Stride Avenue Community School SD#41 Burnaby

I. General Information

School Name: Stride Avenue Community School

School District: SD#41 Burnaby

Inquiry Team Members:

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Stephane Lundrigan/

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Applied Design, skills & Technology
  • Language Arts – Literacy
  • Mathematics / Numeracy
  • Social Studies

Focus Addressed:

  • Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation)
  • Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
  • Experiential learning
  • First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • Growth mindset
  • Indigenous pedagogy
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Land, Nature or Place-based learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Universal design for learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Supporting self-regulation (emotional regulation and engagement) through place-based learning with a particular emphasis on reciprocity.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: Our Inquiry did not really start this year until late January, as I was on a medical leave previous to this. The original plan was to continue with our original Inquiry (of forest exploration/reciprocity with the added element of our music teacher’s goal to create individual Land Acknowledgements incorporating sounds from nature); however, it felt difficult to build momentum in meaningful ways. Classes were involved in weekly forest explorations, but they did not have the focus that was originally intended in the Inquiry that was submitted in December. Additionally, Covid restrictions up to Spring Break meant other adults were discouraged from taking part in these outings.

Our almost constant Scanning was telling us that something unusual was happening for our learners. They were off – inattentive, arguing with adults, arguing with each other to the point of often physical altercations, and lots of emotional dysregulation. We were also aware that we were not addressing the literacy and numeracy challenges that were being experienced by many of our Indigenous students (as outlined in our December Inquiry submission).

We decided to create a two week Makerspace after spring break which would launch the process of turning our former computer lab into a dedicated ADST room for everyday use. It is our belief that the ADST curriculum does a beautiful job of addressing the OECD Seven Principles of Learning, as well as many of the First Peoples Principles. It builds student engagement and motivates them to work through less pleasant tasks knowing that the opportunity to create is ahead. (The OECD horizontal connections are truly an enriching element – because we have a limited budget and access to supplies, we contacted our nearby secondary school for their wood scraps – this gave us the opportunity to take some of our more dysregulated, unengaged students with us to the high school to pick up the wood and show them all of the amazing equipment and opportunities that are waiting for them in grade 8).

Focus: Using the ADST curriculum/creating a Makerspace provided a sound vehicle for increasing student engagement and re-establishing orientation toward adults and not peers. The change we were hoping for was increased social emotional regulation in a variety of ways.

Hunch: Some of my hunches about the increased lack of engagement and acting out behaviours (including severe peer orientation of some students) are that they are unintended consequences of the pandemic. We frequently hear that students’ mental health is of great concern but there is little or no support being put in place. In fact, our district has continued its second year of considerable budget cuts.

New Professional Learning: We had originally started exploring the ADST curriculum as a whole school in March of 2020 just before the pandemic started. One of the resources that we had used at that time has since undergone significant revisions and may now even be a course –
I think the biggest area of professional growth for our staff would be seeing evidence of the OECD Seven Principles. Student engagement is so strong in all aspects of the design process and the OECD seven principles are addressed so well.

Taking Action: In hindsight, I think that both the Forest Explorations, as well as the increased focus on the ADST curriculum, are providing more of what students need at this point in time. Both practices align so well with the OECD Seven Principals, as well as the First Peoples Principles. It is the student-centred, experiential learning that recognizes individual differences and provides stretches for each learner that make these two learning opportunities effective. A frequent comment from teachers (I think) are that they feel overworked and exhausted, and are stressed by the diversity in their classrooms. Providing opportunities such as these may help remove some of these concerns.

Checking: Providing learning activities that were student-centred, hands-on, social, accessible by all learners and involved individual creativity and movement, did make some difference in engaging learners and re-orienting them to the school setting. They are not enough. These types of learning must continue.

I am satisfied that we might be on the right track but there is much work yet to do, and it is going to require the staff to work together. I believe we need to be more intentional about asking the learners the four questions at the start of the new school year (the new cycle of the scanning phase), examining the responses carefully and planning accordingly.

Reflections/Advice: The value of following the OECD Seven Principles, as well the First Peoples Principles, are outstanding. By implementing learning activities guided by these principles, learners will feel supported and engaged. We will begin next year by planning our ‘first week back’ activities with these principles in mind to, among other things, remind staff of the importance of these principles. This will also be an important time to start a new scan including asking our students the four questions in a way that provides data to plan the year with. We plan to continue using the ADST curriculum as a vehicle to provide authentic learning opportunities to build literacy and numeracy skills to students who are identified as having stretches in one or both of these areas.

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