Innovation in School District 10
Our small district is well-recognized for innovation in teaching and learning. There are many examples of our innovative practices in every school across the district. Here are some stories of innovations that foster student success and engagement:
SD 10 SELECTED TO PILOT NEW K-9 REPORTING POLICY
Across the district, our reporting on student learning practices have been changing to focus on more timely and responsive communication with parents and students about learning and to enhance our students’ learning.
Many elementary classes have been using FreshGrade, a digital portfolio tool to communicate with parents and incorporate student self assessment and parent comments on learning. Most school schools use deep student-led conferences with students sharing their learning with parents and teachers faciliating the preparation of student evidence of learning. Some schools are creating rich portfoilios and demonstrations of learning to share with parents.
As a result, we have been selected as one of fourteen school districts to pilot a new K-9 Reporting Policy.
What does this mean? We will use a new Proficiency Scale rather than letter grades and percentages in participating classrooms and schools. We will communicate at least four times in then school year in Points of Progress such as FreshGrade, student-led conferences and portfolios. At the end of the year, parents will receive a summative written report.
SECONDARY REVISIONING AND TRANSFORMATION
A Case for Secondary Revisioning in SD 10
The district partnered with UBC-Okanagan and Dr. Susan Crichton beginning in February 2013, to Re-Vision the Future of Small Secondary Schools. Co-creating the inaugural Small Secondary Think Tank in May 2013, SD 10 has been a core part of this provincial conversation on Secondary School Transformation ever since.
Our Think Tank team works alongside dozens of other districts each year, investigating and sharing strong practices focused on student learning as we imagine and put in place transformational secondary school innovations. Our May 2018 presentation at the Think Tank focused on creating deeper learning: Think Tank Presentation – May 2018
Many initiatives have been fostered as a result of the Think Tanks, and the process of revisioning secondary school learning continues in SD 10 as it does across BC and the world. Our schools are working to better reflect the ways student learn and the transformation needed to deal with our changing world.
- At Lucerne School,field studies have long been a core part of learning and in 2018-19, Geology field studies takes to the mountains far and near with experts in the field to inspire their learning. In addition, students create cross-disciplinary Investigations personalized for their interests in the fields of Psychology, Forensics, Biology and Social Justice with their teacher mentors.
- In the 2016-18 school years, Lucerne’s secondary program continued to change, based on learning and feedback from parents, students and staff. The school held two immersion weeks per year along with regularly scheduled and impromptu integrated curricular experiences. Rock climbing while learning math, physics and media arts? Yes. Farm to Table program harvesting produce from the school greenhouse and garden while marketing, running a business, and planning and preparing healthy lunches for the school? Yes. At Lucerne the culture is focussed on personalized learning with flexibility for relevant experiential adventures. There are also self-organized learning times embedded in the school day.
- In 2014-15, the timetable was significantly adapted to allow for 9 “immersion weeks” per year where students chose to engage in relevant, real-world learning with cross-curricular competencies embedded in experiential, place-conscious learning.
- At Nakusp Secondary School, Mondays in 2018-19 are “fun-days” and incorporate a wide range of elective options in areas of student passion and interest. Co-teaching is also gaining traction as teachers use collaborative practice and cross-disciplinary approaches to deepen student learning. Field studies in Science continue to be a highlight as students engage in rich environmental learning.
- Nakusp Secondary shifted its secondary model in 2015-16 to allow deeper learning on Mondays each week with longer periods of time to allow students to immerse in rich learning of their choice. In 2016-17, NSS incorporated Personalized Learning time embedded in the timetable and integrated Humanities courses at the Grade 8 and 9 level.
- Students and staff began four “annual X-Plore” days throughout the year in 2014-15 to captivate student passion and interests. X-Plore involves taking students into the community and afield to learn actively and experientially.
- An Outdoor Education and Entrepreneurship program at Burton Academy School involves various skill certifications for students: GSAR, First Aid, WHMIS, Traffic Control and Flagging, FoodSafe. Burton Academy School fosters close partnerships with community resources and post-secondary connections at Selkirk College while supporting students in developing business plans, products and skills in sales and marketing.
