School Name: Indigenous Education Centre
School District: SD#60 Peace River North
Inquiry Team Members: Erin Gotzke: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mel Carew: email@example.com, Lana Clarke: firstname.lastname@example.org, Naomi Broadhead: email@example.com, Crystal Anielewicz: firstname.lastname@example.org, Pat Jansen: 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)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics / Numeracy, Science, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Differentiated instruction, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, Transitions, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Enhance transition from middle school to high school through increased connection with the high school transition team at the middle school level.
Scanning: We noticed a breakdown in relationship between students and their support team as they transitioned between middle school and grade 10. We recognized that the Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational, thus wanted students to develop relationship with the high school support team prior to their entry.
Focus: We noticed that there previously had been inadequate contact between the middle school students and high school transition teams. When students arrived at the high school, they found a difference between the relationships they had at their previous school and the current school. We were hoping that with more visits from the high school team, our students would start to build connections and trust-filled relationships prior to their grade 10 transition.
Hunch: Students who transition to a new school without an intact support team are less likely to experience holistic wellness. Our hope was that if we started to facilitate connections, our students would feel supported and a sense of belonging that would enable them to quickly engage in their new school environment.
New Professional Learning: We incorporated the learning principles presented by Nigaan Sinclair, based on the TRC. All staff received Climbing the Mountain: Education Reconciliation in Canada that provides an overview of the TRC, along with lesson plans that cover all subject areas. Learning from Elders continues to be our best resource.
Taking Action: Originally, our schedule was set up in such a way that students would come for academic support on a drop-in basis. We found that this did not work, as students did not want to be singled out for help or connection while in class. Thus students were not accessing the help available to them. In response to the lack of drop-in supports taking place, we scheduled students into support blocks. This also enabled us to have a scheduled time with students where high school transition teams could potentially visit and build relationships.
Checking: In spite of making time for transition visits to happen, we found it difficult, in part, due to Covid restrictions on school visitors. The high school staff was unable to join the middle school students regularly enough to establish meaningful connection. Truthfully, we were unsatisfied with how this year’s inquiry went. However, this set-back does not negate the value of our initial hunch. We have a renewed commitment to this process, in a non-pandemic year.
Reflections/Advice: Our intention is to continue this inquiry next year with more defined roles and a clearer understanding of what success will look like; for example, pre-scheduled visits, a year-long timeline to be acted upon by specific people.