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First Nations and Métis Education

The Government of Saskatchewan is working in partnership with First Nations and Métis people and organizations toward improved education outcomes for First Nations and Métis students.

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1. Improving Education and Employment Outcomes

The Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes (JTF) was created by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The JTF provided reports to the Government of Saskatchewan that included recommendations of ways to work towards decreased education and employment gaps among First Nations and Métis people.

The Ministry of Education has responded to the advice of the JTF by using the JTF recommendations to develop outcomes and priorities for the Education Sector Strategic Plan.

Key initiatives that respond to JTF recommendations include:

  • Following Their Voices
  • Invitational Shared Service Initiatives
  • Help Me Tell My Story
  • Help Me Talk About Math
  • Supporting the costs of the PreK-12 Microsoft Licensing Agreement in First Nations schools.
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2. Strengthening Relationships

Following Their Voices is an initiative that is designed to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit student outcomes by engaging and supporting students through changes in student- teacher relationships and interactions, teacher instructional practices and the learning environment.

Success will be measured by increases in:

  • student engagement;
  • participation;
  • credit attainment; and
  • graduation rates.

The approach of the initiative focuses on the needs of students by providing classroom teachers with training, resources, ongoing support, instructional classroom strategies, and goal-setting plans with in-school facilitators.

Following Their Voices is a priority in the Education Sector Strategic Plan.

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3. Early Learners Math Skills

Help Me Talk About Math (HMTAM) is a holistic development and assessment tool for Grade One students that has been piloted in both provincial and First Nation schools. HMTAM measures the growth of students against themselves, not their classmates.

The assessment is delivered to the child in a one-on-one setting. Technology is used during the assessment, and students use an iPad to play an interactive board game.

Part of the program involves surveying people who are close to the student which links the holistic nature of the data. Parents, teachers and Elders receive results and information so that learning activities can take place at home and in the classroom to help promote the ongoing development of numeracy skills in children.

Individuals who may be surveyed include:

  • the child;
  • their caregivers;
  • teachers; and
  • Elders.

The Ministry of Education supports Help Me Talk About Math as a response to Joint Task Force recommendations.

It also aligns with the Education Sector Strategic Plan by addressing:

  • early years goals;
  • family engagement;
  • a holistic approach to education; and
  • culturally-relevant teaching practices.
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4. Early Learners Language Skills

Help Me Tell My Story (HMTMS) is an innovative, holistic and interactive tool that is used to assess the oral language development of a child. HMTMS is available to Prekindergarten and Kindergarten children and their families.

Technology is important to the delivery of the assessment. Students use a turtle puppet named Askî that interacts with an iPad. This is done to ensure that students are fully engaged with the assessment in order to provide the best possible data. There are four digital storybooks that can be read in English, Cree, Dene and Michif.

Part of the program involves surveying people who are close to the student which links the holistic nature of the data. Parents, teachers and Elders receive results and information so that learning activities can take place at home and in the classroom to help promote the ongoing development of oral language in children.

Individuals who may be surveyed include:

  • the child;
  • their caregivers;
  • teachers; and
  • Elders.

The Ministry of Education supports Help Me Tell My Story as a response to Joint Task Force recommendations.

It also aligns with the Education Sector Strategic Plan by addressing:

  • early years goals;
  • family engagement;
  • a holistic approach to education; and
  • culturally-relevant teaching practices.
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5. Building Partnerships

The Invitational Shared Services Initiative (ISSI) brings together the provincial education system and First Nations education organizations to support students who live on-reserve.

First Nations and Métis education organizations and school divisions develop partnerships to provide supports and services to children living on-reserve. The partnerships align with the Education Sector Strategic Plan by focusing on supports for students in the areas of reading, literacy, graduation and early learning.

ISSIs were developed as a response to recommendations from the Joint Task Force.

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