Secondary Teacher Inquiry
- Secondary teacher inquiry projects are exploring and implementing changes in assessment practices, implementation of co-teaching and planning, and other approaches to shift teaching and learning practice more aligned with the revised curriculum and the demands of the 21st century skills our students need as they transition to the world of work or post-secondary.
- Cross-district conversations with staff and students on the Educational Transformation Committee share what’s working, what’s not and what’s next, looking at our successes and challenges in transforming secondary curriculum and assessment.
- Support and strategic planning assistance from UBC’s Faculty of Education is ongoing. UBC scholar and researcher, Dr. Leyton Schnellert continues to work with teams of teachers examining teaching and learning practices and innovations. Since 2013, Dr. Schnellert has co-facilitated with the Superintendent, a professional learning team entitled Collaborating to Engage All Learners. A short film of the team’s work can be viewed at sd10.bc.ca/video
- Maker Day and pop up Maker spaces in our schools and community reinforce the importance of hands-on making and creating. Dr. Susan Crichton, retired UBC-Okanagan professor (and former SD 10 teacher), worked with the district on maker and design thinking initiatives that are now embedded in learning environments that our teachers design.
PLACE-CONSCIOUS LEARNING INITIATIVES
- The district has a well-earned reputation for innovation in Place-Conscious Learning. Some examples of our work in this area of pedagogical innovation include:
- Secondary students worked alongside solar engineers, electricians and carpenters as they installed solar grid panels on two of our schools in Solar Energy Project. Gaining certifications in Renewable Energy and Fall Safety, the students also built infrastructure that will give back to the district for years, as we generate solar energy, net meter back to BC Hydro and save money on our electricity bills.
- 13 local artists, builders and makers working as mentors with students across the district in Design Thinking: Making the World a Better Place connected our learners with amazing people in our community. Students created metal sculptures with welder and artist Kate Tupper, fashioned culinary delights with local chef, Tyler Leeson, and learned alongside indigenous Elder and weaver, Eloise Charet amongst many others. In addition to learning about a wide range of art and trade forms, learners from K-12 also learned about careers in these diverse areas.
- Primary Outdoor Classroom shows the work of award-winning Edgewood Elementary teacher, Erika Momeyer in her K-3 classroom as students use game cameras to investigate wildlife around the school. Student inquiries had a conservation focus and outdoor learning followed the animals in their habitat in the school and community forest areas through the seasons.
- Reconciliation Through Art is an integration of Elders, Aboriginal artists, community members and children and youth from schools across the district weaving art-making inspired by personal narratives about residential schools and reconciliation with the earth. The project lead to greater understanding about Aboriginal peoples, residential schools, healing and reconciliation. Reconciliation deepened with our learners, Elders, community members, and with the earth. Integration with projectoftheheart.ca schools across Canada was also part of the initiative and resulted in a large art installation that is now housed at the Nakusp Museum. UBC’s Eleanor Rix Rural Education Professor, Dr. Linda Farr Darling, conducted educational research on this innovative cross-district project.
- Cultural Expressions investigates how diverse societies in three unique parts of the world communicate their values and interests through a wide range of artistic and cultural forms: among them, film, music, literature, language, photography and various electronic and visual media. The project is integrated across five curricular areas from Math to Foods and starts with exploring and understanding home, our community, and connects students with young people in three countries far away: Ecuador, Russia and Australia.
- Thinking Trees are used at one school in the district to help students touch base with the environment outside their classroom. Students learn to self-regulate and plan and organize their thinking. Each primary child has their own tree on the school grounds and writes, draws, does math problem-solving etc, rooted alongside their personal thinking tree.
