The Surrey School District is committed to inquiry-focused school planning.

Kids standing in the library near a bookshelf

The purpose of utilizing an inquiry-based school planning process is to:

  • engage teachers in meaningful conversations about evidenced-based teaching practices that lead to improved student learning and engagement;
  • improve student learning in areas that are foundational to student success (e.g., literacy, numeracy, etc.);
  • view school planning in a more holistic way, incorporating the district priority practices (e.g., Curriculum Design, Quality Assessment, Instructional Strategies, Social and Emotional Learning) as a key aspect of school development; and,
  • ensure that students are developing Core Competencies as mandated by the Ministry of Education.

Guiding Principles of Inquiry

  • Collaboration is at the heart of inquiry.
  • An inquisitive mindset is central to the inquiry process.
  • Inquiry processes incorporate review, revision, and refocusing on an ongoing basis, while maintaining an instructional focus (one or more) over time.
  • Key to the focus of inquiry is a deep understanding of the learners in the school.
  • Evidence which informs the focus for inquiry and whether progress towards the goal(s) of the plan are occurring, comes in different forms (qualitative and quantitative) incorporating teacher judgment.
  • Celebrating successes along the inquiry path builds a greater sense of community and commitment.


Inquiry Planning Process

The Planning Process Diagram describing 6 guiding questions

The inquiry process at the school level begins with the essential question of what do we know about our learners? An important initial step is determining what evidence is at hand. Evidence is not exclusively “data” – the focus is on what we know about our learners, and where students are at in their learning. A “scan” of students is the natural starting place. What we know about our learners will inform the development of an inquiry question. Because inquiry is not an event, the process itself is a significant aspect of the value. The collaborative effort of school staff focused on student learning is at the heart of the inquiry process.

Guiding questions to support the inquiry process:

  1. What do we know about our learners?
  2. What evidence supports what we know about our learners?
  3. How does what we know about our students inform our inquiry question?
  4. What is our professional learning focus (e.g., capacity building) related to our inquiry question?
  5. How will we know that our inquiry focus is making a difference for our students and their learning?
  6. Based on the evidence of student learning does our inquiry require adjustment?