Vancouver School Board has renewed its commitment to improving Aboriginal student success with the signing of the second Vancouver Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement.
Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam First Nation, Mike Lombardi, chairperson of the Vancouver Board of Education, Scott Robinson, superintendent of schools at Vancouver School District, and Colleen Hannah, Enhancement Agreement Coordinator at the Ministry of Education, were among eight signatories to the new agreement that runs through to June 2021.
The agreement commits the parties to creating a learning environment where Aboriginal students can achieve success, and where Aboriginal culture is integrated in public schools.
There are three goals within the agreement:
To increase Aboriginal students' sense of pride, self-esteem, belonging, place, acceptance and caring in their schools.
To ensure Aboriginal students achieve increased academic success in Vancouver schools and that they participate fully and successfully from kindergarten through the completion of Grade 12
Culture and Community
To increase knowledge, awareness, appreciation of, and respect for Aboriginal histories, traditions, cultures and contributions from all students through eliminating institutional, cultural and individual racism within the Vancouver school district learning communities.
The second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement builds upon the first agreement, signed in 2009. The first agreement led to a number of changes in the school district, including the embedding of Aboriginal education services within schools, the creation of the Aboriginal Focus School at Macdonald Elementary and the establishment of an annual Grade 12 Aboriginal student district retreat. Results from the first agreement included increased awareness of Aboriginal culture among students and staff, establishment of an annual First Peoples Festival and closer connections with Aboriginal community organizations and post-secondary institutions.