School Name: Ladysmith secondary school
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members:William Taylor: firstname.lastname@example.org, yutustanaat (Mandy Jones): email@example.com, Brenda Kohlruss: firstname.lastname@example.org, Dave Travers: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Oral Language, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Indigenous pedagogy, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How to connect students to Elders in our community.
Scanning: The First Peoples Principle that we looked at was finding ways to support the learner self, the family and the community. Our school has many First Nations students and we want to create a welcoming space for students, their families and our Stzuminus community. We also recognize that Elders have wisdom and teachings that our First Nations and non First Nations students can learn from.
Focus: We are all on a path to Reconciliation and one of the steps on the journey is to be welcoming and to provide opportunities to have healing between schools and First Nation Families. Our learners also need to see the value in Elders so that barriers are being eroded. We also honoured the syeyutsus framework that our district 68 adopted this year.
Hunch: Our hunch is that if we go to where the Elders are and bring our students and show that we value Elders then when we invite them to our school they will be more likely to accept our invitation.
New Professional Learning: We are rich in First Nations resources you just need to look around your community to find them. Our resources were our local chief, and elders. We learned how to respectfully connect with them. In some cases it meant going to where they lived and listen. Our Land and Language classes demonstrated to our other classes that bringing students in touch with Elders is possible and valuable.
Taking Action: Our Land and Language based learning class immersed themselves in Coast Salish practices. They learned about First Peoples culture and learned langauge. This group of students visited burieal sites and local Indigenous islands to hear from Elders and to learn their ways. Going to them was the first step. The students with this knowledge were then amabasadors for the school when Elders visited the school. Our school hosted a district wide reconcilation event, a celebration of language, Welcome Figure celebration and Northern games events. In all events Elders or our Chief were involved.
Checking: We made our builiding more welcoming. When you enter our school our Foyer is rich in Coast Salish cultural artifacts. We have heard through our language teacher, yutustanaat, that when she visits Elders THEY ask when they might next be able to come to our school.
Reflections/Advice: Our experience is like the pebble being dropped in the water. Are actions are now rippling to other classes. By approaching the work with an open heart and mind (uy shqwalawun) we were able to listen to Elders and follow their teaching. Our advice is build relationships and be vulnerable by taking chances.