- Walking Wednesdays are held weekly at Edgewood School. These half days in the “outdoor classroom” of the environment right outside the door of the school integrate science, math, language arts, social studies and a wide range of cross-curricular competencies. Check out the film on the SD 10 Video Gallery at http://sd10.bc.ca/video/
- Language of Insects is a project for DL home-based learners with a local artist. Students take field trips in a variety of ecosystems in the area in order to hone their observation skills and learn about insects through observation and recording through drawings, photographs and journals. Exploration of insect architecture is achieved through constructing and sculpting insect homes out of cob clay. Students explore concepts of metamorphism, biomicry and camouflage through use of colour, shape and pattern.
- Getting Outside regularly is embedded practice in many classrooms across the district. Cross-curricular competencies are entwined in these learning experiences which range from Outdoor Education to Science Education to Ethno-botany to Visual Art. Many classrooms use the outdoors as a place to learn both on longer term field trips and shorter day or partial day excursions.
SHARING OUR STORIES OF SUCCESS
Our work is regularly showcased at conferences, in publications, and on websites:
- May 2017 TELJournal article, Growing Relationship, Food Security and Sustainability shares the story of Lucerne School’s garden and greenhouse as inspirational learning experiences for pre-schoolers to secondary students in Culinary Arts,
- SD 10 secondary innovation work is cited in Becoming a History Education Teacher in Canada (Farr-Darling and Taylor, University of Toronto Press, 2014), Spirals of Inquiry (Halbert and Kaser, BCPVPA, 2012), It’s All about Thinking (Brownlie and Schnellert, Portage Press, 2009)
- Examples of SD 10’s innovative work in our Growing Innovation projects over the past eight years are seen at www.ruralteachers.com
- Fall 2013 AESN Research study by Dr. Catherine McGregor focused on SD 10 as one of two BC districts to case study as innovative leaders in Aboriginal Education Schools Network inquiry at http://inquiry.noii.ca
Place-conscious Learning Work Shared Across the Region and Province
Telling the Stories of the Nikkei
- This innovative 2008-09 project involves Lucerne School students from Grades 10-12 working intensively with Japanese Canadian Elders to document their personal stories, and learn about the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War in BC, and particularly in New Denver and area.
- The student films, a short documentary film about students engaged in the Telling the Stories of the Nikkei project, and also short documentary interviews of the Elders from New Denver are showcased at www.tellingthestoriesofthenikkei.wordpress.com and www.thenhier.com as well as www.citizenshift.ca and www.ruralteachers.com (http://www.ruralteachers.com/innovation/the-story-of-the-nikkei)
- Touchstone Museum in Nelson showcased the films in November 2011; UBC Museum of Anthropology requested a copy of the DVD in June 2010 for their archives; ArtsStarts Gallery in Vancouver showcased the films from September 2012 till January 2013
- Further documentation at www.thenhier.ca/sites/default/files/Nikkei-Final-Report.pdf and www.slideshare.net/gueste885db/ubc-iop-conference-may-15-2010
Values of Doukhobor Community: Then and Now
- Our communities were also a refuge for Doukhobour families at the turn of the 20th century and Lucerne students from Grades 8-12 explored this rich history and stories of social injustice in Canada by learning from parents, grandparents, Elders and community members.
- Student films produced in 2011-12 are available at http://www.ruralteachers.com/growing-innovation-2011 (project #2: SD 10 (Arrow Lakes) and at www.valuesofdoukhoborcommunity.wordpress.com
Online Literature Circles
- A chapter highlighting this innovative practice pioneered in SD 10 beginning in 2002 and now common across BC and elsewhere, was published in Faye Brownlie and Leyton Snellert’s book, It’s All About Thinking: Collaborating to Support All Learners in English and Social Studies (Portage Press, 2009). Students connect digitally with other classes across the district and province as they read and discuss literature.
- In 2014-15, a team of SD 10 teachers from Nakusp Secondary and Lucerne School designed Online Facebook Literature Circles using the popular social media platform, as a way not only to connect students to one another digitally to discuss great books, but also to learn about digital citizenship in a relevant context.
Numerous presentations and articles on Online Literature Circles are available online including
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