Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

6.2.01 Inquiries involving Social Responsibility Performance Standards, social emotional learning, building relationships and purposeful connections to the Aboriginal community

2009-2010

Canyon Lister Elementary, Kootenay Lake. Will the inclusion of local/national Aboriginal Role Models enhance students pride in their own heritage? Importance of increasing awareness of Aboriginal culture within the school – results – a growth from 40 to 60% in students identifying positive feelings about their Aboriginal ancestry

Glenview Elementary School, Prince George. Will researching our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student heritage without grade one and two students create an awareness, pride and strong identity for students? Improve the sense of connectedness to place, self and Aboriginal community – According to Social Responsibility scale findings self respect was increased

Hartley Bay School, Prince Rupert. Will utilizing traditional Tsimshian methods of teaching, within the school setting, result in greater student engagement and subsequent academic and personal growth? Using AFL strategies students became learning/teaching resources for each other, based on traditional Tsimshian teaching/learning methods – results – involvement and engagement of students was higher during lessons using traditional teaching methods – in Fall participation in DPA was 38%, Spring 100%

Heritage Park Secondary, Mission. Will using fiction, non-fiction, media and guest speakers in socials studies classrooms enhance students’ understanding of Aboriginal culture and issues facing Aboriginal people today? Introduction of an Aboriginal alder to explain traditional Native Life Cycle and discuss current issues – results- significant improvement in knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal culture by grade 10

Kinnard Elementary, Kootenay. During the grade 3 Science Unit on plants, will featuring the contributions made by the First Nations People in the use of Indigenous flora and fauna improve the appreciation of Aboriginal culture in our community? Members of the Aboriginal community shared knowledge of traditional uses- results – school made an increased effort to integrate Aboriginal knowledge and history into curriculum

Lillooet Secondary School, Gold Trail. Will visiting local bands for a graduation information session and meal encourage parents to feel more comfortable in visiting the secondary school during parent/teacher conferences? Use of criteria for success, students and parents understood how to plan for graduation – results 97% of parents and community members indicated visits were of value

Nala’atsi School, Comox Valley. What will be the effect on the Nala’atsi students’ attendance if they plan an active role in the creation of the Indigenous Food and Plant project with 20 members from the Comox Valley Aboriginal Community? use of AFL – results – students attendance increased from 40% to 76% – positive comments from students and guests

Randerson Ridge Elementary School, Nanaimo Ladysmith. Will the development and implementation of Aboriginal picture book lesson sequences, support students connecting classroom and family values to Aboriginal values, with the intent to strengthen a foundation of a community of learners within our classrooms and community? Use of literature students focused on how to apply the West coast Aboriginal values to their classroom vision of a community of learners and improved their levels of social responsibility – results common language and explicit teaching of values and code

Skaha Lake Middle School, Okanagan. As Aboriginal students experience an increased sense of belonging and cultural identity at our school, will we see improved academic achievement and student attendance? A Penticton Aboriginal Elder comes to Skaha Lake four times a week for four hours each day to work with Aboriginal youth in classrooms – results – Indigenous understandings embedded in daily routines

WL Seaton Secondary, Vernon. Will a focus question centering on the successful strategies of Aboriginal students completing their grade twelve year help gather data to direct a systems change that will have a positive impact on the academic success rate of Aboriginal students in grade 8 – 12? Adults in school worked to improve school and learning experiences for Aboriginal students – staff moved forward by learning the importance of communication and contact with the Aboriginal community, inviting them into classrooms to participate and contribute whenever possible

Dr. D.A. Perley, Boundary. Will the inclusion of daily physical activity and a healthy snack offered to Aboriginal students being tutored in an after school program improve their reading and writing performance scores as determined by The SMART reads and writes in the Fall and Spring? Tutors work with students on a daily basis for 40 minutes after the regular school day – results – Aboriginal elders will be invited in to support the students during tutoring sessions

2010-2011

Fairview Community, Nanaimo-Ladysmith. How does learning about Aboriginal perspectives in a collaborative inquiry based environment affect our Fairview Community attitudes towards Aboriginal peoples? AFL strategies focus on technology, environment, culture and governance, cross grade learning – results – in winter knowledge of Aboriginal Peoples History was 25% not meeting – in spring 3% was not meeting, no interest in learning was 24% had no interest in learning 3% no interest in spring

Glenview Elementary, Prince George. How can we create a sense of connectedness in learning, belonging and social emotional health for our Aboriginal students? Oral stories told by Elders, shard Aboriginal craft stories and drumming and dancing, students used Skype to communicate learning with other students. Elders led daily classroom learning – results – students showed significant improvement on the Social Responsibility performance standards around valuing diversity and defending human rights

