More than 30 parents, teachers, support workers, caregivers and Coast Mountains School District staff gathered here Dec. 9 to consider ways to improve the educational progress of aboriginal students.
The forum at Suwilaawks Community School was one of several sessions the school district is holding. Others are taking place in Hazelton, Kitwanga, Kitimat, Kitselas and Kitsumkalum.
District officials will also be speaking with aboriginal secondary students in January.
Those at the forum, discussed three questions in small groups, focused on
aboriginal learners: What do we want in terms of success for our learners? What do we need to do in our schools and district to achieve success? How will we know if we are achieving success?
After sharing the discussion highlights, ideas were posted in the school hallway, and each person was given stickers to mark the top five answers to each question. Comments from the meetings will be used to aid the district in developing an Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement, which is a five-year commitment about how it will work toward success for all aboriginal students.
Below are some of the ideas discussed at the public meeting:
What is success?
- attendance, students happy at school and engaged in learning
- all students graduating, not having to upgrade to go into post secondary
- motivated to achieve a high standard
- parents involved all the way through
- knowing how to properly use technology and not rely on it
- knowing and owning their culture, language, traditions and history
- belonging, good connections with fellow students and staff
- same level of understanding for aboriginal and non-aboriginal students
What should schools do?
- more invitations for parents to regularly connect with teachers
- teachers push students to succeed
- teach students how to use technology and what’s a good vs bad source of info
- identify early-on and intervene when students fall behind
- hold students back a grade if needed
- teach aboriginal culture, language and tradition and support cultural events
- get traditional language in schools with signs, greetings and posters
- be aware of individual abilities, still challenge all students to learn the basics
- connect learning to the real world
- go slower and learn deeper
- make better use of the role model program
- give multiple ways to understand a concept
- connect and build on past learning and connect different subjects