Esquimalt High School SD#61 Greater Victoria

I. General Information

School Name: Esquimalt High School

School District: SD#61 Greater Victoria

Inquiry Team Members: Cheryl Nigh, Chantal Peppin, Tarra Clarke, Jared Adams, Ken Henderson, Jennifer Treble, Kaehlen Allison, Shannon Dunn, Wren Chester, Paola Madrigal, David Fuerst, Hayley Hubbs, Alicia Thomas, Denica Bowe, Geoff Orme

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Transitions Study

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

Curricular Areas Addressed: Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics / Numeracy, Physical & Health Education, Science, Social Studies

Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Indigenous pedagogy, Social and emotional learning, Transitions

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Facilitating successful transitions for students from Grade 8 into Grade 9.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: The bulk of our formal scanning occurred in the 2021-2022 school year through Student Interviews. We noticed that although students could identify trusted adults and safe spaces, there were only a few examples of each – it did not extend to the whole school community. We also noted that students needed to see an explicit purpose behind what they were learning in classes, in order to remain engaged.

Focus: This year we decided to work together with our “Grade 9 Team” and School Based Team to incorporate some of the feedback from staff (challenges they have noticed). From this, we narrowed our focus to look specifically at establishing stronger connections/relationships between staff and students. We are hoping that a specific focus on relationship and connections will increase a sense of belonging and engagement in classes, leading to increased success overall.

Hunch: While there are many areas where we excel at forming relationships/connections, we believe that if we create a structure specifically for this purpose, we are more likely to be successful. In this way, we are valuing relationship building as a foundational element of our school community, not just something that teachers/staff are doing in addition to teaching in their curricular areas.

New Professional Learning: Reading the case studies of other inquiry teams was helpful to generate ideas. It was also very beneficial to attend the NOIIE conference. As we are in a budget deficit, the NOIIE funds made it possible to bring our team together through release time.

Taking Action: We brought a proposal to our Staff Committee for a Grade 9 Advisory for the 2023-2024 school year. This model has subsequently been approved. The purpose of this Advisory block will be to create connections and relationships, both with staff and with other students. We know that when students feel connected, they are more likely to be successful in other areas, including academic classes. We will be working with a team of teachers to create activities and lessons to support this objective. This will include team building, organization/study skills, field trips, competitions, guest speakers, mentors, etc.

Checking: As this initiative will begin next year, we have not had the opportunity to gather data. The intention will be to survey students at the start of their Grade 9 year, again at the mid-year point, and once more towards the end of the year to gauge the impact of the Advisory model.

Reflections/Advice: See above.

Photo description: 2022-2023 NOIIE Team Members, Esquimalt High School