ECS 350 Case Study #1

Case Study: Buffalo Ridge First Nations High School Fire

1. and 2. First emotional response to the case and questions that I have

I experienced a few emotional responses while reading this case study.  I was sad and angry when reading the letter which stated that before the fire had occurred, the school had been applying for renovations to the school for eight years and was continually denied.  Obviously the school was serious about needing repairs if it was trying to get funding for eight years.  This tragedy could have been avoided if the government had given the school some money to fix up the place.  And not only could this have saved the school, but what about the students?  What kind of message is this sending them?  How are they suppose to feel safe and want to learn when the environment that they are in is unsafe and the government is basically telling them that they don’t deserve to have a proper education in a suitable facility?  One thing that has been continually repeated throughout my studies in the education program is that students need to be in a safe and comfortable environment, know that they are cared for, and not have major issues going on in their lives in order for them to maximize their learning.  So really, how are students expected to learn? Could the fact that the building had been unsafe be a reason that retention rates were lowering?

A few last questions, a bit less emotional now, are: Besides applying for funding from the government, did the BRFNHS try other options of getting money, such as fundraising and sponsors?  Were health and safety inspections not completed annually at the school, or could this have been foreseen by an inspection? And lastly, do schools actually have annual inspections?

3. Statement of need: “As the teaching in this situation, I need to know… I want to know…”

As the teaching in this situation, I need to know how to deal with this situation in general.  This is obviously a rare situation and something that I have never dealt with before so I would like information on how I should deal with the situation and how I can help the BRFNHS students transition into my classroom so that they feel safe and comfortable with my students and vice versa.

I want to know where the students from BRFNHS are at in terms of their learning and understandings, as well as information about their culture and community so that I can have a better understanding of these new students and try to incorporate this into my lessons to help engage and teach them.

4. Two allies for support

My first ally would be one of the teachers from BRFNHS that will be transferring to the school that I was teaching at (PVHS).  These teachers are going through the same situation that the students are in and they can probably best tell me how to help the students deal with this, the best way to teach them and get them involved in the classroom, and tell me where the students are at in terms of their learning.

My second ally would probably be the school’s guidance counselor.  The guidance counselor can talk to the students about the tragedy of losing their school, help them deal with changing schools, and also help them sort through some of their feelings and emotions that they are experiencing that could be affecting them.  The guidance counselor could also help me because they would probably know more than me of what to do and how to help students, both individually and as a whole class.  Finally, the guidance counselor could also help with the current students at the school.  Having that many students transfer in all at once could make the students nervous or scared and having someone to talk to for support could be good for them.


One thought on “ECS 350 Case Study #1

  1. Ashley – a thoughtful response. You’re right to point out that the school environment could very well have affected student morale and even retention rates. It’s saddening to think of the message that is being conveyed to students whose schools are in terrible condition. You’ve identified some good first steps in this situation. Now I wonder what steps you might take in your own classroom to help ease the transition and bridge the gap between the two groups of students. What activities do you already know of that could help in this situation? What possible tensions might arise?

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