First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Students: Education for Reconciliation
Greater St. Albert Catholic Division is focused on meeting Alberta Education’s mandate to ensure high quality learning and achievement experiences for all children. Not all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students are meeting expectations of success compared to other students in the province. Therefore, the ministry is requesting that school jurisdictions “set bold targets, implement strategies, monitor student success, and take corrective actions where results are not achieved” (Alberta Education Business Plan, March 17, 2016, pp.33-34).
In Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students are exceeding provincial targets on achievement exams, diploma exams, high school drop-out and post-secondary transition rates. Even though our students are experiencing success in these ways, we have set bold targets using individual student learning profiles to ensure that every student will have more supports than they may have had in the past to excel and to transition into post-secondary by writing and succeeding on diploma exams.
To keep this promise of ensuring success for every First Nations, Métis, and Inuit student, we are committed to achieving these strategies in our Student-Focused School Improvement Plan 2019-2020, which is based on our Division Three-Year Education Plan for 2019-2022.
- use Gallup Student Poll Survey results to set goals to increase hope, engagement, entrepreneurial aspirations, and career and financial literacy;
- work through innovative partnerships between home and school to address push/pull factors;
- learn how to take an active role in Truth and Reconciliation;
- learn with resources (e.g., Indigenous literature, prayer table artifacts) and strategies suggested by the Advisory committee;
- learn with their parents about the Division’s work in Truth and Reconciliation through the Leadership Committee;
- engage in meaningful activities on National Indigenous Peoples Day as part of Truth and Reconciliation.
Over the last three years, we have established two committees to achieve the strategies above. Our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Advisory Committee, which is comprised of teachers, administrators, district staff, and community partners (Alexander First Nation, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium, Centre for Global Education, Star of the North). These committee members, with their diverse identities and backgrounds, are collaboratively focused on working with all staff to understand and carry out the “Education for Reconciliation” strategies. These strategies are part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (2015). We have a second committee, our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Leadership Committee, which is comprised of superintendents from Alexander First Nation and from our division, trustees from our jurisdiction, and community health providers who are committed to serving First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students’ needs. This committee is focused on developing partnerships between home and school by working with outside agencies and community partners (Alexander First Nation, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium, Centre for Global Education, Star of the North) and parents in our school communities to develop suggestions about the best ways to work with parents to carry forward learning about Calls to Action in our Truth and Reconciliation mandate.