Near the close of 2013, the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association (BCPVPA) presented a cheque for $33,369.12 to the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network Provincial Fund, with those funds to be distributed to support inquiry-based learning initiatives.
The money was raised from the sale of the book Spirals of Inquiry by Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser, which was published in association with the BCPVPA. The book showcases exemplary practice in BC’s public schools. As of December, 2013, sales of the book continue, with a 6th printing of 1000 copies recently received.
The book was first published in February 2013 and advertised only through the BCPVPA publications eNews (a weekly, through the school year, electronic newsletter), and Adminfo (a five-times per year Association magazine) as well as the authors’ work in BC’s public schools. All proceeds for the book were donated to the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network to support school-based programs.
Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser are founders and leaders of the Networks of Inquiry and Innovations and the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network in British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian federal government recently recognized the Aboriginal network as an exemplary practice in improving outcomes for Aboriginal learners. Their teaching and research focuses on shifting school systems to a deeper focus on powerful learning for all learners through leadership development and networked learning across schools and districts.
The full title of the book is Spirals of Inquiry for Quality and Equity. Judy Halbert writes:
“For the past several years we have worked with hundreds of BC schools in with the Networks of Inquiry and Innovation, the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network and the Healthy Schools Network. We have become convinced of the power of team inquiry to shift practice and deepen learning for learners of all ages. In this book we bring together what we have learned about inquiry from an international research perspective and from local experience and case studies.
“We believe that to truly meet the contemporary needs of all learners we need to weave three ways into our practice. In Spirals of Inquiry, we describe how key aspects of Indigenous ways of knowing, combined with strong practices from international research and practice evidence, and innovative practices and creativity will help us reach our goal of every learner crossing the stage with dignity, purpose and options.
“The design for the inquiry framework is a result of our case study research in BC and from our collaboration with researcher Helen Timperley from the University of Auckland New Zealand. The spiral of inquiry is being used to inform the provincial Creating Results for Young Readers project as well as inquiry initiatives in a number of school districts. The book includes a detailed description of each stage of the inquiry process along with questions to guide thinking along the way. We also provide some suggestions on how to create and sustain professional learning that will build adaptive expertise.
“When we wrote Leadership Mindsets, we used stories of BC educators to illustrate many of the key points. We received a lot of feedback that the stories made the ideas come alive and we took these comments to heart. Spirals of Inquiry is filled with examples of BC educators taking risks, asking questions, and creating new and engaging forms of learning.
“One of our challenges recently has been to find ways to financially acknowledge the efforts of network schools that put themselves out by making their inquiries public, that share with colleagues within local regional networks, and that publish case studies of their experiences. We are grateful for the support the Ministry of Education was able to provide for several years. We know how important small grants are to school teams. These grants have provided support for release time, supported meeting costs, and the purchase of relevant resources.
“Last spring we approached the BCPVPA to see if they would be interested in publishing Spirals of Inquiry for a BC audience. We have long had a great relationship with Richard Williams, the editor of Adminfo and we appreciate how he has helped many BC educators share the stories of their work. Publishing a book was something different altogether. We had been working on the book for well over a year by this time and were appreciative when the Board of Directors, under the leadership of Shelley Green, gave the go ahead for this project. The agreement with BCPVPA is that after printing expenses are covered ALL the proceeds for the sale of the books will go to supporting networked, inquiring schools - especially those serving vulnerable communities. In a way, this is our gift to the schools we have come to love.”