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Central Okanagan schools outline education plan for Indigenous learners

The five-year plan is expected to be finalized and implemented early next year
Central Okanagan district principal Joanne Deguevara outlined the plan to the committee on Wednesday night

Central Okanagan Public Schools has outlined a draft agreement between Okanagan First Nation groups and the province to help incorporate more Indigenous curriculum in local schools.

At a student services committee meeting Wednesday night, Joanne DeGuevara, the Central Okanagan district principal of Indigenous education, outlined the district’s five-year plan to implement the “Equity in Action Agreement.”

The plan is based off of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action and was also created with the help of a newly-formed committee that gathered data for the report during a two-year consultation process.

READ MORE: Westbank First Nation unveils new $9 million renovated school

The draft agreement includes a commitment from the district to create a multi-year equity committee to review and report regularly on Indigenous cultural learning initiatives, create and expand existing Elders in Residence programs in local schools to make Indigenous knowledge keepers more accessible for students and implement culturally responsive interventions to help more students graduate.

DeGeuvara said the draft could be tweaked before a final plan is passed by the school board and implemented early next year.

“Some of these things could be changed anytime as well. We’re still working with administrators and the board on it. Within the learning environment and school culture, this is about having a strong Indigenous culture in every school.”

According to the draft agreement, there are approximately 2,700 Indigenous learners in the Central Okanagan school system.

Indigenous groups included in the agreement include the Westbank First Nation, the Okanagan Indian Band and five other First Nation’s groups.


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