School Name: Roosevelt Park Elementary
School District: SD#52 Prince Rupert
Inquiry Team Members: Maggie Rebalski – email@example.com
Lauren Neiser – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina Demings – email@example.com
James Zlatanov – firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Career Education, Social Studies, Other: Cross-curricular, whole school, core competencies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Indigenous pedagogy, Inquiry-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, Transitions, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can we make a school-wide positive behaviour reinforcement program that coincides with the core competencies? Is it possible to integrate Indigenous perspectives into this program?
Scanning: We used the 4 key questions as inspiration for the program. It was all about connecting with our students and focusing on their strengths. We noticed our school had high behavioural and social/emotional needs, and wanted to create a program that focused on the strengths of our diverse students to shift the culture away from focusing on deficits. There were individual class behaviour programs already running, but we wanted to create a program that unified the entire school, especially with our dual-stream French and English programs.
Focus: We noticed that there was a lack of consistency in the language we used to talk about values/core competencies. Our school is half French and half English, and is consistent with our school district where the population of our school is about 60% Indigenous students.
Hunch: We noticed a divide between the two streams in our school. Due to a high volume of behavioural needs in the school, we had a hunch that if we develop some sort of common language and structure to reward and recognize positive behaviour (without separating the school body into streams or grades in any way), it could unify the school and shift the language and culture of school in a positive way and bring a sense of togetherness.
New Professional Learning: We used our Aboriginal Education Department colleagues to analyze a resource we were planning on using – “The Six Cedar Trees” by Margot Landahl. This turned into its own inquiry where we learned about how to choose authentic resources and had important conversations about Ts’msyen culture. We discovered that this resource was inauthentic and irrelevant to the local territory. Therefore, we considered some of the concepts in the resource, but adapted it to be more culturally appropriate. The learning continues and we are looking for more ways to continue our learning around authentic resources and representation in collaboration with the Aboriginal Education Department.
Taking Action: All teachers and EAs will have a stack of cedar slips. When you see a student (any student) exhibiting any of the following competencies – Respect, Self-Reflection, Creative Thinking, Perseverance, Collaboration, or Communication – you write their name and sign the slip. The student then puts the slip in a box in their classroom. At the end of the month, Cedar Slips from all classrooms are brought to the monthly assembly, where 5-10 slips will be drawn for prizes provided by administration. Cedar slips are being given out in classrooms by teachers and support staff, and are going over great with the students.
Every month, each teacher may choose 3 students to receive a Cedar Award. Awards given will fall under one of the 6 core competencies – Creative Thinking, Perseverance, Collaboration, Self-Reflection, Communication, or Respect.
Instead of awards being given out class by class, students will be called up as based on the merit they are being awarded for – this way, students from different classes will come up and stand together as a group to receive their certificate. We started giving out Cedar Awards at the November monthly assembly, and assemblies have been running smoothly with noticeable student engagement and pride.
Pictures of students receiving awards for each merit are posted on the Cedar Awards bulletin each month.
Merit of the Month – each month we are focusing on one merit, which is presented at the assembly at the start of the month, announced in announcements, the school newsletter, and worked on in class – this allows students to learn more about what each word means in more depth.
Checking: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we weren’t able to see our program to the end of the year. It will be ongoing next year and we’ve made it part of the school plan to continue in years to come.
Reflections/Advice: Judging from the response we saw from teachers and students, we believe this program was beneficial and will continue to grow. To other schools, we would offer that focusing on positive reinforcement and the strengths that you inevitably have within the students at your school, is a strong way to bring the community together.