School Name: Sea to Sky Alternative School, Outreach and Northern Outreach Program
School District: SD#48 Sea to Sky
Inquiry Team Members:Larissa Parker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Dontas: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: AESN (focus on Indigenous learners or Indigenous understandings)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, Flexible learning, Indigenous pedagogy
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To determine if building longboards/skateboards would contribute at-risk student attendance and engagement in the core competencies.
Scanning: We noticed students having common history of a lacking personal connection with school staff or positive, meaningful experiences related to the school environment. With students we discussed barriers to their attendance and a common theme was that the wanted to make something they could claim as their own.
Focus: We selected this area because we have a high number of at-risk learners that struggle with attendance to our programs and we were looking for a hands-on project that would provide incentive for students to attend. Our intention was to provide an engaging project for students that they could work on at their own pace, on their own schedule, while spending time with instructors in an environment that fostered communication. Our hope was that by finding success in building a hands-on project and developing relationships with staff and fellow peers, students would improve their attendance and commitment to completing their academic courses.
Hunch: Large class sizes at previous schools limited the ability of teachers to make meaningful connections. Lack of a culturally relevant environment and lessons for our Indigenous learners. Lack of projects that students find personally meaningful.
New Professional Learning: How to build longboards. The company where we purchased the boards from (RoarRocket) had lots of tutorials.
Taking Action: We chose to have students complete the boards at their pace and ensured that we fostered a casual environment where conversations could take place. We encouraged the students to create their own design to paint on the bottom of the boards.
Checking: All of the students finished a board and ended up being very satisfied with the experience. As staff we were able to have meaningful conversations with students and develop relationships that contributed to students being more connected. Students shared that they enjoyed the project and felt like school had more meaning to them. They also enjoyed being able to talk to teachers and peers in a relaxed setting.
Reflections/Advice: We noticed that students found joy and satisfaction of working with their hands on a project which they could take home and use. We did have improved attendance and staff connection with most students. Overall we were very satisfied with the project. In the future we would like to include things such as presenting a history of skateboarding, connecting with local skate shops for visiting discussions, and group rides. We received positive feedback from students primarily around having an authentic educational experience. We would highly recommend this project and would suggest having students do some fundraising for their wheels and trucks.