Released on November 18, 2016A new initiative aimed at improving educational achievement and graduation rates of First Nations and Métis students is making a difference in the classroom for many students around the province. During its first year, Following Their Voices led to a 10 per cent increase in the number of First Nations and Métis students attending at least 80 per cent of the time.
Saskatchewan Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Saskatchewan Director General Rob Harvey visited with students and staff at Constable Robin Cameron Education Complex on Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation today to celebrate the early success of Following Their Voices, which received $1.55 million in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan this year, as well as the commitment of $250,000 by the federal government to support the initiative in 2016-17.
Following their Voices was created in collaboration with Saskatchewan schools and First Nations and Métis organizations, based on engagement with students, teachers and families, to help support teachers in building strong relationships and interactions, and create positive learning environments for First Nations and Métis students.
“Seeing our First Nations and Métis students reach their full potential is a top priority in Saskatchewan,” Morgan said. “Early results show that Following Their Voices is changing how our teachers are interacting with their students and it is already making a positive difference.”
The early successes of Following Their Voices have led the Government of Canada to announce their investment for 2016-17 in support of the initiative.
Following their Voices, a made-in-Saskatchewan initiative, was field tested in six schools from January to June 2015 and rolled out in 2015-16. The initiative is currently being implemented in 16 provincial and First Nations schools.
Using a train the trainer model in each school, it allows teachers to adapt to the individualized needs of their students. In 2015-16, in addition to the 10 per cent increase of First Nations and Métis students attending at least 80 per cent of the time, average attendance rose four per cent for First Nations and Métis students while average attendance rose two per cent for all students. This also led the way for a one per cent increase in credit attainment, which can lead to increased graduation rates.
“I’m delighted to see that observing and listening to students has had such a positive impact on our schools,” Director of Education for Treaty Six Education Council Pat Bugler said. “By ensuring that each student’s voice is being heard we will continue to improve their learning environments, build relationships and encourage better interactions between the students and teachers.”
Since 2015-16, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested $3.1 million for Following Their Voices. This reflects the government’s continued commitment to ensuring equitable education outcomes for all First Nations, Métis and non-Indigenous students by responding to the recommendations from the Joint Task Force on Improving First Nations and Métis Education and Employment Outcomes in Saskatchewan.
For more information, contact:
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada