System Coordination and Community Consultation
The York Region District School Board has two committees that provide system coordination and community consultation regarding the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework - the First Nations Liaison Committee and the Indigenous Education Advisory Council.
First Nation Liaison Committee
The First Nation Liaison Committee meets twice annually to review and update the Tuition Education Services Agreement between the YRDSB and The Chippewas of Georgina Island.
Language revitalization is a priority of our partnership for the next five years. Working with Georgian College and neighbouring First Nation Communities, we are supporting our language teachers by creating collaborative opportunities for gatherings to share best practices and resources.
Indigenous Education Advisory Council
The Indigenous Education Advisory Council (IEAC) membership includes:
- system leaders
- school principals
- curriculum advisors
- the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Transition Liaison
- representatives of the First Nation community of Georgina Island
- parents and students
The IEAC provides guidance to address the learning and cultural needs of students. It works to increase accurate and reliable knowledge of cultures, histories and perspectives with the goal to increase student achievement and improve student well-being. This committee also reviews the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement, Trustees’ Multi Year Plan and Director’s Annual Plan to ensure alignment between committee, Ministry and Board directives.
The vision of the IEAC is:
- We believe that all students can be successful.
- We believe that by honouring the rich histories, language and cultures of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, we will foster a safe and inclusive learning environment.
- We believe that by meeting our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students’ spiritual, emotional, physical and mental needs and by affirming pride in cultural identity, we will encourage all students to reach their full potential.
Voluntary Indigenous Self-Identification Process
The number of students who have self-identified with Indigenous ancestry has increased since June 2017 to 356 students. Our strategies to encourage voluntary self identification of students include:
- Creating a supportive community of learning for educators, staff, students, parents and community partners to build competency around integrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing and worldview in a good way;
- Increasing awareness and understanding among school administrators and support staff of the self-identification process;
- Increasing and improving communication to parents, students, and the community regarding self-identification, and specifically the benefits to students in self-identifying, by providing a brochure to all students and information in school newsletters;
- Revising our methods to monitor the achievement patterns for self-identified students;
- Developing and mobilizing our system supports to address the needs of self-identified students;
- Building student advisory programs to increase cultural awareness among our K–12 students through a variety of activities and leadership opportunities; and
- Increasing classroom resources and supports that reflect Indigenous peoples and provide contemporary perspective.
Cultural Competency Learning Opportunities: Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Calls to Action #63
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has called on educators to build “student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” and identify “teacher-training needs” relating to that goal (TRC Call To Action #63).
As a result, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit team has organized multiple learning opportunities for YRDSB staff, educators and administrators through the Woodland Cultural Centre, Enaahtig Healing Lodge, Georgina Island First Nations, Kinomaagaye Gaamik and Dr. Susan Dion during the 2017-18 school year. Staff, educators and administrators are immersed in learning opportunities delivered by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and exploring their own mindsets with respect to Indigenous Ways of Knowing while gaining an understanding of the land our Board is on.
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education through Collaborative Inquiry
For the 2017-18 school year, a Junior Collaborative Inquiry continues between Waabgon Gamig and Morning Glory Public School. The schools are participating in a twinning project that focuses on supporting transitions through exploring mathematics in loom beading. The First Nations, Métis and Inuit team, Curriculum and Instructional Services, Georgina Island Community members and staff from the Ministry of Education are collaborating to provide support and ongoing professional learning.
The Collaborative Inquiries are supporting a total of 75 students and 5 classroom teachers, including the Anishinaabemowin teacher from Waabgon Gamig and Morning Glory PS. The activities and learning are supported with a First Nations community member leading the learning and it further supports all curricular areas with authentic culture and worldviews.
Staff Support of the Implementation of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework and YRDSB Policy
Staff support the implementation of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework and YRDSB policy through various roles, including:
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Consultants
- Support teachers’ and administrators’ abilities to incorporate meaningful First Nations, Métis, and Inuit ways of knowing and historical contexts that are reflective of contemporary Indigenous perspectives when planning instruction;
- Support teachers and administrators in adopting a variety of approaches and tools to teach and assess Indigenous students more effectively;
- Support teachers and administrators in accessing resources and instructional approaches related to the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework; and
- Work with Curriculum and Instructional Services to ensure that contemporary Indigenous worldview is integrated throughout all curriculum.
Indigenous Transition Liaison
- Works with teachers and administrators of Waabgon Gamig First Nations School, Black River PS, Morning Glory PS, Sutton PS, Deer Park PS and Sutton DHS to assess and support transitions;
- Works in partnership with the Georgina Island First Nations to enhance student success;
- Provides direct student and family support for those students who experience difficulty in the transition process;
- Collects and maintains accurate data and records to support the creation of a strategic plan to address the ongoing transition needs of Indigenous students;
- Acts as an advocate for First Nations students, parents/guardians, the Band Council, First Nations Education staff and school personnel in supporting student success; and
- Engages school staff, parents and community members in restorative practices.
Indigenous Student Facilitators
- Collaborate with community partners to provide supports for student achievement and well-being for our self-identified Indigenous students;
- Develop student cultural awareness, leadership skills, peer mentorship and student advisory skills;
- Advocate for students, parents/guardians and school personnel in supporting student success;
- Works with individual students as a mentor to implement school and classroom supports;
- Engage student families in the work to support students; and
- Support the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Team in coordinating regional events.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Coordinator
- Provides system leadership for implementation of YRDSB Policy and Procedure #601 Supports for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Students;
- Provides leadership in implementation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Strategic Plan;
- Supports the implementation of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework; and
- Promotes student enrolment in Native Language and Native Studies programs.
Updated December 2017