Monday, December 21, 2015

Warm wishes from the Network

Happy Holidays to all our Network friends. Looking forward to more sharing and learning in 2016. For now, we’ll leave you with these strong words from a Grade 2 student from Sea to Sky School District (SD#48). Thanks to Network Leader April Lowe for sharing this writing sample. This student has captured the spirit of season beautifully – what more can we say?   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Words worth reading (or listening to...)

This cold, rainy (or snowy, depending on where you live in BC) weather makes it a good time to hunker down and delve into some good reading. Ok, ok, we know it is a busy time of year, but the links below are well worth checking out:

Network leader Brooke Moore (@bmooreintheloop) is an avid blogger with the Canadian Education Association. This is a quick read (with a book suggestion…)

Just recently released, the BC Auditor General’s Report of the Education of Aboriginal Students in the BC Public School System is an absolute must read for every BC educator.

Amelia Peterson (@AKMPeterson) is currently a PhD student at Harvard and Associate with the Innovation Unit. She tweets about neat things with regard to educational reform. And bonus, she’ll be a presenter at the next NOII Symposium (May 13 – 14).

This website is from a few years ago, but the material is relevant and helpful in thinking about the possibilities inherent in BC’s new curriculum. Neil Stephenson (@Neilstephenson) is Director of Learning Services with the Delta School District.
Susan Harris MacKay was a speaker this year at TEDx West Vancouver Ed. In this video (also below), she talks about Opal School, a program of the Portland Children’s Museum, and how spaces that enhance creativity, curiosity and wonder can also enhance deep learning.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Inquiry – Making a Difference in SD #91 Nechako Lakes

Over the last few weeks we have been receiving inquiry plan submissions from schools across the province (see here for how to submit). There is very inspiring, collaborative professional learning happening all over BC -- we'll be sharing lots of school and district stories here in the coming months.  It was also a pleasure to read this blog post by SD #91 Nechako Lakes (written by SD 91 Director of Instruction, Manu Madhok) describing the inquiry focus areas for individual schools in their district. The article also outlines how the district structured a professional learning day for staff around concepts of both student-led and teacher-led inquiry. Thanks to Michelle Miller Gauthier, Network Leader and SD 91 Literacy Coordinator/Teacher, for sharing this helpful article.

Manu also highlights the video below, which was shared with educators during this day of learning last week. It’s a good reinforcement of how formative assessment practices can benefit our learners. Perhaps something to take a look at during your next staff collaboration time? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Inquiry Proposal Submissions - Due Nov 27th

It has been exciting to hear about the Network meetings taking place across the province over the last few weeks. As just one example, Prince Rupert had a packed house on Oct 20th (they ran out of chairs!) to discuss plans for the coming year, spend time reviewing new research and resources, and collectively deepening their understanding around what it going on for their learners. Neat to see these planning notes and picture from their meeting.

Please share with schools that the 2015 – 2016 NOII/AESN Inquiry Proposal template is now available on our website. We have tried to streamline the submission process this year and you will see that reflected in the guidelines and the template. School teams use this template to submit their inquiry focus at the beginning of the school year, and then submit case studies at the end of the year to document their experience. It may also be helpful to review the Spiral of Inquiry, as well as the 4 Key Questions That Matter. Proposals are due November 27th. We very much look forward to receiving your submissions and encourage you to contact us is you have any questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Case Studies and Videos

We are so excited the share the 2014 – 2015 NOII and AESN Case Studies, all now posted on our website.  Case studies are rich sources of data, capturing both the process of inquiry with regard to a school’s particular focus for improvement, as well as the learning and observations obtained throughout the journey.  

Take a few minutes to check out a few and see how schools and districts focused on improving teaching and learning for all students. We’re always amazed at the caliber of professional learning being engaged through the Spiral of Inquiry, but this past year is particularly impressive given 2014/2015 started off with job action in BC. When you see what was done, how much was accomplished, and particularly the commitment from teams to further their learning into the future, I think you’ll agree that we have some of the best educators in the world working right here in BC!

We’ve also noted previously that with help from Network leader Angela Stott, we’ve captured ideas around inquiry through short videos filmed at the last Network Symposium.  These videos are organized by themes, such as Impact on Aboriginal Education (see below), Authentic Use of the Spiral and Building Curiosity. All videos are posted here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall 2015 Network Newsletter

Please check out the Fall 2015 Network Newsletter and share it with your colleagues. There is a lot to share, including information about 2014/2015 recognition grants and how to be involved in the Network this year.  You’ll also read more about a new Impact Study that will look specifically at the AESN and the focus on transitions to secondary schools.

We are always looking for ideas and stories for our website and blog. Please stay connected and share your stories with us. Email Sarah at

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Network Leaders Meeting - October 2nd

It was an amazing day of learning and collaboration yesterday at the Fall Network Leaders Meeting. What a treat to have the meeting hosted at ArtStarts in downtown Vancouver – a beautiful location and space to boost curiosity and creative thinking! It was a packed house with over 40 educators volunteering their time to come together, share resources and strategies, and work together on our shared vision of:

EVERY learner walking the stage with dignity, purpose and options.
ALL learners leaving more curious than when they arrived.
Aboriginal education is for everyone.

