Esquimalt High School SD#61 Greater Victoria

I. General Information

School Name: Esquimalt High School

School District: SD#61 Greater Victoria

Inquiry Team Members: Alli Smith:, Geoff Orme:, Ken Henderson:, Paisley Aiken:, Rachel Trebilco:, Shannon Dunn:, Tracey Murphey,, Jennifer Treble:, Maya Hamel:, Paola Madrigal:, Sarah Garr:, Tarra Clarke:

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Tina Pierik/

II. Inquiry Project Information

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

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Career Education
  • Language Arts – Literacy
  • Language Arts – Reading
  • Language Arts – Writing

Focus Addressed:

  • Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation)
  • First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • Flexible learning
  • Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can we use our Career program (dual credit) opportunities to support our Indigenous learners’ transition to post secondary or the workplace, after graduation.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: We invited all of our IED learners to join us for lunch (choice of two days) where staff explained our inquiry project. We explained the need for student voice (scanning). We then invited students to sign up to be interviewed (alone or in a small group). We set up a day where 8 team members interviewed all interested students. Most of our students chose to talk in a small group format. The questions were discussion starters. The students gave us so much more information than we asked for! They told us their stories from their time at our school, and their school experience before they arrived at our school.


Focus: We are looking to strengthen our grade 9 transitions and academic program for our Indigenous learners. How do we build strong relationships? How do we support them in their academic work? What interventions are needed to support literacy & numeracy? How can our existing career programs support our Indigenous learners to transition successfully to post secondary?

Hunch: Some of our learners are coming to us with academic gaps in their learning. How do we address this in their grade 9 year? Very few of our Indigenous learners are accessing our existing career programs and dual credit opportunities. How can we make these programs more inviting, relevant and accessible for our IED learners?

New Professional Learning: Covid did hinder some opportunities for our team. We did participate in the NOIIE Forum via zoom (looking forward to the in-person event next year). Individually, we did participate in opportunities. Tina & Sarah did the BCPVPA leaning series on Diversity and Culturally Responsiveness with Nouman Ashraf and Carolyn Roberts. Next year, we look forward to planning a visit to another district to see how they are addressing the needs we have.

Taking Action: We are very early in our inquiry process. We have just completed the scanning and are in the process of debriefing and adjusting our focus based on what we have learned from students.

  • Regular team meeting where we take our Inquiry lens to all the activities we currently have going on
  • We are looking at our spring transition activities for our incoming grade 9 students.
  • We have adjusted our course offerings to be more flexible for our learners who have not met the learning outcomes of a core academic, YET. (English First Peoples 10/11, 11/12 classes, learning hubs for students who need more time to complete, Fast Track intervention/instead of summer school).

Checking: We cannot answer that yet. The scanning process, in itself, has empowered our learners.

Reflections/Advice: We were so appreciative of our inquiry coach, Lori, who encouraged us not to rush the process. Take the time that is needed at each stage.

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