Discipline Based Inquiry at Falconridge School in Calgary

In my new role as Assistant Principal at Falconridge School in Calgary, I’m jumping into discipline based inquiry learning.  There is much to learn and share, and I find my blog space a good place for processing my learning.  Our school is focused on improving student achievement, and a primary vehicle we are using is inquiry. The big idea is that when students’ curiosity is engaged, when teachers and students engage in a systemic investigations of problems, issues, topics, or ideas, and when classrooms are engaging in dialogue to pursue answers to questions that are worth thinking deeply about, then oral communication is enhanced and evidence would suggest that student achievement improves.

Authentic learning environments are a focus at Falconridge School.  Sharon Friesen, from Galileo Network at University of Calgary defines authentic learning as learning that takes place within a discipline that produces or creates something that contributes to the world’s knowledge. As a system strategy in the Calgary Board of Education, Personalization of Learning is a priority.  When teachers, as guides of curriculum, engage in conversations with students about important topics, interests, questions, or problems (related to topics in the Programs of Study), and engage students’ curiosity about the world around them academic success is advanced.


Using the work of Sharon Friesen, et. al, from @galileonetwork our school’s focus will be on advancing achievement through working with teachers around a practice that includes the key features of Friesen’s Discipline Based Inquiry work.


Much good work has happened at our school over the past number of years. Each year finds opportunities to continue the important of finding ways to help students be successful.  This school year we will focus on creating rich authentic learning environments at Falconridge School that create a space for students to have agency, to have voice, that builds oral communication proficiency, and ultimately leads to new opportunities for students on their path through life.

Roy Strum

AP, Falconridge School

Calgary Board of Education


September 2015 Environmental Learning Update

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greetings teachers,

here are some things that might be of interest to you


Twitter accounts to follow – Twitter is becoming one of the most valued professional development sites for Teachers.  If you aren’t on twitter yet, open an account, and start with following people.  There are many CBE teachers and administrators active on twitter.  Here are a few accounts I would recommend you start with:

@AACinfo (Alberta Assessment Consortium), @yycbike2school , @principalfero , @CBE182, @geoec , @everactiveab , @albertaed , @galileoeducnet , @yycbe , @gcouros , @hpec , @stevewclark , @doug_gleddie (phys ed focus) , and mine @jrstrum

Professional Learning


  • New CBE waste and recycling processes/equipment – by now all schools will have received new waste and recycling equipment – if you are unsure about what to do or how it works visit – https://portal.cbe.ab.ca/staffinsite/system_tools/media_centre/news/Pages/new-CBE-recycling-program-and-recycling-stations-2015.aspx Deb Wehnes @dewehnes  is our CBE waste and recycling coordinator – find her in outlook and contact her if you have questions
  • http://ourcanadaproject.ca/ Our Canada Project – Learning for a Sustainable Future -LSF’s Our Canada Project encourages Canadian youth to engage in “conversations about the future” and actions that model responsible citizenship. Through the Our Canada Project youth articulate their vision for a more sustainable Canada and identify the actions they have taken, or will take, to achieve that vision. The Our Canada Project (OCP) website features an interactive map where students share their vision and action projects, including videos, pictures and text. As students celebrate their projects by sharing them with their friends and families, the word gets out to Canadians nationwide, showcasing the great work that youth across Canada are undertaking, big or small, individually or collectively, to make Canada a better place. LSF will provide an interactive 90 minute workshop for students in grades 4 – 6.  The activities will enable students to create their vision for a sustainable Canada and help them begin to identify a sustainability action project they would like to undertake to achieve their vision
  • City of Calgary Ecoleaders – Eco-Leaders is committed to providing youth opportunities to develop life-skills, participate in meaningful and relevant experiences and become leaders in their community.  This program inspires and supports students in developing skills that will prepare them to implement initiatives that are innovative and sustainable in addressing an environmental issue in their community. For more information on Eco-Leaders and this year’s application please visit here. Deadline is November 6, 2015 at 4:30pm.
  • Destination Conservationhttp://dcplanet.ca/start.html this program is offered at no charge to CBE schools. There is limited space.  https://vimeo.com/137282322  Password: DC123  To register: laura@dcplanet.ca  Student-led teams will design, develop and implement one (or more) school wide action campaign to help their school community make changes that add up to a positive impact on the environment and benefits everyone involved.
  • Farms to Cafeterias Canada – supporting school based food gardening – http://www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/changing-the-menu-mapping-the-change-national-map-registration-form/
  • Wavemakers Summithttp://www.cawst.org/#/wavemakers interested in water issues – grant funds included in this initiative
  • Green Calgary http://www.greencalgary.org/green-kids/ – a variety of possibilities for ‘experts’ to be brought into your curriculum

Grant funding

Roy Strum

Learning Consultant

Calgary Board of Education | cbe.ab.ca

t: 403-817-6298

c: 403-862-1042