Burnaby Central Secondary school played host to the celebration and signing of the school district’s second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement today. These five-year agreements are a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education to work together to support Aboriginal learners.
The Burnaby Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement Working Group has dedicated the past two years of consultation and collaborative dialogue to the creation of this second Agreement. Three areas of focus emerged. Cultural development, social emotional development and academics will be interwoven to ensure the success of all students of Aboriginal ancestry in Burnaby schools.
Each spring, an Aboriginal Achievement Ceremony is held. Families are welcomed to share a meal with students and educators and eagle feathers are given to Aboriginal K-12 students to recognize their success in all areas of school life.
Since the first Agreement was signed in Burnaby there has been significant improvement in the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students - from 38.8% in 2008-09 to 50.8% in 2012-13.
It’s also clear that the longer Aboriginal students stay in school, the better their chance at graduating. In 2012-13, nearly all Aboriginal students in grade 12 graduated - at 95%, the highest number ever.
Roberta Price, Elder -
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of parents, students and staff within the Burnaby School District in moving from our first Enhancement Agreement to our second. This demonstrates how community can come and work together in a good way. It is important to our students and to our community that Aboriginal history and culture become a valued part of school life for all students and we appreciate that this is beginning to happen in a meaningful way in Burnaby.”
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
“Premier Clark recently recognized the working group on Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements by inducting them into the B.C. Public Service Hall of Excellence. By championing the importance of traditional culture, heritage and languages, these Agreements are working to encourage Aboriginal students to stay in school so that they have the opportunity to graduate.”
Baljinder Narang, Burnaby board chair -
“Since the signing of our first agreement in 2008, Aboriginal Education in Burnaby Schools has built a strong foundation. Thank you to those who have come together in partnership to strengthen that foundation, to ensure that all our students of Aboriginal ancestry have the opportunity to maximize their full potential.”
- The Burnaby school district is located on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.
- The district has an Aboriginal student population of 856 which represents 3.4% of the total number of students in the district.
- More Aboriginal students in B.C. are completing high school than ever before as the six-year completion rate has climbed by almost 30% (or 13.5 percentage points) from 45.9% in 2002-03 to 59.4% in 2012-13.
- Estimated provincial funding for Aboriginal education in the BC public K-12 school system is $63.9 million for the 2014-15 school year.
Burnaby School District Aboriginal Education: http://www.sd41.bc.ca/aboriginal_education/index.htm
Aboriginal Education: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed
BC’s Education Plan: http://www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education