Collaborative Inquiry Benefits All

(Left to right) White Pines Principal Joey Turco, student Mikayla Huckerby, teacher Frank Calvano, student Halie Makinson, Aboriginal Lead Carol Trudeau-McEwan and Superintendent Kime Collver. Mikayla created a video and Halie designed posters that captured the work done by ADSB in the Collaborative Inquiry process.

Superintendent Kime Collver introduced a video showing the learning journey of students, school staff, and First Nation and Métis community partners. This is the second year that the Algoma District School Board has been part of the Ministry of Education First Nation Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Collaborative Inquiry. It began with the question: What would the impact of strengthening our First Nation, Métis and Inuit partnerships and hearing and acting on FNMI student voices have on student well-being and achievement?

The video shares the thoughts and answers from our principals, students and teachers from nine ADSB schools and eight First Nation Communities and the Métis Nation of Ontario. The schools represented; Chapleau High School, Chapleau P.S., Mountain View P.S., East View P.S., White Pines C &VS, Central Algoma Secondary School (CASS), Thessalon P.S., Blind River P.S., and W.C. Eaket Secondary School. First Nation partners included; Chapleau Cree First Nation, Brunswick House First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, Thessalon First Nation, Mississauga First Nation, Serpent River First Nation and North Shore Tribal Council. The Métis Nation of Ontario was also part of the collaborative inquiry.

Students, teachers, school administrators, First Nation partners, parents and Aboriginal support workers shared their thoughts and experiences as they related to FNMI Collaborative Inquiry. Participants all spoke about how the Collaborative Inquiry has engaged students, supported student and teacher learning, and enhanced relationships between students, teachers, First Nation partners, First Nation communities and our Métis partners.

Teachers spoke of the wealth of resources that are shared through FNMI partners. Traditional teachings and sharing circles have been introduced at their schools through these partnerships and field trips to First Nation communities and healing lodges have greatly enhanced the learning experience for them and their students. Traditional Student Mentors (also known as Aboriginal Student Support Workers in some schools) have helped to develop historical resources for use in schools. They also help introduce teachers and students to service providers in the community who can support teachers and students.

For our First Nation partners and parents, they are seeing teachers going out into the community to share and network with First Nation parents and communities. Attending community events has helped to enhance relationships and is “breaking down barriers” according to one FNMI partner.

Participants also shared how pleased they are with how Collaborative Inquiry allows the student voice to be heard. At several schools, instead of planning events for FNMI students they have begun planning events with students. FNMI students are at the planning table and are being heard in terms of what is important to them, what they feel may be lacking at their schools and what they need most in order to learn. For instance students have suggested a greater use of outdoor spaces at their schools, an increase in number of ceremonies and hunting and fishing trips to make better use of our natural resources.

Superintendent Collver thanked the Ministry of Education for allowing ADSB to take part in the Collaborative Inquiry. She also thanked school staff, FNMI partners and most importantly the students who have been a significant part of the journey. This included thanking two students from White Pines – Mikayla Huckerby who created the video and Halie Makinson who designed two posters that captured the work done in the Collaborative Inquiry process.