Aboriginal Education  - Kootenay Lake School District

Our Enhancement Agreement

What is an Enhancement Agreement?

An Enhancement Agreement (EA) is a working agreement between a school district, all local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education. EAs are designed to enhance the educational achievement of Aboriginal students. The EA establishes a collaborative partnership between Aboriginal communities and school districts that involves shared decision-making and specific goal setting to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students. EAs highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development and success. Fundamental to EAs is the requirement that school districts provide strong programs on the culture of local Aboriginal peoples on whose traditional territories the districts are located. Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements

How was the Enhancement Agreement Written?

A writing team made up of Aboriginal students and their families, representatives of the Aboriginal community including the Kootenay Region of the Metis Nation of B.C., the Lower Kootenay Band, School District #8 staff and Board Members first met in the fall of 2004 to establish protocols and priorities. During the 2005-6 school year the writing team developed a first draft of the EA. During the  2006-7 school year the draft was reviewed at meetings in each community of the School District: Creston, Nelson, Salmo, the Slocan Valley and Kaslo. A final draft was submitted to the Ministry of Education in the fall of 2007 and accepted for signing early in 2008. We are anticipating signing our Enhancment Agreement in the spring of 2008.

Why do we have an Enhancement Agreement?

The EA provides common goals and guiding principals that we all follow. The content and delivery of Aboriginal Education programs varies from school to school to meet the needs of the local community.

Who enforces the Enhancement Agreement?

The Aboriginal Education Advisory Council meets three or four times each school year to oversee the implementation of the Enhancement Agreement and provide ongoing evaluation of progress. The District Coordinator of Aboriginal Education works with teachers, Aboriginal education suppor workers, principals and district staff to help everyone understand and implement the goals of the Enhancement Agreement.

Aboriginal Education
Enhancement Agreement 

School District #8 (Kootenay Lake)

Enhancement Agreement Signing

June 21st 2008

 

Preamble

We acknowledge, respect and honour the First Nations in whose traditional territories the School District operates and all Aboriginal people residing within the boundaries of School District #8.

Purpose of the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement

The purpose of this agreement is to enhance the achievement and success of Aboriginal students in School District #8.  

Aboriginal Education Advisory Council

The Agreement will be implemented and monitored through the Aboriginal Education Advisory council. The Council (AEAC) is a partnership between the Aboriginal communities and School District #8.   Members of the council include Aboriginal students and their families and representatives of Aboriginal community including the Kootenay Region of the Metis Nation of B.C., the Lower Kootenay Band, and School District #8.   The role of the AEAC is to provide a venue for shared decision making, goal setting and communication between all Aboriginal communities and School District #8, to develop the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement and oversee its implementation and ongoing evaluation.

Guiding Vision

We value and are committed to an Enhancement Agreement that ensures multiple opportunities for Aboriginal students in an environment that respects their traditional heritages, cultures, and languages.  Education in this environment will foster individual self-esteem, security and identity while focussing on personal, holistic achievement. We believe that improved communication and relations between School District staff, Aboriginal communities and families of Aboriginal students will remove barriers for students.

Consultation and Communication

The Aboriginal Education Advisory Council is committed to ongoing consultation and communication between Aboriginal groups and the School District. Consultation with Aboriginal groups began in September 2004.  A writing committee comprised of representatives of the Aboriginal communities and School District staff was formed in 2005 and a draft Agreement was developed in the 2005-6 school year. In 2006-7 the draft agreement was presented to the communities for input and consultation.

 


 The Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement focuses our commitment to build a school community that:

 

  • Provides opportunities for Aboriginal learners to improve their educational achievement and success.
  • Celebrates the accomplishments of Aboriginal learners.
  • Provides opportunities for Aboriginal students to explore and learn about their heritage and the cultures of other Aboriginal groups.
  • Celebrates and acknowledges Aboriginal culture as an integral part of our schools and learning for all students.
  • Employs Aboriginal role models and encourages all staff to be culturally aware so that students and parents of Aboriginal ancestry feel welcomed, honoured and respected.
  • Commits to ongoing engagement and shared goal setting with the Aboriginal communities through the Aboriginal Education Advisory Council.

Performance Goals and Objectives

 

In order to achieve the following goal we commit to making Aboriginal cultures a visible and dynamic presence in every school setting.

 

Goal #1: Enhance the Aboriginal student’s sense of belonging and improve self-esteem.

Rationale: We believe that increased awareness of Aboriginal cultures, histories and languages will enhance the learner’s sense of belonging and improve self-esteem. A positive sense of self-esteem is critical for academic and social success.

Indicators of success:

- Increase in the number of students getting independent directed study credit for Aboriginal languages.

- Increase in Aboriginal student participation in extra-curricular activities.

- Increase in the number of positive responses from Aboriginal students & parents on school satisfaction surveys on questions relating to school satisfaction & positive self-esteem.

- Increased participation by Aboriginal students in school activities

Targets

Baseline data will be determined during the first year of the agreement and targets set for the following year.

To help meet our commitments to support this goal we will also track:

  • The number of cultural activities available to students at school.
  • The number of students involved in cultural activities in school.
  • The number of staff participating in professional development opportunities related to Aboriginal cultures.
  • Parent/Teacher interview attendance by Aboriginal Students and their families.
  • Aboriginal parent participation on school and district committees.

 

Goal #2: To improve the academic success of all Aboriginal students.

 

Objective #1: Improve achievement in reading, writing and comprehension at all levels

Rationale:  We believe that literacy is the key to success and improved student self-esteem.

