Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 7: Education (6-12)

SD73, Aboriginal Education Council sign agreement to support Indigenous students

February 23, 2024

NationTalk: – The Kamloops-Thompson school district’s board of education and the Aboriginal Education Council have inked a fifth aboriginal education enhancement agreement, which they say will serve as a five-year roadmap to support aboriginal learners.

Diane Jules, chair of the Aboriginal Education Council and SD73 trustee, said the district was one of the first to sign such an agreement more than 20 years ago.

She said the agreement is a commitment on behalf of the school district to ensure aboriginal students succeed, laying out outcomes, goals and strategies for student success.

“The meaning of the enhancement agreement really is to focus on the success of our students and how are we going to achieve the success of our students, and really a partnership with our First Nations communities that are part of our school district,” Jules said.

“Our ultimate goal of this agreement is to enact the commitments to ensure the Aboriginal students achieve ultimately and thrive in our school communities.”

Jules credited the formation of the Aboriginal Education Council nearly 30 years ago for the inception of the first agreement.

In the 2022-23 academic year, SD73 saw a 19.4 per cent spike in its five-year completion rate of status on-reserve students and saw Indigenous students overall average 12.1 per cent above the provincial average.

SD73 board chair Heather Grieve said she believes the enhancement agreements are “absolutely” a part of the increased completion rates. “It allows for dollars to be allocated for a targeted funds to help students improve that school experience engagement and their outcomes as well in terms of graduation. So our goal always is for Aboriginal and Metis students to graduate with dogwoods,” she said.

“Looking at things being based on the circle of courage in terms of that idea of belonging, independence, generosity, and you really look at that and being sort of the cornerstone of what students need to be able to thrive within our system.”

Grieve commended Jules with much of the board’s success, crediting her with ensuring the board of education is informed and education on issues that affect Indigenous populations.