School Name: Don Ross Middle School
School District: SD#48 Sea to Sky
Inquiry Team Members:Louise Wick – firstname.lastname@example.org
Delia Murray – email@example.com
Cory Hartling – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Place – email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Transitions (focus on Indigenous learner transitions)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12), Post-secondary
Curricular Area(s): Career Education, Physical & Health Education
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus is on mindfully promoting kindness at our school.
Scanning: During our scanning we discovered that school climate was on everybody’s mind. We heard concerns from staff, community members, students and parents. We learned that changing our school climate was a top priority for all of these groups.
We decided we would have students, teachers and parents complete a survey that focused on kindness at our school. We will repeat this survey late in the year to see how our inquiry has changed the experience for people in our school.
Focus: We considered a number of strategies to promote a healthier school culture, and given the structures currently in place at our school, we felt a focus on kindness was most accessible for staff and students.
Hunch: Among a number of our clientele, kindness is not being valued – or at least that is not outwardly apparent. This culture seems to be the more dominant or noticeable culture. Those who feel differently don’t have a way to express their voice or have power.
New Professional Learning: Some staff investigated a resource titled “Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School”.
Other staff attended the Live Different Project.
We worked with a mentor to develop a Kindness in the Community project.
We investigated more deeply the Core Competencies of Positive Personal and Cultural Identity, Personal Awareness and Responsibility, and Social Awareness.
We looked more deeply at the 4 Blankets as developed by our School District.
We explored and implemented pasrts of the resource “Circle Forward”.
So, much was happaning in terms of professional learning.
Taking Action: One group focused on a Kindness in the Community project. Students chose groups in our community they wished to thank – for example, the police, our hospital, Helping Hands etc. Students did some fundraising so they could make flowers, buy flowers and also bake some treats to deliver. They also wrote letters to be delivered to express their gratitude. Then, on one day, they traveled throughout the town delivering their message of thanks and gratitude. This project was a great success – students were happy to find a way to express their gratitude.
Another group focused on the concept of what it means to be an ethical person – to walk in a good way. Throughout the year students looked at newsmakers and discussed the ethics of many different world events. They concentrated on why people made the choices they made. Students also reflected on their own selves and talked about choices they made that were ethical and were not. There was much learning about how difficult such decisions can be, and what can influence the choices we make.
Checking: We think that we have just begun on our journey. Certainly for many students in our groups they are much more aware of kindness, gratitude and integrity. Within these groups we were part of many discussions that showed us that these ideas were important to them – that they were making conscious choices about the person they wanted to be. We also saw this play out in their behavior. Students were more likely to consider how their actions were affecting others, or in hindsight, were able to consider how their actions had affected someone.
Reflections/Advice: Next year our plans include:
-To continue the initiatives we have started The Kindness Project and Ethical People
-To try and include more classrooms in our initiatives, so more of the school is involved.
-To spend time learning more about and working with the 4 Blankets to help the students reflect upon their growth.