What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Board and 11 First Nations renew Education Service Agreements

Rainbow District School Board and 11 First Nations have renewed Education Service Agreements. Front row, from left:  Anna-Marie Abitong, Education Director, Sagamok Anishnawbek; Carol Aguonie, Education Counsellor, Sheguiandah First Nation; Brian Bisson, Counsellor, M’Chigeeng First Nation; Chief Patsy Corbiere, Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation; and back row, from left, Norm Blaseg, Rainbow District School Board Director of Education; Doreen Dewar, Rainbow District School Board Chair; Trustee Grace Fox; Robert Pitfield, Wahnapitae First Nation; Chief Franklin Paibomsai, Whitefish River First Nation; and Chief Steve Miller, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

Rainbow District School Board and 11 First Nations have renewed Education Service Agreements.

The 11 First Nations are:
• Atikameksheng Anishnawbek
• Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation
• Dokis First Nation
• M’Chigeeng First Nation
• Sagamok Anishnawbek
• Sheguiandah First Nation
• Sheshegwaning First Nation
• Wahnapitae First Nation
• Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
• Whitefish River First Nation
• Zhiibaahaasing First Nation

In effect from September 2012 to August 2015, the agreements reaffirm Rainbow District School Board’s commitment to First Nation students. “These agreements officially recognize the importance of the heritage and history of First Nations in communities served by the Board and the unique characteristics of First Nations learners,” said Chair Doreen Dewar. “The agreements focus on success for First Nation students, enabling each student to achieve his or her full potential.”

The Rainbow District School Board’s First Nation Advisory Committee (FNAC), with representatives from each of the First Nations, met over the past year to review and revise the agreements. The First Nation Advisory Committee advises the Board regarding matters affecting the establishment, development and delivery of programs and services for First Nation students.

“Once again, the agreements were developed with the vision and spirit of improving the educational performance of all learners and ensure that First Nations student’s Native history is respected and understood by all,” said Rainbow District School Board Trustee Grace Fox, Chair of the First Nation Advisory Committee. Seven social factors provide the guiding principles – curricular and instructional practices, organizational practices, linguistic perspectives and practices, personnel equity, school culture, school/community involvement and relations and equity of educational outcomes.

“Based on equity and inclusiveness, the three-year agreements recognize the distinct qualities of First Nations and First Nation students, embrace the culture and values they bring to Rainbow Schools, and advocate for the learning needs of First Nation students as members of Rainbow Schools,” added Trustee Fox. “These agreements have gained recognition in the province for their educational focus. They continue to serve as an example of true equity.”

The parties to the Education Service Agreements have entered an understanding to increase academic success of First Nations learners, honour and support the language, culture, and history of the First Nations people whose territories are served by the Board, increase knowledge and understanding of First Nations people, build awareness of the important issues that affect First Nations learners in our schools, and bring about positive change for all students.

“We value our partnership with First Nations communities,” said Rainbow District School Board Superintendent Sharon Speir. “The agreements reinforce our commitment to maintain our focus on academic and social factors. They also reinforce our commitment to inclusive programs and services. We have made tremendous progress in the past few years. We look forward to building on our successes for the ongoing benefit of First Nations learners.”

The agreements are consistent with the Government of Ontario’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework that “First Nation, Métis and Inuit students in Ontario will have the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to successfully complete their elementary and secondary education or training and/or to enter the workforce. They will have the traditional and contemporary knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to be socially contributive, politically active, and economically prosperous citizens of the world. All students in Ontario will have the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary and traditional First Nation, Métis and Inuit traditions, cultures and perspectives.”

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Media Contact:
Sharon Speir, Superintendent of Schools,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7264.