School Name: Brooklyn Elementary
School District: SD#71 Comox Valley
Inquiry Team Members:Lucinda Wolters: Lucinda.firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrea Cochrane: Andrea.Cochrane@sd71.bc.ca, Marcia Green: Marcia.Green@sd71.bc.ca, Jacquie Devine: Jacquie.email@example.com, Val Roberts: Val.firstname.lastname@example.org, Lucy Nelson: Lucy.email@example.com, Sarah Heselgrave: Sarah.Heselgrave@sd71.bc.ca, Daniel Ackerman: Daniel.Ackerman@sd71.bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: Lucinda.Wolters@sd71.bc.ca
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Other: Core Competency: Communication and Personal/Social Responsibility
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How might the use of structured, learner centered conversations with parents, teachers and students, through celebration of learning events, improve how we all communicate about and understand student learning and contribute to a positive school culture?
Scanning: As we begin using the new proficiency scale language from the ministry, we are also looking at ways to improve communication skills and learner engagement between students, with teachers and with parents.
Initial completion of the three learner questions with a few classes indicate that we have needs in building connections/relationships between teachers, parents and students, building learner ownership and providing explicit instruction on how to reflect on learning. In addition, we are at a crossroads with a shift in our student population and increasing needs of our learners. We have had an influx of students requiring behavioural support which is our school culture.
Focus: Initially, teachers were interested in using the new proficiency language and engaging parents and students in understanding the new continuum. However, the bigger context for us at Brooklyn is that we identified a significant need for improving student engagement and sense of belonging, and improving shared decision making among staff. Furthermore, we acknowledged that involving parents in learning conversations with their children was necessary to engage both parents and students in improving communication competencies as they relate to learning.
Hunch: There is a significant concern regarding what is happening at our school and we need to re-assess our collective decision making and unify our approaches with the needs of our learners as central. There is a need to address our fears about our students and adjust our classroom practices to be responsive to who our students are and what we are capable of doing together.
New Professional Learning: As a professional team of teachers, we wanted to improve learner-centered conversations with students and their parents to build a positive school culture. We explored how we can help our students identify their areas of success and next steps in a relevant, reflective, empowered way.
Taking Action: We engaged in several rich conversations about how to support our students to be able to talk about their learning in a meaningful way. The conversations revealed a need to clarify what we felt was important for students to learn in connection to our core competencies. We also wanted students to have a better understanding of our new proficiency scale language and each class was invited to facilitate a lesson on the meaning of emerging, developing, proficient and extending. Students drew pictures to demonstrate their understanding of the language. We made use of the language in all areas of our teaching to support students to be able to reflect on their learning. We decided to host a celebration of learning event as a trial, to engaged students and parents in conversations about their learning. It was an overwhelming success. Kids were exceptionally enthusiastic about co-constructing the event and engaging in the conversation. They exhibited pride and enthusiasm in their successes and talked about their next steps. Nine classes out of 15 chose to participate.
Checking: We were very enthusiastic about the response the parents and students exhibited. Many parents expressed their appreciation. Most parents (Roughly 95%) attended. We also invited other teachers to participate who were not part of this inquiry. A few teachers joined in.
Reflections/Advice: We learned the importance of involving our parents in creating purposeful engagement with their children. The kids were “on fire” to share their learning and increased their engagement in how their learning was going. We will be adjusting our parent teacher conferences next year to continue to build on our successes. Parents are powerful partners on the road to meaningful student engagement.