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Growing Innovation Projects 2011-2021






This project’s aim is to explore the integration of Virtual Reality and Place-Conscious learning. Teachers and students from three communities (Nakusp, Edgewood and New Denver) are developing new ways to collaborate in developing this intriguing project that seeks to lay the groundwork for future education in the region that is both community-based and locally generative in the educational use of new technologies (as “forces of good” to “inspire our learners to create, and not just consume VR/AR content”).

This project focuses on intergenerational learning as students at Clearwater Secondary School learn writing, speaking, video production and editing as they interview elders in the valley to capture local stories.

Elementary and secondary teachers and students in rural schools in Lytton, Ashcroft, Clinton and Lillooet will be linked in connected classrooms and via other digital (& also physical) means.Project video: https://vimeo.com/148379893

A multidisciplinary innovation initiative in inquiry into sustainability in Elkford, B.C., this project involves school, regional and corporate partners led by Indigenous ecological knowledge and student learning toward “many plantings of trees in our area.”

Students in Mackenzie Schools and seniors will work together to landscape a newly constructed senior housing facility.

From a welcome new district to Growing Innovation, this project develops and explores new forms of school/community involvement, including in public administration (through town council participation) and school/community academic partnerships.

From the Elementary/Secondary school in Crawford Bay, this project investigates food self-sufficiency in relation to youth leadership in community involvement.Project video: https://vimeo.com/212677142

This project explores the “barriers and benefits” of using Virtual Reality (VR) in an educational environment. With the involvement of 5 local communities (Cranbrook, Jaffray, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford), all schools in this district will participate in developing a “student centered, inquiry-based approach” in the use of VR in exploring student engagement in the emerging contexts of the BC curriculum.

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 committed “teacher learning teams” to “increase connections and engagement among our students, and their communities.”

At Eagle View Elementary School in Port Hardy, this project will explore ways to encourage greater family participation in education through a wide range of communication tools.Project video: https://vimeo.com/52422084

This project has evolved from a focus on Project Based Learning into examining the coordination and development of digital resources for students in concert with new ways of collaborating and planning among teachers at Dawson Creek Secondary School.Project video: https://vimeo.com/55399363

Combining professional collaboration among educators, schools, students and community, this project combines multi-age learning and student pedagogical and curricular leadership and design in a shared inquiry about the incorporation of technology in science, social studies, math and computer studies curriculum. Resourcing student strengths in technology for curricular and pedagogical design (among high school and elementary school students) looks to be generative, collective and inspirational, where “everyone gets to share and learn together.”

Students at Sparwood and Elkford Secondary Schools engage in the annual creation of an interdisciplinary event designed to foster community across the student body while achieving learning outcomes in creative ways.

By focusing on student interactions, community involvement and environmental learning, this project investigates effects on school culture and the larger community, and new forms of learning from year-long and school-wide outdoor education.

Through a concerted effort to increase capacity for collaboration and collegiality through inquiry, this project seeks to “challenge foundational understanding” to move thinking forward toward changes to high school programming. Including participation of students and community mentors, the PLC expects to propose a new model of high school education that deploys and values “genuine thinking” through a shared commitment to collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary learning, place-consciousness, pedagogical innovation and competency-based learning. Moving forward, this project strives “to create space for interests and passions within cycles of inquiry, fostering connections and collaboration within the group and with mentors in the community” where curricular subject integration is explored as a “missing element” toward “alternative artistic mediums allowing more creative expression” for students.

Students in Merritt will participate in authentic, hands-on Aboriginal activities aimed at enriching their understanding of the local culture.

On Salt Spring Island, the Connecting Generations project continues to expand and redefine itself in response to the new opportunities it creates for students, educators and their community. Continuing is building bridges between generations through dialogue, intergenerational learning and relationship building.Project video: https://vimeo.com/45765089

n Osoyoos, this project inquires into teachers’ use of innovative teaching practices to best facilitate student learning. Combining flipped classrooms and flexible timetables, interdisciplinary and cross-curricular teaching, the project takes the form of a search, with teachers seeking to “find more meaningful ways to work together” for the benefit of their students and communities. Empowerment of students and the innovative commitments of educators in collaboration combine toward the transformation of schools, the renewal of curriculum and the revitalization of pedagogies.

