Surrey Christian School’s K-12 Innovation Partnership
Building Relationships with BC’s First Peoples
By Darryl DeBoer, Director of Learning, Surrey Christian School ◊
Last year, schools across BC were invited to submit an Innovation Partnership grant proposal that would “support teachers as they implement practices which integrate and promote personalized learning in the classroom, school, and school community” (www.k12innovation.ca) and enable schools to successfully implement the new K-12 curriculum.
Surrey Christian School (SCS) successfully submitted a grant proposal that is designed to advocate, create and sustain ongoing relationship between the students and staff of members of BC’s First Peoples. It is through the establishment of these relationships that SCS hopes to authentically integrate the First People’s Principles of Learning, an important design element of the new curriculum, into our student’s K-12 learning experiences. In addition, staff and students are invited to play a role in the ongoing story of Truth and Reconciliation.
At the heart of SCS’s Innovation Partnership proposal are the K-12, teacher generated learning experiences. While some of these ideas are scheduled for the second half of this school year, November 30th was a critical day for our journey. Teachers and support staff attended a day of learning entitled Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village. This interactive, hands on role playing exercise, led by Kathi Camalleri and Meredith Martin, introduced the SCS staff to the traditional values, artifacts, and relationships that were present in many First Nations villages prior to European contact. Once this way of being was illustrated and introduced, the learning of the day shifted to the effects of residential schools and Canada’s policy of assimiliation on First Nation’s sense of knowing, belonging and identity. The workshop is done from a non-blame and non‐shame perspective and invites all participants to become a part of the healing that is already happening.
David Miedema’s Social Justice 11 class hosted an evening for our community entitled Truth and Reconciliation: A Time to Listen, Talk and Hope. Over 150 community members attended and had their understanding of the story of BC’s First Peoples deepened. We look forward to our continued journey of building relationships and inviting our students, staff and community into the story of Truth and Reconciliation.