School Name: Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay Secondary
School District: SD#50 Haida Gwaii
Inquiry Team Members:Derek Seifert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernadette Marie: email@example.com
Christine Cunningham: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: AESN Transitions (focus on Indigenous learner transitions)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Other: Transitions Inquiries applied to many curricular areas.
Focus Addressed: Transitions
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Making connections between learning outside the classroom and inside the classroom, connecting to areas of strength and interest to foster engagement in a variety of pursuits, including academic.
Scanning: Relationship focus has led to a positive school climate, but engagement in school is still a challenge. We try to link what students do outside of school to learning inside school, but what we don’t see is a willingness in students to take the extra step and write about the fishing trip. What is most important to our team is trying to find a way to get students to take that extra step and develop skills in areas that are not already strengths.
Focus: We live in a small town, and in some cases students know what they plan to do with their future, and they don’t have the desire to do work that they don’t find relevant. We are hoping to connect those areas in which they do have enthusiasm, to related academic content, to foster a more engaged mindset.
Hunch: We have programs that take students outside, our athletics department is growing, but we still feel handcuffed to the four block rotation.
New Professional Learning: Two team members were in new positions so one explored the LRT role and how collaboration with classroom teachers can be used to provide experiences for students that lead to engagement and success. The other transitioning team member took on the athletics department and focused on healthy pursuits and how physical health contributes to mental well being, and ties to academic pursuits. The third member was our principal who scheduled multi-grade electives to encourage role modelling and opportunities for interactions with different students.
Trauma has also played a big role in our work this year. We have a high number of students who have experienced trauma, and we have really been making an effort to support these students, and to focus on social/emotional wellbeing as a precursor for students to be classroom ready.
The most helpful resources were colleagues who were open to collaboration.
Taking Action: We increased the number of sports/activities available, with a focus on individual sports, both to demonstrate that you are your focus, and also because we don’t always have numbers for teams. We did have a junior team for the first time in a long time, and hope that the idea of growing together creates a support network.
We attempted to use an already established program with a twist – COASt (Cultural/Outdoor/Alternative Studies) more often, with smaller targeted groups. Here we learned that if it is not an established expectation, not on the calendar already, it can be difficult to find the time and personnel required.
Mixed grade electives brought a welcome relief from being in class with the same people all the time. These classes allowed for people to mix, who would not have in the past, and gave seniors a chance to take leadership roles.
Checking: If we were satisfied we would be in the wrong profession. We have plans in place for improvement next year. There is some complication in pursuing a transitions inquiry when you are in transition yourself, you need some time to adapt too.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that we keep critiquing what we do to make it better. We learned that collaborative relationships are not always easy; value the ones you have. We learned that focusing on an inquiry when you are in a new role is a challenge. I would suggest that those in new roles not take the lead on an inquiry. Get to know your new position first.