Aboriginal is defined as First Nation, Non-Status, Métis, Inuit, who are descendants of the original inhabitants of Canada.
Aboriginal community refers to Elders, families, parents/guardians, children and other representatives of the Aboriginal children who attend Edmonton Public Schools.
PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION STATEMENT
As Indigenous peoples of North America, the Aboriginal community has a unique historic relationship with Canada. This policy acknowledges their role as the First Peoples.
Edmonton Public Schools recognizes the significant historic contributions of Aboriginal peoples and their cultures. The District also understands the important role that the Aboriginal community plays today and into the future.
Edmonton Public Schools honours and believes in the ability of Aboriginal students. It respects the desires and aspirations of Aboriginal students to achieve success in schooling and in life. The District believes the success of Aboriginal students is a shared responsibility and is committed to working in partnership with the Elders and the Aboriginal community to build an educational environment that honours Aboriginal peoples and their cultures and is responsive to the needs of Aboriginal students.
Edmonton Public Schools and the Aboriginal community recognize the need to strengthen program delivery for Aboriginal students by:
- Enhancing the educational experience of all Aboriginal students within the district.
- Establishing and maintaining positive interactive relationships based on trust between Edmonton Public Schools and the Aboriginal community.
- Establishing learning environments that respect and include Aboriginal peoples and their cultures.
- Providing quality educational opportunities that support success for all Aboriginal students in school and in life.
Edmonton Public Schools and the Aboriginal community also recognize the need to increase understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal cultures among all students and staff by:
- Valuing, honouring, and respecting, Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and learning.
- Recognizing displacement of Aboriginal peoples in Canada as an historical fact that contributes to a sense of ongoing grief and loss felt within the community.
- Addressing individual and systemic racism and its negative impacts on learning.
- Considering the whole child approach (spiritual, emotional, physical and mental) to teaching and learning.
Edmonton Public Schools seeks to improve the success of Aboriginal students while respecting their goals of schooling. It recognizes the need to develop and maintain mutually supportive relationships with Elders and the Aboriginal community and to increase knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal cultures among all students and staff members in order to operate in a manner that is inclusive of Aboriginal ways of knowing.
- RESPECT AND RECOGNITION
- The Board recognizes the traditional and fundamental importance of Elders in the Aboriginal Community.
- The Board supports actions which acknowledge and promote understanding, respect and recognition of Aboriginal values and cultures.
- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
- The Board values an ongoing relationship with Elders and the Aboriginal community in our schools and across the district.
- The Board recognizes the need to work collaboratively with families, community agencies and organizations to maximize opportunities for Aboriginal student success in schooling and in life.
- STAFFING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- The Board expects all staff to understand and respect Aboriginal values, beliefs and cultures.
- The Board supports the active recruitment of qualified Aboriginal staff in all classifications to develop a workforce which is representative of the communities within its jurisdiction.
The Board is committed to supporting and empowering Aboriginal students to improve their achievement and high school completion in order to reach their full potential.
The Board supports the infusion of Aboriginal outcomes in the core curriculum to promote better understanding of, and knowledge about, our Aboriginal peoples by all students.
- PROGRAMS AND PROGRAMMING
- The Board, as an advocate of choice, supports the provision of Aboriginal culture and/or language-based alternative programs based on interest.
- The Board expects that supportive learning environments for Aboriginal students will be provided in all schools.
- The Board supports the use of a range of bias-free and culturally appropriate assessment instruments and practices.
- The Board is committed to finding culturally appropriate and meaningful ways to demonstrate growth of students.
- ENHANCED SUPPORTS FOR LEARNING
- The Board recognizes the value of early learning to enhance literacy and numeracy growth opportunities.
- The Board recognizes the importance of transition programming to support students moving from school to school, division to division, and to post-secondary or the world of work.