Kwalikum Secondary School SD#69 Qualicum

I. General Information

School Name: Kwalikum Secondary School

School District: SD#69 Qualicum

Inquiry Team Members: Dallas Phillips:, Lori Marshall:, Jennifer Lunny:, Tanya Gardner:, Jolin Meier:, Mallory Chester:, Tannis Trevor-Smith:, Haley Finch:, Angela Davidson:

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: 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), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), First Peoples Principles of Learning, Indigenous pedagogy, Inquiry-based learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning, Transitions, Universal design for learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How does KSS, as a learning community, create opportunities for equity that foster a sense of belonging for all? Focus: Grade 8 and 9 Belonging and Community; Grade 10-12 Grade and Grad Transitions.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: This year, we met as a team and determined that we needed to focus on interviewing the Indigenous learners through a focused interview process. We also realized that our staff belonging and culture collaboration group was surveying the general student population, so we asked them to include questions specific to our inquiry as well. During this time, we also had staff work through the process of identifying exactly what they were doing in their classes to work towards answering the TRC’s Calls to Action. Specifically, how were they embedding Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and the FPPL, into their pedagogy and classrooms?

Focus: Analyzing the data from our scanning process reinforced the decision to continue with the Indigenous learner’s interviews, school-wide interviews, increased cultural representations, and grade-focused inquiries. Our intention was to increase our students’ sense of belonging and to continue working towards a culture that honours and recognizes historical truth and Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Hunch: Throughout the scanning phase, we had the following hunches: Indigenous learners are missing out on some opportunities and connections, learners are not feeling as connected after COVID years, SEL is an area that needs to be addressed – particularly identity and mental health, attendance can relate to engagement, increasing Indigenous awareness needs to happen through physical and curricular representation.

New Professional Learning: Members of our transition group attended a variety of symposiums and conferences: Alt Ed, NOIIE, BCPVPA, BC CAISE, BCSSA, and FNESC. In particular, our school community has been focused on equity and Cale Birk’s Observable Impact work.

Taking Action: The Indigenous liaisons interviewed Indigenous learners. The questions that were asked were the following: Where are you from (Indigenous ancestry); What are your passions and interests; How is the school year going (Are you connected? Who are the people that make up your support network? How do you find schoolwork?); What goals and dreams do you have for your future (Tell me the biggest ones, even if they feel out of reach); Is there anything that you’d like to learn more about related to your Indigenous heritage; What are the barriers in your life that make it hard to do the things that you want; and, How can the school help you?

We continued with our curricular grade focus: grade 8’s completing an identity Heritage Project focused on identity, grade 9’s focusing on land and place-based consciousness in the curricular areas of math and science, grade 10’s all taking EFP10 and focusing on intentionally embedding language into their lesson design, and grades 11 and 12 focusing on increasing cultural awareness. All of these actions are intended to increase grade transitions.

Our students were encouraged to understand the impacts of residential schools and the effects of colonialism through courses such as BCFP12.

Full school assemblies to help bring awareness of past traumas and pathways to reconciliation. 3 Crow Productions storytelling journey Qwalena sharing Dallas Yellowfly’s journey, and the May Moose Hide Campaign. Three local Qualicum First Nations men shared their stories and encouraged students to stand up against violence and honour their identities.

A physical representation of TRC’s Calls to Action through banners and Project of Heart display.

Our staff collaboration group completed a student survey focused on belonging:

We participated in specialized ‘days’; however, we shared the message that these ideas need to be embedded into our whole year.

We added a Hul’qumi’num word of the day and land acknowledgement into the morning announcements.

Photo description: (Top) Project of Heart display. (Bottom) Red dress display.


  • Grade 8 – students enjoyed sharing the heritage project and indicated they learned a lot about their own families. They did say they would like to do something other than a heritage project as many had done something similar in an earlier grade.
  • Grade 9 – we have limited data as to how successful, and how much, teachers focused on local land in their classes. We have more directed work to do here.
  • Grade 10 – We had good success with our EFP 10 class this year, where every grade 10 student took this class. The feedback from students and teachers was positive. We hope to strengthen the resources and opportunities for students next year.
  • Grade 11/12 – our teachers continue to use the FPP of learning in many curricular areas. Our students are encouraged to understand the impacts of residential schools and the effects of colonialism through courses such as First Nations 12. We also had full school assemblies to help bring awareness of past traumas and pathways to reconciliation.
  • We had 4 out of 12 students show up for the Indigenous graduation ceremony. One of the local families had a member of their family graduate – the first in 10 years. Stronger family connections have been noticed by the Indigenous liaisons.

Reflections/Advice: For next year, we would like to come up with a few small initiatives that staff can be more directly involved with. We think it is important to notice, name and nurture these smaller things done in a school community – small actions can make a big difference. We also want to increase the data that we collect from our students and teachers so that we can monitor the progress/impact that this inquiry is having on our school. For the Indigenous learner interviews, we are going to add a Google form to collect the information to make the data more visible.