NationTalk: Alberta’s government will provide more than $10 million to Indigenous partners through the new Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program.
Alberta Education is committed to improving education outcomes and creating opportunities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. Creating welcoming environments, demonstrating cultural awareness and providing system supports through the Bridging Classrooms to Communities program will help support Indigenous students’ success in and out of the classroom.
This new pilot program will help Indigenous partners such as the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) build relationships with local school authorities to advance reconciliation and support the hiring of community connection workers to strengthen student relationships with Indigenous communities.
“This is an important step forward in advancing reconciliation. Alberta’s United Conservative government takes reconciliation seriously and this small but important step will help bring Indigenous communities and school authorities closer together. As Alberta’s minister of education, I firmly believe that the path to reconciliation starts with education, and I will work to ensure that happens.”
Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education
The new Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program will provide $10.5 million over three years. ANFCA will receive $7.5 million to distribute to friendship centres within their network. The remaining $3 million is earmarked for eligible Indigenous organizations to support community connection projects in urban and rural areas across Alberta.
By creating meaningful connections, this pilot program will help Indigenous students and their families feel heard, respected and involved in Alberta schools.
Recipients will receive up to $100,000 per year to hire community connection workers who will work with school authorities to:
- Develop Indigenous-centered school events, programs and supports.
- Provide guidance to teachers and school leaders to strengthen communication with Indigenous students, families and communities.
- Make timely referrals to external support systems and services.
- Improve access to transportation, technology, tutoring, social activities, sports and other supports and services.
“Alberta’s government is pleased to fund this pilot program that will help build relationships between community partners and create new opportunities in education for Indigenous students. These meaningful connections will help provide excellent opportunities for Indigenous students to feel heard and receive support to excel at school and in life now and in the future.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
“With this support from Alberta Education, friendship centres are able to weave Indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive educational supports to increase positive learning environments and urban Indigenous students’ academic and future success.”
Len Morissette, president, Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association
Grant applications will open later this summer and successful applicants will receive funding in the fall.
Alberta’s government is committed to reconciliation and Indigenous-led solutions that result in meaningful change and a better future for all.
- Friendship centres provide cultural programs and services to respond to the unique needs of Indigenous people in urban and rural communities across Canada.
- The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association is a provincial association of the 21 friendship centres within the province.
- The pilot program is expected to support up to 35 community connection projects in schools across Alberta.