by Morinville News Staff

The Alberta School Boards Association announced June 22 it had signed a Government of Alberta Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous education on behalf of the province’s 61 publicly-funded school boards.

The ASBA cites the signing as helping to further the goals of better student achievement results and establishing inclusive learning environments for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

“Together with our education partners we are signing an historic and significant agreement,” said ASBA President Helen Clease in a release Wednesday. “School boards across the province have been concerned about the gap in FNMI student achievement and success, and we have been working together with our education partners to close that gap. This agreement will enable us to support school boards across Alberta as they work within their school divisions to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit student achievement and establish inclusive learning environments.”

The ASBA Board of Directors established a Task Force on First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Success and Wellbeing in 2010. The task force was expanded a year later to include representatives from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), the Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA), the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia (ARPDC), the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) and Alberta Education. In 2014, the task force established the annual Indigenous Shining Student Award, celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit students who are shining examples in their communities.

Under the commitment to action, school board trustees will be expected to understand, support and implement locally-appropriate curriculum that supports the culture, history, perspectives, experiences and contributions of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

“To support our trustees in that role, ASBA will design, develop and implement professional learning opportunities and resource materials for school boards and trustees, and we are very excited about this opportunity,” Clease said. “We will also continue to work collaboratively with our education partners, Alberta Education and First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives to ensure that Indigenous regional context, foundational knowledge and culture are promoted, understood and respected.”

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