Defining Endless Opportunities

Defining Endless Opportunities

Kristina Rentz, Assistant Principal, Beiseker Community School – As you can imagine, having a K - Gr. 12 environment creates some unique opportunities and challenges in terms of defining whole-school ‘How Might We’ (HMW) questions and designing possible solutions for these HMWs!

When we first started looking at defining our prototypes, we split staff into a K - Gr. 6 group and a Gr. 7 - 12 group. We brainstormed ideas for each of the four priority areas and chose ones we were most passionate about as individuals. We then took the opportunity to meet as a whole staff to review each HMW question and possible prototypes. 

One of the benefits of design thinking and the Playbook process is that all our teachers were given an opportunity to provide input into which prototypes they wanted to explore. For the priority area of Making Learning Visible, our HMW question is, “How might we be creative in sharing student work/learning around the school?” We developed various prototypes to help facilitate the differences in elementary, middle and high school. That being said, we also have one prototype that is cross graded to keep our whole school connected to each other.

After we solidified our prototypes, we used the power of collaboration to identify opportunities for collecting data that may help us determine whether we have successfully brought about change. By keeping our focus on the “WHY” in all four of the priority areas, we are optimistic that all our students will benefit, whether it be related to academics, motivation, engagement or social/emotional learning. Staff will be able to collect data, display it, reflect on it and create new iterations. 

At Beiseker, we were intentional in the design of our HMW questions and accompanying solutions. We know we chose big goals, but we feel confident because they are things we are passionate about. The playbook is a four-year plan; we want to ensure we take the time to get things right and embed our discoveries into our culture – it’s not about just finding a quick fix. Staff is excited to see how their prototypes will work and evolve by continual reflection and adjustments.