Why is there an Aboriginal Education Department? The Ministry of Education provides specific funding to school age students of Aboriginal ancestry. Enhanced funding provides culturally appropriate educational programs and services to support the success of Aboriginal students.
What is the purpose of the Aboriginal Education student identification form? Funding for the programs relies on self-identification of students and parent consent. Self-identification needs to be completed by students newly registered to a school.
Why do I get another consent form every year if I have already filled out a self-identification form for my child? Each year we are required to confirm that parents still want their child to participate in programs and services. We will assume you want your child to continue to receive service unless you decline service by returning the “ABED Programs and Services OPT OUT”.
What are Aboriginal Education programs and services? Programs and services may include activities such as Métis camp, Aboriginal dance, visit to the fish hatchery, work with an Aboriginal artist, visits with elders, presentations by First Nations experts on the history of treaties, canoe races or Hul’q’umi’num language lessons. Students may also be offered services that help them with challenges they face in successfully completing school. This support might include counseling, homework support, or a daily check in with the Aboriginal student support worker.
Who can participate in the programs? Most of the time, programs and services are offered to the whole class but sometimes they are extra curricular opportunities for individuals or small groups of students. An example of this is the annual leadership conference where Aboriginal students from throughout the district come together for 2-3 days of workshops designed to foster leadership skills in a culturally responsive environment. Parents are always informed about the activities where students will be away from their regular class and they have the choice of giving permission or not.
Who provides the service? There are over thirty ABED staff members working at schools throughout the district. In the department there are 9 culture and language teaching assistants (CTA’s) who work alongside classroom teachers to weave Aboriginal history, culture and perspective into the curriculum. They also help to educate the staff in regards to Aboriginal ways of knowing and being. We also have 15 Aboriginal student support workers (ASW’s) who help bridge the communication between school and home, and who provide students with extra support in a variety of ways. There are 10 ABED teachers who also work with students, families and teachers to support the success of our Aboriginal students.
I have other questions that I am curious about. Who do I contact? Please feel free to contact Donna Beardsely, the secretary for the ABED department at 250 748 0321 ext 235 and she will be happy to direct you to the best person to talk to.