Traditional singing, dancing and cultural performances are taking place at W.L. Seaton Secondary school this evening to celebrate the first Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (AEEA) for the Vernon school district (SD 22).
The agreement was signed after two years of dedicated consultations and dialogue between representatives from the Okanagan Indian Band, the Vernon & District Metis Association, the First Nations Friendship Centre, the Ministry of Education and SD 22.
The agreement focuses on four goals: communication, diversity, identity and vision. It also highlights the importance of academic performance and stresses the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development.
The Ministry of Education and SD 22 both recognize and acknowledge the traditional territory of the Syilx Nation and in particular the Okanagan Indian Band. SD 22’s first AEEA will set the foundation for continued Aboriginal student success and will integrate Aboriginal content for all students over the next five years.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
“Vernon’s first agreement not only strengthens the positive work they’ve accomplished - it highlights their commitment to Aboriginal language and culture as we move forward.”
Kelly Smith, Vernon school district, board chair -
"Our Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement will engage our entire community, with a focus on all of our Aboriginal students specifically. It will also open windows of learning for every student as part of our inclusive public school system. There is much to learn and much to share and the AEEA is just the beginning of this journey together."
Penny Lawrence, Elder, Okanagan Indian Band -
“This is a good first start for the children and this will give us all insight and knowledge of what we want for the future.”
Jami Tonasket, chair, Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement -
“The Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement reflects the “voices” of Aboriginal students, parents, families, Elders and SD 22 employees. The ongoing collaboration by all partners will greatly support the success of all students.”
- An AEEA is a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education, to work together to support Aboriginal student success.
- The six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students in SD 22 has increased from 61% in 2009-10 to 70.9% in 2013-14. The provincial six-year completion rate has climbed to a record high 62%.
- SD 22 has an Aboriginal population of 1209 Aboriginal students of the 8246 total number of students in the district (based on 2014-15 head count data).
- To date, 55 school districts have at least one agreement signed.
- Provincial funding for Aboriginal education in the BC public K-12 school system is $64.1 million for the 2014-15 school year, more than $1,160 per student.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education