Issue 115

Community Engagement

Source: The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Newfoundland and Labrador

Summary: Chronic absenteeism is a quiet problem and it makes children disappear from school. It is complex and establishes itself early in a child’s school career and has the potential to create negative impacts for a life time. It is difficult to address and often goes unaddressed. This report describes chronic absenteeism, factors influencing it, its impacts on students, and the promising strategies available to address the problem. It also makes recommendations to government departments and agencies that have shared responsibility for solutions.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as unexcused school absences resulting in a student missing at least ten percent (10%) of the school year, or 18 days. Rates of chronic absenteeism vary widely. Canada has no systematic approach to collecting data, and information is incomplete on provincial/territorial government web sites. The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) produced data for school year 2016-17 which indicated that 10% of approximately 66,000 students were absent for at least 18 days, both excused and unexcused.

Exemplary Classroom Practice: Elementary

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education
Focus: Elementary Students

Summary: Download these professionally developed teaching strategies, designed to help Ontario teachers bring Aboriginal perspectives into the classroom.

Exemplary Classroom Practice: Secondary

Source: Canadian Museum of History
Focus: Elementary and Secondary students

Summary: The Canadian Museum of Civilization presents an extraordinary resource documenting the histories and cultures of the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Explore a selection of material drawn from the Museum’s artifact and archival collections. Historical and contemporary objects, images and documents vividly express the cultural diversity as well as the creativity, resourcefulness, and endurance of this country’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

Material and links will continue to be added in order to expand the web experience. Images of objects and documents considered private or sacred are not included.

Media

Source: Giving Matters Johnson Scholarship Foundation. Dr. Carlana Lindeman, Author

There is a deep understanding across Canada of the need to enhance strategies to improve Aboriginal student success. There are approximately 1.7 million Aboriginal People in Canada, and one third are under the age of 15 — making them the youngest and fastest growing demographic in the country.

A real concern for Canada is the low Aboriginal high school graduation rate; the non-Aboriginal high school graduation rate is about 92 percent while the Aboriginal rate remains at about 50 percent. The Martin Family Initiative (MFI), a charitable foundation, was established in 2008 to help address these issues.

A decade ago, MFI (www.themfi.ca) launched the Grade 11 and 12 Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) to encourage Aboriginal students to stay in school, to learn about the Canadian economy and to acquire entrepreneurial knowledge and experience.

AYEP is currently offered in 51 schools across Canada; approximately 4,600 students have participated in AYEP since its inception. The 220-hour curriculum:

  • Contains Aboriginal content, including case studies and examples of successful Canadian Aboriginal business leaders.
  • Uses innovative hands-on activities, guest speakers and business mentors to help students learn how to create a product-based and/or service-driven business and about the services provided by banks and credit unions.  
  • Improves students’ proficiency in financial literacy, business, mathematics, English, accounting, marketing and information and communications technology, while supporting the acquisition of self-confidence, as well as communication and leadership skills.  
  • Employs a variety of teaching strategies including simulations, competitions, guest speakers, field trips to businesses and mentoring.

MFI determined that there was a need for Aboriginal-focused textbooks and led the development of AYEP’s instructor and student resource materials. These teaching materials are the first of their kind in Canada.

A 60-hour non-credit course for Aboriginal adults has recently been developed; it includes key elements of the Grade 11 and the Grade 12 AYEP courses. This course is flexible and can be offered over multiple weekends, or daily over two weeks, or in other combinations.

MFI, like the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, firmly believes that education is the best means to empower people to become more independent and to participate more fully in the benefits of our society. Our range of targeted programs exemplifies this belief.

Multi Media

Source: Kativik Ilisarniliriniq
Focus: Elementary/ Secondary students

Summary: Download our “Complete installer” to be able to play on your computer at anytime, even without Internet access.

Professional Development

Source: Comparative and International Education. Theresa Papp, University of Saskatchewan

Summary: The article presents the teaching strategies that supported education success for Indigenous students of New Zealand from a case study research approach. Interviews were conducted with teacher participants that revealed four dominant strategies that were perceived to improve Māori education outcomes and were confirmed by national testing results. These strategies were: Building and repairing relationships through a relationship-based pedagogy; student focused school and classrooms; teachers that provided feedforward and feedback to students; administrative leadership, and the regular incorporation of Māori culture in the school and the classroom. Over a six-year timeframe, implementation of these strategies more than doubled Māori academic achievement levels.

Related Links

Source: Statistics Canada

Summary: Aboriginal people were the most likely to have less than a high school diploma.

In 2016, the distribution of men aged 25 to 34 across educational categories was the following: 8.5% had less than a high school diploma; 26.1% had a high school diploma or some postsecondary education; 35.9% had a trade certificate or college diploma; and 29.6% had a university degree. The same proportions for women were 5.4%, 18.5%, 34.3%, and 41.8%, respectively.

Relevant Research

Source:  First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

Summary: Indigenous Youth Voices (IYV) was created by and for Indigenous youth in response to the TRC and to address Call to Action 66: We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation and establish a national network to share information and best practices.

Indigenous Youth Voices is a networking organization that connects Indigenous youth and groups, and advocates for Indigenous youth priorities on the terms and standards that Indigenous youth set for themselves. The IYV mission is to seek advice and support from Indigenous youth across Canada. We work to maximize the voices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth by connecting and including Indigenous youth, including those who are part of Indigenous youth organizations, councils, groups or grassroots initiatives.

In 2018, Indigenous Youth Voices collaborated with youth across Canada to provide a report and requirements to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett. This culminated in the Roadmap to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #66 being released in 2018. While it remains to be seen if the requirements for reconciliation with Indigenous youth will be implemented by the federal government, it is clear to Indigenous Youth Voices that Indigenous youth across Canada know what they deserve in reconciliation.