36. Disrupting Systemic Racism in Math and Science

District: No. 48 (Sea to Sky)

This project engages time in schools, in looking to shift “structure and approach” in recreating a high school timetable (in Pemberton) in order for students to engage in a diversity of “personally meaningful, real world, and cross-curricular inquiry.” Through inquiry into changes wrought by teachers’ co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing in multi-disciplinary teams from throughout the high school curriculum, this project importantly also grapples with the complexity of the curricular politics common in communities’ reception of cross-curricular, inquiry-based learning. As education transforms in the 21st century, fearless collaborative inquiry is seen to help move it from compartmentalization and subject silos into the ignition of student curiosity in parallel with teacher collaboration and community development. This project continues to evolve within an expanding inquiry of diverse and mutually supportive “teacher learning teams” in becoming more aware of “Eurocentric views and standpoints from which we approach teaching and learning” while taking up Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and building capacity for competency-based assessment practices in continuing also to “increase connections and engagement among our students, and their communities”

An artifact and project documentation have been shared below please have a look!

Our artifact is a movie trailer (see below) where we have our principal and some teachers who taught in the middle school this year ripping down the middle school timetable and “blowing it up”. Then, we introduce what 2019-20 will look like and of course we have some cheering!

The tearing down and blowing up of the current timetable symbolizes the venting of current challenges and frustrations and the readiness to do something different. 

When we returned from UBCO’s Rural School’s Think-tank and presented our Middle School plan to the staff, there were a number of staff that felt everyone in our small school should be part of the middle school program. We originally separated the middle school out from the graduation program because we know the middle school learner has very different needs from those in the grad program. We know that the middle school learner needs stability and connection to adults in the building. However, after trying to include all teachers in the model, the structure we created for the 2018-19 school year resulted in our middle school students having MORE teachers than our grad program students. As a result, it took students longer to settle and engage in their learning and which of course caused more behavior problems that further slowed the connection and settling. Looking at the behavior (data) and knowing its antecedent is fully within our control, we determined we were ready to implement the model we initially planned. 

What are you noticing is important and/or unexpected about your inquiry so far?

The resistance of change from our staff was unexpected. 

Our journey has shown us that it is important that we communicate our plans with all partners – staff, parents and students.

We will put student learning needs at the forefront of all of our planning and decisions.

Declining enrollment and funding impacts creative planning, but we’re working on it, pushing us to be even more creative!

Part of our plan is to have a middle school teaching team who will work in collaboration (planning, teaching, assessing) and will work towards becoming experts on the adolescent human being. We will look at the adolescent brain and how it relates to learning and engagement. 

From the 2019 Rural Schools Symposium, we are grateful to be able to share this project’s presentation (.pptx opens in new window)

Here is this project’s 2018-2019 final report (opens in new tab).

Here is an artifact (timetable) of this project’s 2020 Rural Schools Symposium presentation (.pdf opens in new window).