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Artifacts & Documentation: Re-imagining Learning Structures in a Rural High School through Teacher Collaborative Inquiry Teams and Cross Curricular Student Inquiry

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.

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