This project will energize student learning at Zeballos Elementary Secondary School by focusing on purposeful, relevant, real-world experiences.

Educators in numerous schools in the communities of Golden and Invermere investigate intergenerational learning to understand its benefits to participants, challenges for educators, related/emergent pedagogies and curricula and, by contrast, the norms of monogenerational learning sites in terms of new possibilities.

Grade 6-7 students in the Slocan Valley Family of Schools (W.E. Graham, Winlaw, Brent Kennedy and Mt. Sentinel) are engaged in digital storytelling to document local culture and family heritage through interviews with senior community members and online research.

Students in SD 10 reached out to Doukhobor elders, learned about the values of this culture, and produced films and a project blog reflecting their learning.Project video: https://vimeo.com/45766232

Through student-driven inquiry across a number of important local initiatives, this project will ‘diffuse the boundaries between school and community’ to better integrate the two both enrich learning and improve the community – while considering resultant student engagement and sustainable and generative local connections among school and its place. As it has developed, it has found new trajectories in a long term, recursive (in ‘spirals of inquiry’) engagement in land-based service learning, partnering in and contributing to university-led watershed research, where teachers’ learning also becomes a question in respect of student engagement.

As “entry points for students to be creative and see results quickly through this technology” this project in Prince Rupert B.C., explores VR in uses developed and led by high school students in “collaboration, experimentation and problem solving” in an “an opportunity to promote and celebrate what makes us unique and special.”

Students at Nakusp (Elementary & Secondary), Lucerne (Elementary & Secondary) and Edgewood (Elementary) schools work with Indigenous Elders and artists to build understanding about the impact of residential schools on Indigenous communities and Canada, and work towards reconciliation.

This project explores what happens when students are taken into the heart of the Haida community to nurture relationships and language learning with Elders. It will create a community classroom (school outside the conventional school building) in order to empower First Nations learners through visits to the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program. As it evolves, its focus on the preservation, teaching and learning of the Haida language is deepening. As students and Elders gather daily in the community to teach and learn Haida, they increasingly work within First Nations principles of learning, especially intergenerational roles and responsibilities, Indigenous knowledge, and patience and time in education.

The district will develop a Full Day Nature Kindergarten program that provides children the opportunity to learn in a natural setting where outdoor exploration is the foundation of all learning.Project videos: https://vimeo.com/user20781602Sooke Nature KindergartenThe Sooke Nature Kindergarten is is a program in the Sooke School District (#62), which is just to the west of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada....Vimeo

The project engages students in Midway in Community partnerships, technology, and functional curriculum to focus on ways to support rural secondary students with special needs.

In Gold River, teachers at RWES are exploring, via the Spiral of Inquiry method, the engagement of ideas from a shared study in very specific considerations of their practical implications and consequences. This allow a comparative process of inquiry into the manifestations and promise of the concept of growth mindset in sharing successes and confronting challenges together. By combining a shared practice of study and common engagement of method in specific instances (focusing each on a single child), the inquiry promised a richer understanding of growth mindset, proposed then as a fundamental part of school culture.

Grade 9 students at Charles Hays Secondary School will explore the theme of urban development through a community revitalization project for Prince Rupert.

By focusing on student interactions, community involvement and environmental learning, this project investigates effects on school culture and the larger community, and new forms of learning from year-long and school-wide outdoor education.

At Don Ross Secondary School in Squamish, the Connections Project provides opportunities for dialogue between Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal students and the Squamish First Nations community.

A regional science fair committee from schools in the North East of B.C. takes the lead in this project to both spark interest in and develop Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technology in education with students and, through this, to extend critical questions about knowledge, understanding and place. This work will be shared in the regional science fair, and involve participation from three regional school districts.

