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Message from the Chair – November 2016

At the October 25 committee of the Whole meeting the board received a report on the Truth and Reconciliation Report from District Principal of Aboriginal Programs and Services, Kerry Mahlman and the co-chair of the Aboriginal Education Advisory Circle, Terry Aleck. With his presence, Terry (Coyote) witnessed our discussions and honoured us in sharing some of his experiences and healing as a residential school survivor.

Of the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation report, numbers 6 through 12 deal in detail with education and educational funding but all 94 resonate with our school district whether regarding Health, Language and Culture, Child Welfare or Justice. There is much we are doing and more we can do to act on this report in the daily work in School District No. 46.  The aim, though our strategic plan, and implemented through Aboriginal Programs and Services is to integrate both the education about Indigenous Peoples in BC and Canada and the education of students of aboriginal ancestry in our district.

The curriculum being rolled out this year and next includes aboriginal cultural and language learning embedded in all possible ways.  Whether it is the sháshishálem language program at Kinnikinnick Elementary and Chatelech Secondary or the support programs delivered by Aboriginal Education Support teachers in every school, teachers and students are excited about this support and cultural learning.

At a recent Aboriginal Education Advisory Circle gathering, Principal Mahlman highlighted how every goal in our strategic plan, for students, for staff and within the community, was being addressed within the work of Aboriginal Programs and Services. Well done! Our commitment is to work in our own way on the calls to action and continue to enhance reconciliation in our community.

On another note, it is the beginning of our budget consultation process for the 2017/18 budget.  The first public consultation is on November 16 at 6:30 pm at Chatelech Secondary School. There will be other opportunities in the new year and it will be on the agenda of our Operations committee as well.  Our committee meetings are open to the public so please join us and let us know your views on next year's budget.

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