A traditional welcome and blessing set the stage at Swan-e-set Longhouse today as members of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district, the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations and the Ministry of Education officially signed their fourth Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement.
Today was the culmination of two years of consultation and dialogue between the ministry, school district, local First Nations, parents, students, the Golden Ears Métis Society and the Fraser River All Nations Aboriginal Society. The end result - a co-developed agreement that acknowledges each person in the school community is seen as inherently whole and is envisioned as a blend of spirit, mind, emotion and body.
The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district is the first in the province to reach the milestone of four agreements.
The agreement focuses on three goals:
- Continue to develop a strong sense of community for Aboriginal students and families in their schools and within SD 42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows);
- Support and improve the quality of school achievement for all Aboriginal students; and
- Transition Aboriginal students into their future learning, employment and life experiences after the completion of their secondary program.
In the past five years, the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students in SD 42 has increased from 62.9% in 2009-10 to 73.3% in 2013-14 - an increase of more than 16%. The provincial six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students climbed to a record high of 62% in 2013-14.
An Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement is a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education to work together to support Aboriginal student success.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
“More Aboriginal students are graduating today than ever before, and this is in no small part due to the tireless efforts of educators and staff in our 60 school districts and the support and guidance from local First Nations.
“These agreements are foundations for districts, First Nations and government to help Aboriginal learners strengthen ties to their traditional and school communities and support them on their journey to meaningful, successful careers.”
Doug Bing, MLA for Maple Ridge-
“Today is a historic day for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district and our local First Nations. I’m over the moon that so many distinguished leaders from our community were able to celebrate the signing of such a significant agreement.
“I want to commend School District 42, the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations and all the partners involved. They continue to demonstrate what can be accomplished when all parties work collaboratively towards the same goal and I know our schools, families and Aboriginal learners will benefit from this agreement for years to come.”
Mike Murray, board chair for Maple Ridge-
“The trustees of School District 42, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, are very proud to be signing our fourth Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement alongside our First Nation partners and the Ministry of Education. This signing speaks to both the importance of our collaborative relationship and of Aboriginal cultures to our community as a whole.
“Our agreement comes with a commitment to do whatever we can to help students achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to live fulfilled lives, sustaining themselves, their families and their communities. We look forward to working together for the next five years and beyond in the spirit embodied in this agreement.”
Robin Green, education coordinator, Katzie First Nation -
“The Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement is supported by Katzie First Nation. This document acknowledges the importance of education in our children’s lives. It empowers our Aboriginal learners, assisting them to grasp the teachings and tools for success, and allowing our children to spread their wings and explore the world of endless opportunities.”
Cheryl Gabriel, education coordinator, Kwantlen First Nation -
“We along with those important First Nations, Aboriginal, school district employees, and community partners who have signed the Enhancement Agreement are responsible and accountable to walk with our Aboriginal students towards their educational success.
“We are meant to all walk with the Aboriginal students to support, advocate, and encourage them through good and challenging times. The most important goal of all is let learning be part of the soul of the Aboriginal student.”
Joanne Foote, chair of the Fraser River All Nations Aboriginal Society -
“To see our Aboriginal youth and the school district working on this Enhancement Agreement is a wonderful journey. For every student, this is a gate opening onto a path. It will be the students who walk through the gate on a journey. Thank you to all for their dedication and hard work and caring about our youth.”
- The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district recognizes and acknowledges the traditional territory of the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations.
- In 2014-15, there are nearly 14,500 total students in the district, approximately 1,260 of whom self-identify as Aboriginal - or about 8.7%.
- In 2014-15, the Province invested approximately $64 million to support Aboriginal education in B.C. public schools. Boards of education receive $1,160 per Aboriginal student in supplemental funding, increasing to $1,195 per Aboriginal student for the 2015-16 school year.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education