Aboriginal student learning, success and well-being are the focus of the third Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement signed today between the Ministry of Education, the Peace River South school district (SD 59) and the local Aboriginal community.
A signing ceremony, including traditional drumming and singing, was held today at Dawson Creek Secondary to commemorate the agreement. The event also acknowledged the importance of National Aboriginal Day, an annual event providing Canadians the opportunity to learn more about First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives, wisdom, cultures and values.
The goals of the agreement are:
- Increasing Aboriginal student sense of belonging
- Increasing student self-determination through engagement that will lead to academic success
- Improving collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal families to enhance Aboriginal student achievement
These five-year agreements are a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education to work together to improve the education of Aboriginal student learners through programs and actions that support academic success and cultural awareness.
Since the last agreement was signed in 2011, graduation rates for all Aboriginal students have increased from 61% to 68% in SD 59. The increase for male students was even greater from 59% to 72%. The overall six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students throughout the province has increased from 39% to 63%, since 2000.
This agreement builds on the Government of British Columbia’s work to include Aboriginal history, culture and perspectives into B.C.’s new curriculum. Additionally, the Province has created a resource guide called Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom to help teachers bring Aboriginal content and perspectives into the classroom.
Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“Today, more Aboriginal students are staying in school, performing better on provincial exams, graduating and transitioning to post-secondary institutions and training programs. This agreement will help ensure Aboriginal students get the skills and support they need to participate in our growing economy.”
Tamara Ziemer, chair, Peace River South Board of Education –
“The Board of Education of School District No. 59 is proud of the accomplishments of our Aboriginal students. Through building relationships and developing positive experiences the Aboriginal grad rates have improved from 46% six years ago to 68% last year. We look forward to continued success under a collaborative Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement.”
Theresa DeLaRonde, Elder, Dawson Creek Aboriginal Advisory Committee –
“The Enhancement Agreement provides more opportunities than ever before, and a renewed sense of hope for Aboriginal students. The job you have now is to prepare yourself for the life you want.”
- To date, 110 Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements have been signed throughout the province.
- Fifty-six districts have at least one Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement signed, with 34 on their second, seven on their third, and two on their fourth.
- According to 2015-16 data, SD 59 has a population of 1,154 Aboriginal students of the 3,444 students in the district.
- SD 59 recognizes and acknowledges the traditional territory of the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations.
- The agreement includes input gathered from consultation with parents, First Nations bands, and Aboriginal agencies, school district and community members.
- This year, B.C. government is investing more than $66 million to support Aboriginal education.
Peace River South school district: https://www.sd59.bc.ca/
Aboriginal education: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed
B.C.’s new curriculum: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/
Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/awp_moving_forward.pdf