I. General Information
School Name: Brooke Elementary
School District: SD#37 Delta
Inquiry Team Members: Melissa Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org, Janelle Lindahl: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
II. Inquiry Project Information
Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Areas Addressed: Other: Social Emotional
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus was re-building a sense of connectedness and community in our school, post pandemic.
III. Spirals of Inquiry Details
Scanning: For our scanning process, we created school-wide student surveys to gauge the connectedness of students with adults in the building, as well as with their peers. Both a primary and intermediate survey were created. Students read statements and responded on a scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. We noticed that students felt connected to the adults in the school, but were lacking connection with their peers. We incorporated the First People’s Principles of Learning in our scanning process, as we were focusing on the relational aspect of learning and how the well-being of self impacts learning. The OECD principles of learning were imbedded in our scan, recognizing the impact of the social nature on learning. We wanted to stretch students to connect with one another to hopefully improve their learning.
Focus: We focused on building relationships and connections between students of all grade levels. We wanted to strengthen relationships at a grade level, but also across grades. We hoped that this would yield greater connection with one another and to broaden students’ social circles and skills that have been lacking the past few years due to the pandemic.
Hunch: Because of the pandemic, our students have been forced to be apart from one another. They were put in peer groups and only allowed to interact and play with a small group of children. Being forced to keep their distance did not foster great connections with their peers.
New Professional Learning: We did a school-wide book study, focusing on supporting kids in crisis. We learned about a Playground Pals program that we then implemented at our school. Due to continued restrictions, many professional learning opportunities we would have liked to participate in, were not available to us.
Taking Action: We really focused on bringing students back together through intentional buddy activities. Students worked with peers at their grade level, but also with older/younger groups of students as well. We had grade 6/7 students volunteer as Playground Pals, running and organizing lunchtime activities for younger students. The younger students became more comfortable seeking out the older students on the playground for support.
We also wanted to bring the entire school community back together. We held a family Zumba afternoon/evening, where families came to dance together outside. We also held a Wreck-Trek team-building evening, where families worked together through different stations, solving physical and mental challenges.
Checking: While we did see an increase in the connectedness of our students, unfortunately we weren’t able to do a lot of the activities that we had planned because of COVID restrictions that continued to be in place for a lot of the school year. We really only got to start “coming back together” near the end of the year. We are hoping to continue with this more in the coming year, and going forward. We would love to see more differences made.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that it’s beneficial for students to connect to a wide range of age groups at school. Both older peers and younger peers can connect in different ways, but both in positive ways. Families really appreciate the opportunity to be at the school with their children and other families as well. Provide as many community-building activities as possible to try and reach more families.