Update On Aboriginal Education

Submitted. The district’s Aboriginal student program has grown steadily over the past decade, such that one-tenth (almost 2,000) of current students claim aboriginal ancestry. The District’s achievement goals for these students are in part captured in the district’s first Enhancement Agreement made in 2008, which is a formal agreement between the Board of Education, the Ministry of Education and our Aboriginal community to improve the achievement of our Aboriginal learners. Perry Smith, District Principal for Aboriginal Education, reported to the board on this past year’s achievements plus plans on improving an already successful program. He also provided an update on the development of the district’s second Enhancement Agreement.

One goal focuses on increasing the number of Aboriginal students meeting expectations in reading. While generally positive, work remains to be done. Mr. Smith outlined some of the actions being undertaken, including: K- 5 daily literacy intervention, school-based Aboriginal support, and a grade 1 literacy calendar and kit.

Another goal looks to increase the school completion of Aboriginal students. The district’s six year completion rate continues to track significantly above the provincial average: 65% complete in six years here, compared to 56% province wide (2011-12.) Mr. Smith noted the seven and eight year completion rates indicate some students taking the extra year or two to finish school. Actions include increased school based support, and an enhanced Middle and Secondary Aboriginal Database that more completely tracks: Risk Level, Monthly Attendance and Transitions among other data. This aids support workers and teachers to more appropriately focus on students needing additional support. Meanwhile, a new Enhancement Agreement is expected to be completed and signed by spring 2014.

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