Ebus Academy SD#91 Nechako Lakes

I. General Information

School Name: Ebus Academy

School District: SD#91 Nechako Lakes

Inquiry Team Members: Nicole Arnold narnold@sd91.bc.ca, Lorn Kennedy lkennedy@sd91.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Jason Kadonaga/jakadonaga@sd91.bc.ca

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7), Secondary (8-12)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Physical & Health Education

Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Increase engagement in the school community and create connection with peers and adults at Ebus, to improve student success in learning.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: In response to how COVID is impacting student attendance, the district has implemented a support team. Approximately 500 learners out of our 3000 have already missed 40% of school days so far this year (2021). We are also seeing a lower than usual enrollment and level of engagement at Ebus. Looking at the equity scan surveys (2019), we are seeing that students are feeling that the lack of social engagement, social relationships, or distracting relationships is the single biggest barrier to learner success in school. Students are not connecting meaningfully with others (peers or educators) in ways that help keep them engaged in learning.

Focus: Meaningful engagement is a challenge at the best of times for online learners. Through the pandemic this was exasperated. We were hoping to engage more learners and build meaningful connections.

Hunch: There were not enough opportunities for engagement and relationship building. The lack of learner engagement was visible in course completion rates and low attendance at the few school events there were.

New Professional Learning:

  • Indspire National Gathering
  • Transformative Education Leadership Program (UBC)
  • Koh learning group from UNBC, participating in their gatherings
  • Professional readings and professional development
  • English teachers shared ideas about the new graduation requirement
  • Regular meetings with the Aboriginal Education Teacher Lead team
  • Weekly GSA meetings-learning PowerPoints thanks to Bobo!
  • Learning Carrier using the locally developed app

Taking Action: We noticed that the grades 10-12 student population had few opportunities to build connections with staff and peers. We decided to offer a speaker series called “Inspiring Pathways”, focusing on overcoming adversity in career paths. Also, we spent time building an Ebus GSA club and working to implement Honoring Diversity 8 online at Ebus Academy. We continued to offer various events for all grades, as well.

Checking: We saw a continued high engagement level with the grade K-9 learners and an increased engagement level with the 10-12 learners. This was measurable by the attendance at various events such as the Inspiring Pathways speaker series and the participation and leadership by the Ebus GSA at the district-wide Share the Love Day. In addition, we asked learners for feedback, and it was positive and encouraging.

Check out what we have done:

Reflections/Advice: By offering hands-on events, face-to-face events and a relevant speaker’s series, we have had a tangible impact on learners’ engagement and relationships. With the end of Covid restrictions, we can plan more in-person events. We will be offering Honoring Diversity 8 online at Ebus Academy in September 2022.

We will continue to offer hands-on virtual classes, weekly Aboriginal stories virtual class, continue with offering clubs such as the GSA, continue the Inspiring Pathways Speakers Series, continue with Koh learning, and develop an interactive BC river system map so our Ebus learners can see how they are connected by the rivers and waterways. We will live stream more events, such as sturgeon release, Indigenous winter games and others. At the 2022 DL Symposium, we are presenting a session about Indigenous Education and Inclusion in an online setting.

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