School District 23 Superintendent Hugh Gloster signs the second Central Okanagan School District Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement.

Agreement to enhance aboriginal education in Central Okanagan

The second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement aims to improve the success of all aboriginal students over the next five years.



School district representatives, politicians and aboriginal students gathered at the Sensisyusten House of Learning gymnasium in Westbank Wednesday to celebrate the second five-year enhancement agreement  to improve education for aboriginal students.

The five-year agreements are a commitment by school districts, local aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education to work together to support aboriginal learners.

Moyra Baxter, chairperson of School District 23’s Board of Education, said the original agreement brought significant progress.

Academic supports—such as tutors in middle and secondary schools, breakfast and homework clubs—and unique programs such as the Academy of Indigenous Studies and Aboriginal Student Leadership courses have helped aboriginal students feel more connected to their schools.

“The Aboriginal Education Program has supplied me with amazing opportunities,” said Saige-Taylor Werstuik, a Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary student.

“It has introduced me to things I never thought I would do, or even things I never thought I’d be interested in.”

Grade 12 MBSS student Quentin Scott said he was grateful for those who helped him get through three tough years of high school by helping with difficult subjects and making sure he attended classes.

Baxter noted the second agreement will continue to focus on student achievement.

“This is a recommitment to working together on behalf of our students,” said Baxter.

“Over the past five years our graduation rates have gone up.

“That’s really positive because we don’t want to see any disparity between our aboriginal students and our other students.”

She added a spinoff benefit has been non-aboriginal students have gotten the opportunity to learn about aboriginal culture.

There are currently 2,228 aboriginal students in the Central Okanagan School District for the 2013-14 school year, making up 11 per cent of the overall student population.

Wednesday’s ceremony began with a grand march, featuring dancing by Central Okanagan School District aboriginal students, and concluded with the official signing ceremony.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Pauline Terbasket, executive director with Okanagan Nation Alliance, who was speaking on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“It’s been a hard journey, and continues to be a struggle. But what an opportunity this brings us. It demonstrates that journey of coming along and finding ways and means to work together…for the better of our children.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Twitter: @PatersonWade

 

Just Posted

Rockets’ Foote signs entry deal with new NHL team

Foote was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 21

Car crashed into building in West Kelowna

No one inside, nor the driver was injured

HIV tests now part of most Emergency Department blood work

There are up to 15 per cent of “HIV-positive individuals who are unaware of their HIV status.”

Kelowna marathoner bests former Canucks at Vancouver race

Vik Bains raced Daniel and Henrik Sedin and finished just ahead at the 2019 Scotiabank Half Marathon

COSAR rescues hiker from Okanagan Mountain Park

The woman hurt her ankle and was unable to walk out without the help of the team

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

Tolko donation helps build new Okanagan daycare

The Early Years Daycare Centre is scheduled to open at the end of summer 2019

40 cats, kittens surrendered in apparent animal hoarding at Vancouver home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Collision closes Highway 1 west of Salmon Arm

A motor-vehicle accident has closed Highway 1 in both directions west of… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

New river channel shuttle service in the South Okanagan

Company launches this Friday and offers services within City of Penticton limits

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Trail Alliance to oversee Sicamous-to-Armstrong rail trail planning

Regional district relies on non-profit organization’s expertise on trail projects

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Most Read