School Name: Aldergrove Community Secondary School
School District: SD#35 Langley
Inquiry Team Members: Ashley Ross: ARoss@sd35.bc.ca, Tamara Brenie: TBrenie@sd35.bc.ca, Brooke Leary: BLeary@sd35.bc.ca (Brooke is a new addition to the team).
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Other: AVID Strategies in Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (WICOR).
Focus Addressed: Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To develop competency-based learning pathways for skills that can be used across disciplines to support school-wide AVID and literacy goals; however, to engage the school community to increase their sense of agency with these tools, staff in-service on AVID WICOR+ strategies would be needed.
Scanning: The four key questions were provided to a sampling of grade 12 students, including those students in our AVID program. From scanning we discovered the AVID students tend to be more connected to their learning community, implementing and valuing the strategies they are learning. We want to leverage these strategies and experiences in a school-wide approach to benefit all learners. To do so, we must build capacity within our staff to use the strategies used in the AVID program.
Focus: To be college and career ready after high school, all students need to develop a variety of skills. WICOR+ strategies – WRITING and READING-to-learn strategies, engaging in learning with each other through INQUIRY and COLLABORATION structures, improving ORGANIZATION, and developing STUDENT AGENCY and OPPORTUNITY KNOWLEDGE, can be used across disciplines to develop those skills.
Hunch: The strategies used in the AVID program classes, are simply good teaching and learning strategies, and should be used school-wide to benefit all students. Our hunch is that many teachers are already using some of the strategies. Slight differences in terminology or process can confuse students; therefore a coordinated and consistent method taught to students can have a significant impact on their learning. We also have a hunch some teachers are not deliberately using any specific strategies to develop college, career, and life-ready skills, and they can easily be implemented in any curriculum.
New Professional Learning: AVID Centre has prepared 90-minute Professional Learning Modules covering a variety of WICOR topics. Some of our staff were trained on February 9th to be able to facilitate these modules. The modules were offered during staff professional development days on February 12th and May 21st. The facilitation of the modules utilized WICOR+ strategies and encouraged staff participants to consider their own practice and use of these and similar strategies with their students.
Taking Action: We offered six 90-minute sessions for staff this past spring. We specifically chose the module Using Collaborative Study Groups in the Content Classroom to connect with the work we did earlier in our inquiry, to create a competency-based learning pathway for collaboration to be used across disciplines. The other modules were selected by staff: Socratic Seminars; Using Inquiry to Increase Rigor; WICOR Workshop; and Cognitive Organization by Discipline. The modules were delivered in small groups, face-to-face or remotely via Microsoft TEAMS. A total of 33 staff participated voluntarily, many joined in on multiple sessions.
Checking: We were successful introducing some new strategies to our colleagues while identifying the WICOR+ strategies they are already using. School-wide implementation of common strategies can have a powerful impact on student learning. The discussion with staff during the sessions helped us realize we are closer to school-wide implementation of AVID strategies than we thought, as the sessions allowed for staff to share the strategies they implement.
Reflections/Advice: Our staff want to participate in more AVID Professional Learning Modules. The strategies complement the new curriculum and the school’s focus on improving literacy, so many staff are keen. Some staff who have not been able to participate thus far are asking when we will offer more workshops. Offering smaller, more intimate professional learning opportunities like we did this past spring seemed to have more of an impact than staff-wide Pro-D offered in the past. When the staff volunteer to participate, they are more invested, the discussions are richer, and it seems participants are more likely to feel supported to try new things. We feel our goal of AVID strategy use school-wide will grow with this approach and we will further develop competency-based learning pathways for college, career, and life skills used across disciplines.