I. General Information

School Name: Ballenas Secondary

School District: SD#69 Qualicum

Inquiry Team Members: Nikki Morton nmorton@sd69.bc.ca
Loanna Clint lclint@sd69.bc.ca
Amanda Girgan agirgan@sd69.bc.ca
Mindy Holman mholman@sd69.bc.ca
Jessylee Spence jspence@sd69.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Email: Trish Cathrine/tcathrine@sd69.bc.ca

II. Inquiry Project Information

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Secondary (8-12)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Other: Whole School Learning

Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus this year was on education leading to action and the importance of story.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: Indigenous Education and support of all learners has always been of utmost importance to who we are here at Ballenas. This year, we were able to gather again in our formal homeroom/CLC structures which is a powerful structure to support whole-school learning on a variety of topics. We knew that Indigenous Education needs to be intertwined in all of our classes, but can also be very intentional and purposeful through the vehicle of CLC. We wanted to get back to this being a part of what we do and learn during this time. We wanted the education that takes place during that time support and nudge action. We know that with education comes understanding and action – this is our goal.

Focus: Supporting student transitions – ultimately leading to graduation: dignity, purpose, options, IDENTITY – picking up where we left off after our last transition study (focus: How can increasing Indigenous cultural awareness and understandings at Ballenas contribute to holistic reconciliation and the TRC’s calls to action for education?).

Hunch: We need to continue our learning. We need to go deeper with our learning. Learning needs to support and prompt action.

New Professional Learning: Equity Scan: this year our district began an equity scan. One of the most powerful pieces for our team, from that scan, were the stories from the students. We know that we need to prioritize the sharing of these stories, and before that can happen, we need to focus on creating connection and safe environments for those stories to be shared.

Taking Action: Student conversations/student voice: We need to continue with stories from students – starting with relationships and asking important questions (i.e. what is being shared/said and what is our response?). We also need to make more time to debrief with students after specific focuses (as noted below) – what was the impact? Ripple effect?

Education/action: Intentional focus on Truth and Reconciliation and calls to action; collection of QR codes and connections to actions our community can take NOW; focus on local language and “Mi Cep Nuwilum” – you all come in – as a thread through all that we do; specific focus on land acknowledgements and why; MMIWG and Moosehide Campaign learning, visuals, and pledges.

Photos (above): A few photos from some of the visuals created this year at Ballenas Secondary.

Checking: We feel that we re-engaged in intentional learning this year. We would like to spend more time talking with students in an authentic way to get a better sense of the impact that the learning has had on them, and where they want to go/learn next. Our hope is that some students were able to take this learning and share it more broadly within their own contexts. Education leading to action.

Reflections/Advice: Our plan for next year is to continue listening to and empowering the voices of our Indigenous youth. We have connected with 26 of approximately 100 youth and asked them about the adults in their life who believed they’d be a success; all were able to name two. We also asked about THEM and their story. What do they want US to know – this is the work that we need to continue. Our advice is to slow down; take time to lean into the process and be present with our youth.