School Name: Charles Hays Secondary
School District: SD#52 Prince Rupert
Inquiry Team Members:Aja Lihou <Aja.Lihou@sd52.bc.ca>; Carla Rourke <Carla.Rourke@sd52.bc.ca>; Cindy Mah <Cindy.Mah@sd52.bc.ca>; James Zlatanov <James.Zlatanov@sd52.bc.ca>; Kathy Offutt <Kathy.Offutt@sd52.bc.ca>; Lonni Bryant <Lonni.Bryant@sd52.bc.ca>; Roberta Edzerza <Roberta.Edzerza@sd52.bc.ca>; Sandy Beckwith <Sandy.Beckwith@sd52.bc.ca>; Sandy Pond <Sandy.Pond@sd52.bc.ca>; Sonny Henry <Sonny.Henry@sd52.bc.ca>
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: AESN Transitions (focus on Indigenous learner transitions)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Not applicable
Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Indigenous pedagogy, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning, Transitions
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? The focus for the year was to check in with our students regarding the impact of our first annual Transitions Learning Luulgit (Feast) and to use the information to prepare for this year’s Luulgit.
Scanning: Our scanning process was a continuation of last year, when we administered a survey to all students. The survey featured a modified version of the 4 questions. Once we had our data we realized that our most vulnerable transition was between grade eight and grade nine, which in our case is the transition between the Middle School and the Secondary School. Knowing this information about our learners, the grade eight to nine transition became our focus area. We used the First People’s Principles of learning as well as local protocol to organize a Transitions Learning Luulgit (Feast) to individually recognize and connect the grade eight cohort that was transitioning to the Secondary School during this year. This years scanning specifically focused on receiving feedback on the Luulgit’s (Feast) impact on students’ connection and sense of belonging to our school.
Focus: We focused on grade eight to nine transitions because the data we gathered through our survey, based on the four questions, revealed to us that our grade nine students’ responses displayed the most value . We were hoping that when students enter our school in grade nine they would, first of all know that they are welcome and valued, they are in a school that respects the protocols of the territory and recognizes the people and traditions, and that they are in an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated.
Hunch: Our hunch was that in order for students to acquire a sense of belonging at our school they should not only be recognized as individuals but their family, community and culture should be reflected in the school.
New Professional Learning: For our professional learning we read through and discussed the BC Ministry of Education’s Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom document, our school district’s Aboriginal Education Council’s Partnership Agreement as well as consulting with Local Ts’msyen Elders, knowledge holders and fluent Sm’algyax speakers.
Taking Action: This being the third year of our transitions study, we checked into the success of our action item, The Transitions Learning Luulgit (Feast), and planned our adjustments and for the second Luulgit (Feast). We also discussed future plans to involve the local Middle School in the planning and executing of the Luulgit (Feast). Furthermore, plans for a school and community smokehouse were discussed and plans were made to go ahead with the project.
Checking: While all feedback from students was positive some responses stated that they agreed with the value of the Luulgit (Feast) but did not think that it made a significant impact to them individually. Our next step for the inquiry is to continue checking by administering the four questions on an annual basis to see if we can notice any significant changes in the grade nine data.
Reflections/Advice: Through this process our inquiry team learned that the inquiry process made all of us, as well as many of the school staff productively vulnerable. In this case productively vulnerable means that most of those who participated in the inquiry became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Our team, staff and students became learners during the entire process and we became comfortable opening ourselves to have our assumptions challenged by listening to our students, to the Elders and the knowledge keepers.