We talked about some exciting upcoming projects for this year (more to come there…) and reviewed some of the case studies that were submitted through the summer (soon to be posted on the website). JoAnne Chrona also shared the new FNESC resources, including the Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Resources just launched in August. The resources are free to download and provide age-appropriate educational materials about Indian Residential Schools (see video below) The secondary level resource guide also serves as a good refresher/introduction for educators who may be teaching this material for the first time. JoAnne noted that FNESC also offers workshops but that these fill up really quickly – check their website regularly for newly scheduled events.   

A few other events/resources shared at the meeting:
  • Forms for submitting your school’s inquiry focus for 2015 – 2016 will be available very soon. We’re streamlining the forms this year to make submitting easier.  
  • The Lead the Change Series articles from the American Educational Research Association Education Change Special Interest Group (see the column on right side of page). Watch for Helen Timperley’s article in October. These are great resources for staff/Network meetings.
  • Neat info about Learning Maps out of New Zealand
  • The Ministry of Education’s new Resource Guide on Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom
  • A formative assessment learning event happening in Nanaimo on October 26th (more info here)
  • DASH BC will be launching Healthy Schools Week starting October 5th, with school grant opportunities being announced on October 6th. 
Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday (we missed the mid-Island group who were fogged in!). Looking forward to another great school year of learning, inquiry and collaboration!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Award for Innovative Teaching and Learning

With so many Network schools already engaged in innovative learning and teaching, we thought some of you may be interested in the Canadian Education Association’s Ken Spencer Award for Innovative Teaching and Learning. There are 7 awards available, with a total of $15,000 in funding for your school.  The application deadline is November 10th.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Assessment for Learning Event in Nanaimo - October 26th

The NOII and Canadian Assessment for Learning Network (CAfLN) have teamed up to offer the Assessment For Learning Drive-In for mid-Vancouver Island educators and network teams. This will be an opportunity to network with colleagues around AFL and inquiry.
Here are the details:

Assessment for Learning Drive-In
Monday, October 26, 2015
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Dover Bay Secondary – Library
Nanaimo, BC

To RSVP, email Tanya Gunn: 

Stay tuned for more learning opportunities in your area. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Welcome back! New resources, programs and upcoming events for 2015 - 2016

Welcome back to school, everyone. We’re excited about all of the possibility that this new school year offers!

A lot of professional learning took place this past summer – while everyone had a bit of time to engage with deep questions around collaboration, inquiry and learning.   

For instance, Judy and Linda hosted a 2-day Inquiry and Innovation Summer Institute at UBC at the start of July.  Over 50 educators from across BC worked through the Spiral of Inquiry and the OECD Principles of Learning, considering how to use these frameworks to address big questions and make meaning change in their educational contexts.  Check out some thoughts from that event here

At Vancouver Island University over the last few weeks, Linda and Judy also welcomed their fifth cohort of Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) participants – a group of 26 outstanding educators from Qatar to Haida Gwaii embracing new learning.  

And now, Judy and Linda are in the midst of preparing for a new post masters level leadership program aimed at system level leaders – this means anyone from teachers to superintendent who is focused on transforming the system for learners. It is an exciting opportunity and a great way to strengthen networking across roles and across the province. Applications are now open for this UBC Transformative Educational Leadership Program.  

As you start to think about your inquiry work this year, here are a few resources and upcoming events to consider as you plan your learning and teaching:

Developed in response to the call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for age-appropriate education materials about Indian Residential Schools, these Teacher Resource Guides provide activities and supports for dealing sensitively with the topic of residential schools. Please take a look and make sure to share with your colleagues.

Inspired by Scott Benwell and Kaleb Child from School District 85 (Vancouver Island North), this project is a call to action for educators and leadership to create and enhance learning environments to serve each learner, family and community. Aboriginal voice is dominant in this resource guide and reflects the opinions of community members.

NOII/AESN Extended Lower Mainland Fall Meeting
Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 – Richmond (near the airport)
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Sea Island School, 1891 Wellington Crescent, Richmond
Note: the school driveway and parking lot are accessed via Templeton Street
(Templeton Street can be accessed via either Miller Road or Grant McConachie Way (the road that takes you to the airport).

Save the Date! - 2016 Network Symposium
May 13 – 14, 2016
Richmond, BC
The 2016 Symposium will again include international speakers and partners, as well as showcase work from school teams, with lots of networking and interactive time. Stay tuned for registration details.

Please visit our website for other important dates/meetings, as well as easy to access resources. 

We’re once again grateful and impressed at the caliber of work that network school teams are leading. Case studies that were submitted over the summer are almost ready to put up on the website. We’ll post a link here when these are accessible.  We are also preparing templates for submitting your 2015 - 2016 Inquiry Questions - more to come!

We’re grateful to both the Ministry of Education and the Irving K Barber Learning Centre at UBC for their continued funding for continued funding to support the AESN. Book sales from Spirals of Inquiry also continue to support the exceptional work of network schools. 

Looking forward to another great year of learning, teaching and inquiring together!