Released on March 16, 2015
The Ministry of Education has allocated $2.4 million in 2014-15 funding for 11 school divisions to support 16 Invitational Shared Services Initiative (ISSI) partnerships. Of this funding, $1.5 million is to continue the ten partnerships already in place, while the remaining $900,000 is to expand the ISSI to an additional six partnerships.
The ISSI partnerships form part of the government’s ongoing commitment to improving education outcomes for First Nations and Métis students, as outlined in both the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth and the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP).
“Through the ISSI agreements, all Saskatchewan students will be able to use these supports to pursue their education and career goals,” Education Minister Don Morgan said. “We are committed to improving education and employment outcomes for First Nations and Métis people, in response to the Joint Task Force recommendations, and this is one way we’re delivering on that promise.”
These partnerships bring together the provincial education system and First Nations education organizations to provide students and teachers living on-reserve with the same supports available in provincial schools, such as speech language pathologists, community liaisons and literacy and graduation coaches. The initial focus is to align partnership goals with the ESSP in the areas of First Nations and Métis student success, focusing on reading, literacy, early learning and improved graduation rates.
“The shared services initiative assists in providing services to First Nations students to help them succeed,” Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Vice Chief Bobby Cameron said. “First Nations in Saskatchewan are committed to our Inherent and Treaty Right to Education, and this Task Force recommendation is a positive step and will support First Nations in delivering education services on our Treaty territories. We will continue to implement and protect our Inherent and Treaty Right to education for the benefit of First Nations in Saskatchewan.”
To form each ISSI partnership, the ministry asked First Nations education organizations to identify what types of shared services they required and which school divisions they would be interested in partnering with. The partners jointly developed a plan with clear outcomes, deliverables and metrics for the partnerships.
Since receiving the Joint Task Force final report and recommendations, the Government of Saskatchewan has implemented a number of initiatives to support First Nations and Métis students. The ISSI is one of these initiatives and has received positive feedback and interest from First Nations stakeholders.
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