Tuesday, November 30, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 48 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
Return to Home Page
Quote of the Week
“If I compare the Crowsnest Pass to Fernie ... I don’t think there is sufficient opportunity.”
- Nichole Yanota  
- Local artist   


The Livingstone Range School Division was the recipient of the Alberta School Board Association’s Public Engagement Award on Monday, November 22, in recognition of its efforts in addressing the achievement gap for First Nations students, and getting communities involved in education.
Nine school boards from across the province participated in the initiative, which is new this year, with the winner being announced at the ASBA Annual General Meeting in Edmonton on November 22.
“One of the goals of education, overall, is to get the public more engaged,” said LRSD Chairman Dick Peterson.
This year, the school board formulated a plan to address issues with educational achievement prevalent among the First Nations students it serves.
“These students just aren’t achieving the way other students are, and there is really no reason for it,” said Peterson. “We hope that this (plan) will make a difference in the achievement of our aboriginal students.”
Peterson said the school board researched the data on achievement among First Nations students, as well as assembled focus groups in two communities, and asked members what concerns they had, what improvements could be made, and what the board should do to address these issues.
The board also met with educational advisors from local Peigan reserves, and plan to continue meeting with them about joint ventures and shared issues and concerns.
The board then took all of the information it had gathered, and assembled it into its Enhancing First Nation Success and Achievement Plan, which will be carried out over the next two years.
Some of the key action themes addressed in the plan include: hiring First Nations staff in teaching and administrative positions; improving parental involvement by educating parents about the school environment and starting aboriginal parent and student councils; providing cultural programs to students and teachers in order to promote knowledge and understanding of the Blackfood/Peigan communities; improving communication between students, teachers and parents; and adding increased support among all three groups.
The plan also states the desired outcomes of the plan: First Nations students having a strong sense of belonging and identity reflected through engagement with the school; parents having a strong sense of belonging and empowerment; staff having a better understanding of Blackfoot culture and their students; and a formal jurisdictional mechanism for collaborating with First Nations communities.
Peterson says that early in the new year, the school board will develop an advisory council, comprised of First Nations people, which will ensure that the board stays on track and addresses the interests and needs of its students.
He says that addition work is still being done on the plan, and that it will continue to be an ongoing process.
“In addition, many of our schools are doing things right now to improve the achievement of their aboriginal students,” he said, commending W.A. Day School in Fort Macleod, which he says has been doing a lot of good working with students in lower grades.
“We have had really good results for students in Grade 3 and Grade 5 in Fort Macleod for Language Arts,” he said. “It’s very encouraging.”
The LRSD serves 15 public schools and 12 Hutterite colony schools, with two schools in Nanton, one in Stavely, two in Claresholm, one in Granum, three in Fort Macleod, two in Pincher Creek, one in Lundbreck, and three in the Crowsnest Pass.
Return to Home Page
   Volume 80 - Issue 48 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
All information on this website is Copyright (c) 2010 Pass Herald Ltd. All rights reserved.
12925 20th Ave, Box 960, Blairmore, Alberta, Canada T0K 0E0
| passherald@shaw.ca
403.562.2248 | 403.562.8379 (FAX)