First Nations students benefit from partnership between Northland School Division and Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council
Governments of Canada and Alberta support agreement.
Students from four First Nations in northern Alberta attending on reserve or public schools within the Northland School Division will benefit from an innovative education agreement between Northland and the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council.
Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, Northland School Division will share education programming, resources and services with schools in the Kee Tas Kee Now tribal area. These services and supports include special education programming, technology support and professional development opportunities for teachers not always previously available in the schools.
“This agreement is all about the children and working closer with our neighbors,” said Arthur Noskey, Chief for Loon River First Nation and Grand Chief of the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council. “This is about improving the supports for our schools so our children get a better chance.”
“From a Northland School Division perspective we are very excited about this partnership,” said Collin Kelly, Official Trustee for Northland School Division. “By combining our resources and talents we are both able to offer improved educational opportunities to our students and professional supports for staff. It holds great potential for future partnerships and initiatives.”
The agreement sets the stage to provide education programs that are culturally relevant, focus on indigenous and English language literacy and numeracy skills for students, allow for smooth transitions between First Nations and provincial schools, and strategies to ensure high school completion. Other initiatives include sustained student, parent and community engagement and sharing of knowledge, learning and best practices in First Nations education.
“The Government of Canada believes that cooperation and collaboration is essential to improving the educational outcomes of First Nation students. Partnerships, such as this one, are a tangible example of the commitment of all partners to put First Nation children first and ensure they have access to the quality education they need to build a successful future for themselves and their communities,” said John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
“The Government of Alberta supports any initiative that improves education outcomes for First Nations students in Alberta,” said Alberta Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. “Kee Tas Kee Now students and schools will have greater access to education resources and supports that are available to other Albertans.”
The provincial and federal governments support the agreement as a positive step to improve education outcomes for First Nations students. It is hoped that this will encourage other agreements between other First Nations schools and provincial school jurisdictions.
Northlands School Division and the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council have pledged to work closely with both levels of government to ensure a successful implementation of this agreement.
Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council is an advisory organization for the Loon River Cree, Whitefish Lake, Woodland Cree and Peerless-Trout First Nations. Northland School Division governs 23 schools in northern Alberta communities. Approximately 95 percent of students attending Northland School Division are Aboriginal.
A copy of the partnership agreement is available online at: www.education.alberta.ca.
Editor’s note: photographs available upon request.
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Glen Luff, Director, Communications