School Name: Bert Bowes Middle School, Dr. Kearney Middle School, North Peace Secondary School, North Peace Secondary School – Energetic Learning Campus
School District: SD#60 Peace River North
Inquiry Team Members: Melanie Carew: firstname.lastname@example.org, Erin Gotzke: email@example.com, Amanda Cote: firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah Elson-Haugan: email@example.com, Carmen Davies: firstname.lastname@example.org, Barb Mather: email@example.com, Crystal Anielewicz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Transitions (focus on Indigenous learner transitions)
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics / Numeracy, Science, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Formative assessment, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Indigenous pedagogy, Inquiry-based learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, STEM / STEAM, Transitions, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus for this year was to enhance transition success through more extensive connection with the high school transition team at the middle school level.
Scanning: We are continuing to use Learning Journeys (self-reflection questions) to help us navigate students’ learning in needs. The four key questions are embedded right in the journeys. Relationships continue to be a key aspect for our learners. It takes time to build trust with adults in a school and once that trust is forged, many students are more willing to learn and take risks with their learning.
Focus: We have been working on high school transitions for the past several years; however, our team wanted to start the transition process earlier and from the middle school level. We hoped that if the high school transition coaches (teachers) and Indigenous Youth Care workers were able to regularly start visiting our middle school students during their Indigenous Student Support classes after Spring Break, we would notice a smoother transition for our Grade 9 students entering into Grade 10 in the fall. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, only one visit was made.
Hunch: Our transition coaches at Bert Bowes and North Peace Secondary were regularly in communication regarding student needs once they transitioned to high school. We were finding that the middle school coach was spending a lot of time working on transition difficulties with students after they had started high school in Grade 10. We thought that if students started to build a connection with their future coaches before their transition started, it would result in a smoother transition in the fall.
New Professional Learning: We used different professional resources to connect with the classroom, such as The Decision Playbook by Lea Failing, Robin Gregory, Graham Long, and Brooke Moore. By using data collection, we hoped to learn more about students’ strengths and stretches well in advance of transitioning to Grade 10. We also anticipated that the responses within the Learning Journey would be more evolved with this new approach to transitions. Due to COVID-19, not all Grade 9 Learning Journeys were completed.
Taking Action: Our team decided that the middle school coach would continue to come to the students’ high school campus in the fall to assist in a smoother transition. We see the importance of the Learning Journeys, therefore we will continue to work on them with students until they are completed. We anticipate that answers will look slightly different than we originally expected under our current circumstances.
Checking: Due to COVID-19, our team feels that we have not accomplished what we had hoped for, and are still in the Taking Action portion of the Spiral of Inquiry. We will continue with this current transition inquiry into the next school year.
Reflections/Advice: We plan to continue to work on this current inquiry in hopes that we see a lasting effect. Our goal is to see smoother and more successful transitions from middle school to high school, for our Indigenous students.