John Barsby Community School SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

I. General Information

School Name: John Barsby Community School

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members: Holly Knox:, Jane Reynolds:, Stacy Cawthorne:, Trish Nayler:

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Holly Knox/

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

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

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Applied Design, skills & Technology
  • Other: Core Competencies

Focus Addressed:

  • Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation)
  • Community-based learning
  • Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
  • Experiential learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Evolving our universal meals (John Barsby Snack Cart) program to include cultural elements that reflect our learners.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: We queried our school with a survey asking scanning questions that were broad and specific:

  • Can you name two adults in this setting who believe you will be a success in life?
    • We learned 50% of the school felt that they could name 2 staff members and gave explanations.
  • Do you use the snack cart? How often?
    • We discovered that slightly more than 50% of students used the snack cart a couple times a week or every day.

Focus: We asked: “what foods would you like to see on the snack cart?” We discovered that students would like to see more local, vegetarian and culturally relevant (Indigenous, halal) food items. We aimed to make meaningful changes to not just our menu items, but who/what/when/where/why those menu items could happen.

Hunch: We had a hunch that culturally relevant food would be meaningful to the students, would foster conversation and connection in the classroom while eating it, and larger scale lunch events would build community.

New Professional Learning: Parent and community resources were paramount. On several occasions (when Covid restrictions lifted) we had parents and community members participate in sourcing and cooking our food. It was so great! We discovered that our school-wide Indigenous “Feast” luncheon was embraced and enjoyed by most of our student body.

Taking Action: We included members of the community of which we wanted to represent (ie: local Indigenous) in the food sourcing, cooking and service of our meals — this was the greatest point of learning and the source of the greatest results for us.

Checking: Due to Covid restrictions throughout the school year, we feel we made progress towards our goal. It was not enough, but we are determined to try again next year when more visitors can come to the school, and our school and community can be whole again. (pandemic over) Observing and listening to students’ reactions, we know we are on the right track — school food, meal programs, school-wide meal events — these are embraced and appreciated by students at a different level when relevant, and meaningful cultural contributions are present.

Reflections/Advice: Ask for help from the sources you have in the building, and build from there. Once you start talking to your resources in the school, a whole community of connections start to appear and this is where the real magic happens. Community is everything — help it grow, the return is surprising, a family is created.

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