William Watson Elementary SD#36 Surrey

School Name: William Watson Elementary

School District: SD#36 Surrey

Inquiry Team Members:Anne Smith; smith_a@surreyschools.ca, syms_c@surreyschools.ca, orth_c@surreyschools.ca, skinner_n@surreyschools.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Email: wood_h@surreyschools.ca

Type of Inquiry: AESN (focus on Indigenous learners or Indigenous understandings)

Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)

Curricular Area(s): Other: cross curriculuar

Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Land, Nature or Place-based learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus for the year was to begin a journey in becoming more knowledgeable about Aboriginal Education, protocols, while incorporating outdoor education

Scanning: We have had discussions regarding about what “success” looks like in our context and began having informal question sessions with the students asking then who, at the school, believes in them. This anecdotal information along with our MDI shows that, in this regard, William Watson students have many adults around them that believe they will be a success at school.

We know that allowing students to take charge of their learning empowers them to make the learning meaningful (self-pacing, ownership) thus each member of our group took control of their own learning while collaborating and supporting each other’s’ learning.

We are doing very well, and can demonstrate growth in our understanding of Aboriginal knowledge. We have undertaken a number of Aboriginal inquiry opportunities such as Professional Development opportunities, First Peoples in Residence Week, Orange Shirt Day, incorporated Aboriginal components to our Remembrance Day assembly, to name a few. The monthly newsletter to parents also has a front page component specific to ABEd in our community. Mrs. Smith opens each assembly in Kwakwakawak and at assemblies has shared her knowledge of the importance of preserving language and culture. We are also about to complete the final aspects of creating Aboriginal our Aboriginal Inquiry Bins

Focus: We selected this area of learning as William Watson is a “low numbers” school and has only 11 Aboriginal Students. Traditionally it has had limited Aboriginal presentations, or support. We are working towards become more self-sufficient in this area. By exploring Aboriginal education, we can develop a better understanding of ourselves.

Hunch: Some of the deeply held beliefs and assumptions that are held at William Watson is that because we are a low number school we don’t get Aboriginal support. We know this to be untrue, now, and are working with AbEd to bring in support and be more self-sufficient in this area. We are looking to celebrate what is right, and use our energy to fix what we know is wrong.

New Professional Learning: Hosted a Professional Development Day at our school of helping teachers from our district with a focus on Aboriginal Inquiry and Aboriginal resources

Taking Action: Professional Development, purchased specific resources (books, and technology), included AbEd in newsletters to parents and staff, invited ISPARC to our school twice, and arranged for our students to join AbEd activities at other schools.

Checking: We believe we have a movement of learning that has begun and is sustainable. It is beginning to take shape and grow and that we are in a better starting place for next year than at the beginning of this year.

Reflections/Advice: We believe that we should have made arrangements to purchase the supplies for the bins earlier in the year, however we are aware that we weren’t idly waiting; we have been busy with our inquiry none-the-less. We have more knowledge than we did this time last year, and look forward to continuing to learn from each other, and our Aboriginal Department.

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