The Arrow Lakes school district has signed their second aboriginal education enhancement agreement.
Developed with parents, students, teachers, administrators and the community, the agreement further strengthens and supports aboriginal student achievement and success in the district.
The agreement establishes the following commitments to aboriginal students in the district:
• Provide opportunities for aboriginal students to enhance their sense of belonging and pride in their aboriginal ancestry;
• Provide interventions for holistic success — physical, mental, social and emotional health;
• Provide district-wide aboriginal cultural events;
• Identify and provide learning support to at-promise students of aboriginal ancestry;
• Provide learning opportunities for school staff to enhance awareness and understanding of aboriginal culture and learning styles; and
• Support healing by embracing and promoting aboriginal cultural diversity.
These five-year agreements are a commitment by school districts, local aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education to work together to enhance the educational achievement of aboriginal students through programming that supports First Nations history, culture and language.
This agreement builds on government’s work to include aboriginal history, culture and perspectives into BC’s new curriculum. To support teachers in bringing aboriginal content and perspectives into the classroom, government has created a resource guide called aboriginal Worldviews Perspectives in the Classroom.
“Arrow Lakes continues to support all students in their district with their second agreement,” Education Minister Mike Bernier said in a news release. “No matter the size of the district, these agreements help aboriginal students experience a sense of belonging, self-respect and pride of heritage.”
“The Arrow Lakes aboriginal education advisory council has worked with school district 10 and the communities in the district over the last two years on the renewal of the enhancement agreement,” said school board chair Lora Lee Brekke. “Several community meetings were held to obtain public input, and the advisory council then reviewed and put together our second enhancement agreement.
“It was a very thorough and thoughtful process, one in which the board of education was thrilled to be included and to have input. I am happy to have our second enhancement agreement renewed and look forward to many more years of exciting and thoughtful dealings with the aboriginal education advisory council.”
“As a Cree and Ojibwa Elder in the West Kootenay, I am proud to see the changes that have been made in school district 10 from the last signing of the aboriginal accord,” said Ganishka Silverfox-Dann of the aboriginal education advisory council.
“Our youth want some extra help with traditions and ceremony to be able to hold onto the past as well as walk in the future. Our school district teachers are trying to pass these on with help of the elders and different programs that are available in the West Kootenay.”
To date, 56 school districts have at least one agreement signed, while 35 districts have signed a second agreement, five have signed three agreements and two districts have signed four.
SD 10 has an aboriginal population of 85 students, or 18.7 per cent of the 454 students in the district for the 2015/16 school year. SD 10 recognizes the Ktunaxa to the east, the Shuswap to the north, the Okanagan Nation to the West and the Sinixt people.