little. Our class teaches Cooks Training and Level One for the Red Seal Chefs training and we do lunch service for our school daily. Great kids, very polite and they like hot food. Vegetables are great, and they will eat all happily (except parsnips, we have to disguise those!)…when they are cooked or as a side to the hot entre. How frustrating to go to all this effort and not have the salad service fly! Here is where reflection with the class was key…and we went back to the beginning:

Ask the students for their input

Consider the ideas

Make a list of ideas

Plan, and try!

I would love to now say that we are 100% happy with what we are doing and that the salad bar is a huge success. Um, not quite yet. Focusing on the positive, our classes came up with some great ideas and we asked for feedback from our customers (staff and students) and worked to get the word out on what we are trying to do. All of that has led to great conversation and ideas that we are putting into use.


The best thing is that no one gave up and we have a plan for next year. We are ROARS.


Responsibility             Ownership                  Attitude          Respect           Safety