Indicators of Success

  • Grade 10, 11 and 12 Provincial exam results.
  • Grade 12 English, Communications and First Nations Studies enrolment and exam results.
  • Grade 1, 3, 6 and 9 District writing assessments.
  • Grade 2, 5 & 8 District reading assessments.
  • Grade 3 District numeracy assessment.
  • Grade 4 and 7 FSA results.

 

Targets

Baseline data will be determined during the first year of the agreement and targets set for the following year.

Objective #2:  Increase the rates of Aboriginal students who complete successful graduation

Rationale: We believe that students who meet their school goals will have increased opportunities and options in their futures.

Indicators of Success

  • Six-year graduation rates.
  • Long-term achievement of individual school & career goals based on surveys of students one year after leaving secondary school.
  • Enrolment & completion rates for Principles of Math 11, Applications of Math 11 and Essentials of Math 11.
  • Number of Aboriginal students receiving school awards at graduation.
  • The number of Aboriginal students making successful grade to grade transitions from grades 7-12.
  • The number of Aboriginal students entering post-secondary institutions.

Targets

Baseline data will be determined during the first year of the agreement and targets set for the following year.


Goal #3: Increase the number of Aboriginal students who are making positive lifestyle choices to support and enhance their academic achievement.

 

Rationale:  We believe that all students, in order to be successful, need to live healthy life styles.

Indicators of Success

  • Increased Aboriginal student participation in extra-curricular and optional school programs.
  • Increased Aboriginal student retention rates.
  • Increased Aboriginal student involvement with community support services based on number of referrals to outside agencies by School District staff.
  • Increased number of positive responses from Aboriginal students and parents on survey questions about lifestyle choices.

Targets

Baseline data will be determined during the first year of the agreement and targets set for the following year.


Implementation

Year one - four: 2008-2009, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12:

  • Establish baseline data and set targets.
  • Maintain and develop programs and strategies that are working for student success & achievement.
  • Monitor results through performance indicators.
  • Revise short & long term priorities as appropriate.

 

Year five: 2012-13:

  • Re-engage with the Aboriginal communities and begin the process of developing a new Enhancement Agreement.
  • Review and evaluate the Agreement.
  • Identify areas of growth and celebrate successes.
  • Identify current areas of need and make changes to the Agreement as required.
  • Develop new Enhancement Agreement.

Accountability

The Aboriginal Education Advisory Council will meet four times each school year to oversee the implementation of the Enhancement Agreement and provide ongoing evaluation of progress. Targets will be reviewed and updated each year to reflect changes in the schools and communities. The continued engagement of Aboriginal communities will help the Council assess our success to meeting targets and identify new strategies. The Aboriginal Education Advisory Council, in consultation with the Aboriginal communities will develop an Annual Report to be completed each year.

.

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to all the Aboriginal elders, students, parents, community members, teachers, principals and School District staff who gave their time, energy and hearts to the writing of this agreement.


Appendix Number One: Strategies to Support Goals

 

Strategies to support Goal #1  Enhance the Aboriginal learner’s sense of belonging and improve self-esteem.

  • Invite Aboriginal elders or their representatives to volunteer in planning and presenting programs and materials to students
  • Encourage schools to grant secondary independent directed study credit for knowledge of Ktunaxa and other Aboriginal languages.
  • Schedule professional development opportunities for staff to increase their awareness of Aboriginal cultures, histories and current events.
  • Establish and maintain visible support programs in every school with Aboriginal enrolment.
  • Support communication between schools and staffs to encourage sharing of resources and expertise between Aboriginal programs.
  • Implement anti- racism programs in the schools, district and communities. For example, bring Lateral Violence workshops into the schools and communities.
  • Include relevant Aboriginal content in school newsletters & websites and ensure visible, public space in schools dedicated to Aboriginal students & communities.
  • Encourage Aboriginal Education support workers to establish regular contact with all families and act as a liaison between families and school staff if required.
  • Encourage teachers to make positive contact with the families of Aboriginal students.
  • Involve families of Aboriginal students in setting goals and priorities for the Aboriginal Education program.

Strategies to support Goal #2:  To improve the academic success of all Aboriginal students.

Objective #1: Improve achievement in reading, writing and comprehension at all levels.

  • Increase staff awareness of diverse learning styles and allow students to represent learning in a variety of ways.
  • Increase the use of books and materials with relevant Aboriginal content.
  • Support partnerships & involvement in preschool readiness and literacy programs for all ages (including adults).
  • Support strategies such as SMART learning which have proven to be successful for all students.

Objective #2:  Increase the rates of Aboriginal students who complete a successful graduation program.

  • Allow students to use culturally adapted materials and to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
  • Encourage students in Grades 10-12 to apply for external credit and independent directed studies credit for activities and programs they are involved in outside the regular school system.
  • Increase support to students in transitions between schools.
  • Celebrate the successes of Aboriginal students, past and present.

Strategies to support Goal #3:  Increase the number of Aboriginal students who are making positive life style choices

  • Encourage students to make positive life-style choices by providing information about and access to community support services. (addictions support, drug and alcohol information, information about STD’s and diabetes, teen pregnancy support).
  • Provide positive Aboriginal role models in the school setting.
  •  Refer students at all levels to Student Services and outside agencies for relevant assessments and support with IEP’s as required.
  •  Increase staff awareness of FASD and teaching strategies for working with Aboriginal students affected by FASD.