This project examines how interdisciplinary, project-based learning will promote student engagement, design thinking, and academic rigour in a small rural-school environment. It evolves into specific inquiries into critique, pride and commitment in exploring concepts of quality and diversity in bringing into student inquiries community and Indigenous participantion.

At Fort St. John, the ELC project will look at how a healthy living environment and personal fitness affects student absenteeism, test scores, collaboration skills, student engagement and school culture.Project video: https://vimeo.com/68360637

Kitwanga Elementary School staff will explore the use of culturally relevant assessment and teaching strategies to more effectively support their First Nations students.

Students at False Bay School on Lasqueti Island will build positive understandings of renewable energy systems and social responsibility by examining local solar, micro-hydro and wind power projects with area experts.Project video: https://vimeo.com/45988071

Students at two secondary schools collaborate in creating and maintaining a greenhouse and garden, and to investigate how students thereby come to engage healthy food choices, how school culture transforms and how relations among the schools improve as the result.

Educators and seniors’ care administrators in Vanderhoof investigate buddying between grade 3 students and seniors in terms of empathy, kindness, caring, and respect and acceptance of differences.

Exploring what is possible and faithful to its place in/as a new nature school, this project will “facilitate the storying of our school birthing and ongoing development” in a good way. It is a model full of possibilities coming to realize itself with students, their communities, educators (fellow learners) in the cultural leadership of the Cowichan and Malahat First Nations.

nvolving all students within Clearwater Secondary school, along with teachers and some community members, this project investigates a wholly new format for student engagement while allowing teachers new ways to approach and develop project-based learning in communities of practice.

This project investigates if meaningful, locally relevant, hands-on activities facilitate a positive school experience for students who struggle in traditional classrooms and if, by having a hands-on, food related course offering in a rural high school, benefits spin off into the larger school body, community and region – providing opportunities for further inquiry and further projects.Project video: https://vimeo.com/202964771

Through the provision of collaborative, co-planning and co­-teaching opportunities for educators, this project explores the effects of quality teaching and leadership development on student success and completion. It will also be concerned with what it makes possible in connections among schools and with communities (in Houston and Smithers, B.C.).

A very large rural district investigates moving rural education outdoors by engaging natural areas as sites for both curricular outcomes and connecting students to their natural communities – and to each other. This project is evolving into developing teacher capacity for outdoor education by way of a new mentoring initiative in six schools, and documenting transitions to innovating within the new curriculum in teaching outside.

Chemistry, sustainability and student emotional connections with curriculum are central to this project in “applied study,” where converting plastics to fuel to evaporate salt for development of a marketable herbal remedy will involve community members in cross-curricular student-led environmental stewardship in an entrepreneurial spirit.

Students in Bella Coola will be taught to mill their own organic flour and grains to produce a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods in a project that will encourage them to make better nutritional choices.

As in most Growing Innovation projects, this one at Crawford Bay Elementary and Secondary School asks what is an “innovative pedagogical approach” in conversation with educational research – here in students’ developing school facilities (a gazebo!) with community partners. Exploring the project in terms of student engagement, pedagogical and curricular development, and community involvement will be central to the project’s promise.

In Sparwood, sciences, social studies, and First Peoples curricula are explored together in this project with student identity, and diverse student identities, as a ‘common’ focus. Through tanning animal skins, and expanding the activity both out (into community) and in (as identity exploration), many purposes are being discovered and served (including creating costumes for a play and selling skins) in a context of shared inquiry that engages educational practices and communities in local histories, particularly those of the Métis and Ktunaxa peoples.

In South Nelson, B.C., this project marries intergenerational learning and technology in student-led historical inquiry (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) toward contributions to community self-understandings.

How can VR/AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality) provide students and schools new opportunities to “create context, and interact with our surroundings, and consult with many specialists that work in our valley”? Using new technology and problem-based learning to interact in new ways with place is generating new understandings through student inquiries into the human “footprint” in this new project at schools in Invermere and Golden, B.C.

This project explores structural change to the organization of time in schooling through intensive career education in Kaslo, B.C. Through many concurrent inquiries, it will explore a first year pilot’s promise for student engagement and teacher collaboration in a “contagious culture of developing projects” beyond the confines of conventional time in schooling.