Hartley Bay School, Prince Rupert. When using traditional First Nations methods of teaching and learning, will providing opportunities for students to teach their skills to others have a positive academic, social and personal impact upon achievement levels? This focused on using students as peer coaches, practicing learning in traditional ways in order raise self efficacy – results – change from 11.1% absences in to10 to 7.85% absences in 2011

Hatzic Elementary, Mission. Will researching the 100 year old history of Aboriginal peoples and/or Aboriginal education in Hatzic help to increase students’ sense of belonging and pride in their Aboriginal culture when they showcase these findings at the centennial celebration? Elders were an important part of the inquiry as staff wanted celebration to be respectful, informed and guided by the wishes of the elders and current Aboriginal families – increased learning about Aboriginal traditional ways – results – students showed a definite improvement in their attitudes towards traditional ways and showed they wanted to learn more about their culture

Kitwanga Elementary Coast Mountain. Will the integration of traditional Gitksan and First Nationas resources and activities across curriculum areas result in an improvement in the social responsibility and self-regulation of students? Students were learning/teaching resources alongside of Elders and members of the Aboriginal community – the Gitksan way is learning by being watchful – students demonstrated an improvement in Social Responsibility scales in K,2,4,5, and 7.

Nala’atsi, Comox Valley. Will combining a mask making project with Who A I storytelling deepen the involvement of the Aboriginal participants and improve the Nala’atsi students’ attendance? Members from the Aboriginal community met with students once or twice a week and worked on projects that promoted cultural awareness- result – students attendance increased, interest in educators sharing project in district

WL McLeod Elementary, Nechako Lakes. Will learning about Aboriginal culture help students to gain a better understanding of social and political injustices in relation to First Nations people in Canada? focus on social justice issues as they relate to First Nations – letter writing campaign to Chief Jackie Thomas – results – staff became more aware of underlying racial prejudices that exist in the outlying community of Vanderhoof

2011-2012

George M. Dawson, Haida Gwaii. How do informal learning activities containing multidisciplinary content and taking advantage of local places impact relationships and learning? Connecting learning to a variety of local events – students defending a way of life that is threatened by government and oil money – results – students added their voices to the Joint Review panel on the proposed Enbridge pipeline

Glenview Elementary, Prince George. How will deepening student understanding of local Indigenous knowledge, people and history increase student awareness and improve academic achievement of our Aboriginal students? Nurturing relationships with Aboriginal students, families and Elders through the sharing of Indigenous knowledge and teaching by the elders – results – student responses were sincere, honest and evident of growth in terms of their understandings and Elders expressed that they fell respected and valued

Grand Forks, Boundary. Will the development of an activity based lunch time program led by elders within our community improve the Aboriginal graduation rate for 2012? Elders and artists from the Aboriginal community visited the school and interacted regularly with students to create artifacts – results – graduation rate improved from 85 to 93%

Kitwanga, Coast Mountains. Will 90% of our student be meeting or exceeding expectations in Social Responsibility by the final term when traditional season Gitksan practices are taught to help all students understand the cultural rhythm of the year in a meaningful way? Elders were invited into the school and worked side-by-side with the language and culture teacher to plan circle story telling, learning, and integrating traditional activities – results – there was a decreased performance in social responsibility – it went from 24% not meeting to 34% not meeting

Nala’ats Comox. Same question as previous year

Pleasant Valley Elementary, Nanaimo Ladysmith. Will the inclusion of Aboriginal content, culture, and perspective in school-based activities increase a sense of belonging for Aboriginal students and their families at Pleasant Valley School? Will the presence of Aboriginal culture, language, and perspective in the whole school setting increase Aboriginal awareness amongst all students? led by Elder Jerry Brown – students participated in four clan groups – worked with VIU students and local author – results moved from DART not yet meeting 69% in the Fall to 35% not yet meeting in the spring. School Wide Write 41% not yet meeting to 11% not yet meeting

Spencer Middle, Sooke. What will increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal ways of knowing throughout the school? Students participated in an exploratory block of Aboriginal Studies that all students in grade 7 attended. Students participated in learning traditional ways, historical perspectives and understandings – results- before participating in the exploratory course 47/114 students rated themselves as emerging and afterward 2 were rated as emerging. Staff view this class as an invaluable tool to move learning deeper

Thornhill Elementary, Coast Mountains School. To what extent can classroom teachers embed Aboriginal learning into day-to-day curricular, rather than having learning about Aboriginal World Views as an event? Strong first Nations involvement with Elders and community members providing support for classroom teachers – results – students moved from 45% approaching exercising democratic rights and responsibilities in the Fall to 5% approaching in the Spring