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VSB Appreciative Inquiry Update

Point Grey Sty Wet Tan Secondary School Appreciative Inquiry Summit


Creating a Healthy Community of Life Long Learners


April 2006


The AI Summit was a gathering of teachers, students, administrators, district representatives and parents exploring the core strengths of Point Grey Sty Wet Tan Secondary School, then dreaming and designing our destiny where positive changes will create a Healthy Community of Life Long Learners.   The hard working process of democracy in action was inspiring for all participants and the AI Summit purposes of increasing our cooperative capacity and generating positive change initiatives on behalf of the school community were achieved.


These are some wrap up comments from student, parent and teacher participants:

“We all want the same things.”

“I feel connected and hopeful for the future.”

“This is practical and has a ‘can do’ feel; I can do my part for the future.”

“There is a climate of collaboration.”

“This is change for the better.  It is doable. We can share and improve.”  

“This was a chance to understand different perspectives and yet have the same dream.”


Specific Destiny recommendations included, but are not limited to:

  • Have a Summit each year to build community
  • Improve recycling and refuse disposal
  • Display students’ work, create peer support groups, invite guest speakers
  • Improve lighting, drinking fountain and bathroom conditions
  • Create various kits for teacher resources: icebreakers so classroom students can interact and meet each other early in the year, information on learning styles, thematic approaches, current research summaries


Non-specific Destiny recommendations included, but are not limited to:

  • Transitional support for all coming into the school; inclusive community
  • Clarify expectations and conduct 
  • Open avenues of communication
  • Improve interdepartmental communication regarding work and tests
  • Timetable considerations for creative flexibility and activities


Already joint teacher and student committees have met and taken action to develop the icebreaker kit and to beautify the school (new display frames and 2nd hand chairs purchased).  Tai chi classes, open to all, are offered free of charge on Tuesdays at 3:30 PM in the library.  Teacher participants have felt supported and confident to review their teaching styles.  Student participants have felt connected and involved in the school as a whole.  All participants felt appreciated and valued at the Summit and as a result an increase in mutual courtesy has been noted.


Appreciative Inquiry is an on-going, inclusive, dynamic process.  This is just the start of another wonderful opportunity at Point Grey Sty Wet Tan Secondary School.  

Appreciative Inquiry Information


A Project using the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)




Phase 1 (2005-6)



Point Grey Secondary School/Sty Wet Tan is one of ten pilot sites in the first phase of the VSB’s Learning and Development Initiative.  The first Project Objective of this Initiative is “to discover and extend knowledge, understanding, skills and practices fundamental to effective learning and effective supports of learning” (Working Document, page 3, Nov/05).  Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is the approach chosen both as a means of learning about the existing VSB education system strengths and as a process of creating a positive innovative future.


Appreciative Inquiry is referred to as “a positive approach to building cooperative capacity” since the process inquires first about the good of a system and then inquires about how to create more of that good.  AI’s dynamic cycle involves four stages: discovery, dream, design and destiny.  Storytelling, in response to the specific affirmative questions asked, is the medium of each stage.  Bringing those stories together expresses the future hopes and ideals held by people connected with the system, the stakeholders. The stakeholders’ stories are gathered, starting now through to spring break, via  interviews conducted by other stakeholders.  The interviews allow stakeholders to appreciate each other’s best experiences relating to the system.  This discovery phase stimulates constructive dialogue with others beyond the one to one interviews and simultaneously fosters new understanding and possibilities.


The inquiry of “What if . . .?” is full of potential.  Focusing on the positive and collaborating on the shared image of the future inspires cooperation and so builds capacity of the whole system.  The stakeholders participating in the two day AI Summit will realize that they are contributing, through the images of their stories, to the design of the system’s destiny of which they are part.  Everyone can anticipate the reality of the envisioned goals.


The VSB and Point Grey Secondary School/Sty Wet Tan have selected focus questions each as their Affirmative Topics.  Initially the PGSS Team will individually interview a number of stakeholders.  Those interviewees who desire to participate in the AI Summit on Monday, April 10 and Tuesday, April 11, 2006, will conduct about two interviews each and so on.  This involvement ensures that the inquiry/storytelling process will fan out through the school and community and flow back to the PGSS AI Team for the foundation information of the AI Summit and ultimately to the District Summit.



A Project using the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)



Phase 1 (2005-6)


The Affirmative Topic focus questions are as follows:


Question # 1.  Tell me the story of the most powerful learning experience you ever had

in a classroom or other educational setting? (District-wide question)


Question # 2.  What do educators do that create exceptional learning experiences?

(District-wide question)


Question # 3.  What choices and options offered in educational settings most enhance learning? (District-wide question)


Question # 4.  What strategies, mental or physical, are most effective for coping with stress?  (Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan question)


Question # 5.  What are some stimulating and relevant learning experiences that you have taken beyond the classroom? (Point Grey /Sty Wet Tan question)


Question # 6.  When you think about the future of Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan, what are your deepest  hopes, dreams and visions for creating the richest learning environment and the highest quality learning experiences for students?  How would things be different from how they are now? (District-wide question)


Question # 7.  What specific actions and changes do you think need to be made to create these hopes and visions?  (District-wide question)



Contact the PGSS AI Team for further information:


Point Grey Secondary School/Sty Wet Tan,                 Phone: 604-713-8220

5350 E. Blvd., Vancouver, B.C.  V6M 3V2


AI Team Coordinator:  Leane Neufeld

Staff Members:  Tony Bosello, Erla Mary Calahaisn, Biagio Galle, Sue D. Inglis

Administration Member:   Beverly Seed

Student Members:  Daniel Jun, Alex Ferguson


Community Member:   Faye Mitchell, fmitchell@musqueam.bc.ca

Parent Member:  Sharon Blair-Chow, 604-263-0123