In Dawson Creek and Chetwynd, B.C., this project seeks to “explore alternative ways at delivering French programming” at district high schools involving Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.

In Gold River, B.C., This project explores models of departure from the linear, six-block rotation of school classes, conventional in Western education since 1906. It is particularly interested in student and staff wellness and impacts on the school community in alternate regimes of school-time.

Students from three high schools join with leaders in arts, business, outdoors and other community organizations collaborate in a cross-curricular initiative of inquiry “to engage students in service learning while supporting them in producing long lasting art pieces (sculptures) that represent themselves and their communities.” How does creating a “bridge” between schools and their contexts create opportunities for students in the future?

Students at four schools – and throughout the district – participate with teachers, local artists and designers, to investigate the forms and fruits of creative thinking, critical thinking and engagement in design thinking through hands-on project based learning. This project is evolving with the participation of community members and the leadership of Métis and Sinixt Elders through “multi-disciplinary place-conscious hands-on learning” in building, and then using, paddles. In this, this project’s inquiry focuses on students who are “creating a clear connection from the learning they are doing in school to the world around them.”

This whole-of-school project aims to put student choice and autonomy at the centre of education – and to explore its effects in relationships among students and school staff, engagement and achievement, and the rest of their lives.

This project aims to ‘reinvent’ the school timetable and organizational structure for the benefit of the school’s youngest students – in supporting transitions, developing multidisciplinary and fostering student empowerment.

Exploring cross-curricular and multigrade pedagogical innovation in a placed-based approach to sustainable living and a classroom to community model, this project engages farming, food, sustainability, with Indigenous ways of knowing and within community connections.

Supporting those less well served by conventional education, this pilot project aims to deepen understanding of the new curriculum and First Peoples Principles of learning through using horses to develop relationships that engage stress and emotional management, self-concept and self-talk, personal responsibility, group dynamics, conflict resolution and empathy.

This project extends innovative approaches to inclusion into elementary mathematics education, building capacities of teachers to help them focus better on the competencies of their students.

This project explores and extends increased engagement of students with diverse strengths and needs through relationship building in often spontaneous and informal education. It also looks to share its inquiries and findings with neighbouring schools and communities.

This project explores and shares multi-disciplinary community and relationship student leadership and inquiry - in working to create an ‘atmosphere of celebration and curiosity’ among the school and those who live around it.

This project explores team teaching and collaboration as a method to build more meaningfully inclusive practices school-wide - on the traditional territories of the Fort Nelson First Nation and where approximately one third of the school population is Indigenous.

Connecting with local knowledge keepers, this project engages key historical events to see how they have influenced the development of the region and its communities. Through historical inquiry, high school students are engaging both Indigenous and non-Indigenous authorities in challenging the absence of Secwepemc and Tsilhqot’in history from their classrooms, in order to strengthen relations among communities.

Collaborating among schools in Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake & Dog Creek, this project aims to give Indigenous youth an opportunity to share their communities with the world. Using digital technology in collaboration with community members, students share local, environmental and cultural knowledge – and give back to First Nations communities by recording and sharing 3 endangered Indigenous languages.

Collaborating among schools in Horsefly, Big Lake & Tatla, in resonance with the curriculum’s standards of community collaboration, personalized learning and inquiry, this project supports cross-curricular activities to explore different skill sets and careers not commonly found or funded in elementary education. In doing so it asks how exploring career opportunities earlier will help students later with respect to their life possibilities.

This project explores how rhythm, and the drum circle, can bring cross-curricular connections toward intangible but profound outcomes in belonging, leadership, healing and resilience in high school. How does a ‘convivial ambience’ change schooling?

This project explores student engagement with community partners in the local and regional economic activity of turning natural resources into valuable products. In doing so, it creates new opportunities for reconsidering curriculum in unique and situated ways.

This project explores and discerns student engagement with the outdoors, especially in respect of both core curriculum and First Peoples Principles of Learning. In doing so, it seeks also to engage community and reimagine education in pandemic times.