I. General Information
School Name: South Delta Secondary School
School District: SD#37 Delta
Inquiry Team Members: Katrina Branden: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kimberley Hlina: email@example.com, Irina Hunt: firstname.lastname@example.org, Lauren Neufeld: email@example.com, Geralie Oba-Underwood: firstname.lastname@example.org, Linneah Soderholm-Martell: email@example.com, Luce Turgeon: firstname.lastname@example.org, Sean Waymouth: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
II. Inquiry Project Information
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Areas Addressed: Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Physical & Health Education, Science, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? With a focus on Social Emotional Learning, how can we help our students feel connected and supported during a global pandemic through the 4 R’s of the Longhouse?
III. Spirals of Inquiry Details
Scanning: In scanning our students from a variety of subject areas (English, Fine Arts, French, Science, Social Studies), our group gained deeper insight into our learners’ learning needs. We found that our learners needed supports that focused on their social and emotional needs before learning could take place. Due in large part to the global pandemic, our students have experienced many stresses that have greatly impacted their learning and ability to learn. For example, our students have been expected to adapt to learning virtually, adjust to a quarter system and currently pivot to a semester system. The numerous changes within our learners’ lives have led us to focus on the social and emotional learning of our students as they navigate not only an ever-changing educational environment, but a very unstable time in the world where social distancing is necessary.
Focus: Our focus area is centered on Social and Emotional Learning, where we hope to help our students feel more connected during a global pandemic through the 4 R’s of the Longhouse.
Hunch: Our students value connection. During a global pandemic, the connections that our students expect to experience during the school year have been limited with provincial health guidelines in place. As a staff, we would like our students to feel connected and supported despite the limitations that we must adhere to during a global pandemic.
New Professional Learning: We explored many new areas of professional learning to find ways to help our students feel connected and supported. We found guest speakers to be the most helpful way to support our learning in that these experts shared a variety of resources that could further our learning. As a result, we had numerous guest speakers throughout the year to support our learning journey as a staff. Collaboration time and learning lunches allowed us time to deepen our understanding. The following is a list of events that staff attended for the purpose of finding ways to help students feel connected and supported in our school:
Date: Nov. 24, 2021
Guest Speaker: Heidi Wood (District Indigenous Teacher Mentor Coordinator)
Topic: The Sweatlodge, Circle of Courage, and the Teachings of the Bighouse
Date: December 8, 2021
Guest Speaker: Beth Applewhite – pre-recorded presentation
Topic: “Engaging All Learners in Secondary Schools”
Date: February 23, 2022
Guest Speakers: Nathan Wilson and Heidi Wood
Topic: Land Acknowledgements
Date: March 5,11 & 26, 2022
Guest Speaker: Leonard Sumner, Elisapie and Moe Clark
Topic: UBC’s Chan Centre presents a series of Indigenous artists titled Decolonize the Chan
Date: March 9, 2022
Guest Speaker: Heidi Wood
Topic: Exploring the 4Rs of the Longhouse
Date: April 13, 2022
Guest Speaker: Dr. Carly Christensen (UBC)
Topic: Education and Indigenous Students
Date: April 27, 2022
Guest Speaker: Karen McDonald (Indigenous Success Coordinator)
Topic: “Ensouling Schools” & Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Futures of Promise?
In addition to attending these events, our inquiry group also purchased new books that cover a variety of Social Justice topics and are from perspectives of BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ authors. Moreover, we also conducted Student Success Surveys that were completed by parents, students and staff. Furthermore, we also attended Lunch & Learns as well as Wrap-up and Year-end discussions to plan for next year’s goals. As we continue in our journey of learning, we hope to learn more by inviting experts in the future to guide us.
Taking Action: Our school had six different inquiry groups that explored various topics this school year, centered on helping students feel connected and supported so that they are ready to learn. (Indigenous Education, Anti-Racism, Social Justice, Student Success, Mentorship [junior grades 8-9 with grade 4 students], Student Leadership [senior grades 10-12]). By having different inquiry groups with a common goal, our teams were able to explore topics of personal interest while working towards a team goal of student connectedness.
The strategy of having multiple inquiry groups lent itself well to getting a variety of subject areas involved. Twelve different departments/courses participated in inquiry this school year (Social Studies, English, Science, Fine Arts, Library Learning Commons, Inclusive Learning/ISSA, Language, PE, Applied Skills, CLE, LAC, ELL, Administration).
As a result, our strategy of having multiple inquiry groups also led to the greater involvement of staff. As a direct result, thirty-seven SDSS staff participated in inquiry this school year (Names of staff listed in alphabetical order): Sandra Adamson, Kajill Aujla, Kennedy Bonner, Nola Bonner, Katrina Branden, Lea Caveberry, Jenny Condonopoulos, Ricky Gill, Karina Helms, Kimberley Hlina, Richard Hortness, Anne Howlett, Irina Hunt, Erica Hurley, Tom Inkster, Brooke Jacobs, Carol Lingham, Bryan Lopez, Sachie Motohashi, Lauren Neufeld, Geralie Oba-Underwood, Afamdi Onukwulu, Emma Peckingpaugh, Jack Phillips, Scott Pike, Heather Pue, Nina Sabo, Samantha Smirfitt, Linneah Soderholm-Martell, Lauren Sortome, Karlene Spencer, Luce Turgeon, Cassidy Vandop, Julia Van Vliet, Sean Waymouth, Amber Young, Brittney Zacharuk.
Throughout the year, staff attended events to further their professional learning in finding ways to help students feel connected and supported.
Image Description: These are images that document our journey while spiralling at SDSS. Food brought us together. Following the pillars of the 4 R’s of the Longhouse which includes Respect, Relationships, Reciprocity, and Responsibility guided our reasons for practicing patience. Patience kept us grounded and focused as we spiralled. Without knowing, our intentions in our spirals were continually reflected in our District’s Vision 2030 – to inspire and nurture future ready learners who feel connected and supported.
Checking: Within each inquiry group, we witnessed the value of patience. Following the pillars of the 4 R’s of the Longhouse – which includes Respect, Relationships, Reciprocity, and Responsibility – guided our reasons for practicing patience. Patience kept us grounded and focused as we spiralled. We used patience to show Respect to our learners. We used patience to develop Relationships with our learners. We used patience to value Reciprocity, and patience to honour Responsibility.
Collectively, we found that our learners’ responses to the four questions were more detailed, honest and heartfelt compared to their initial responses. Following the pillars of the 4 R’s of the Longhouse helped keep each inquiry group focused on our common goal.
Reflections/Advice: Honouring the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Being, our different groups strived to learn with courage, patience, and humility. Our inquiries guided us in striving to become better human beings and pushed us to live with balance in body, mind, heart and spirit. Throughout our learning journey we encountered new ideas and beliefs that challenged our old ideas and beliefs. Our learning journey led to gaining perspective through reflection. As a result, with humility, we have patiently and courageously faced difficult answers to our most pressing questions. Although we are left with many more questions, our continued curiosity allows us to continue learning. Many of the inquiry groups have already committed to continuing on with deepening the spiral to ensure our students are connected and supported no matter what challenge the world faces.