New report details how urban high schools can raise Indigenous graduation rates
Reconciliation in Action: Creating a Learning Community for Indigenous Student Success, praises B.C. education policies and demonstrates how non-Indigenous educators can implement reconciliation initiatives immediately.
In an effort to implement the recommendations for education contained in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, provincial school systems are developing curricula that incorporates Indigenous perspectives respectfully and accurately for all students. But non-Indigenous educators, who’ve had limited learning experiences in their own schooling about Indigenous cultures, histories and issues, are now grappling with the fear of “getting it wrong” for their students. But a B.C.-based learning community model in Kelowna demonstrates how non-Indigenous educators can envelop students in a network of Indigenous teachers, adult advocates and the wider community to curtail Indigenous student dropout rates while immersing non-Indigenous students in Traditional Knowledge.
The Indigenous graduation rate has risen from 66% to 77% in six years at Mount Boucherie Secondary in West Kelowna, B.C, which has a high percentage of students with Indigenous ancestry. Educators have attested that culture is medicine, and that immersing students in land-based activities, First Nations-centred courses, the local Okanagan language and traditional drumming and talking circles has given them a sense of pride and a will to succeed.
This report provides practical examples complete with video testimonials from students and teachers on how the Academy of Indigenous Studies has built lasting relationships with local First Nations communities – demonstrating how existing provincial course offerings can be leveraged to create a for-credit learning track that allows Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to learn about Indigenous cultures throughout their entire high school journeys.
“We have well-intentioned, non-Indigenous educators across the country who are afraid of not teaching this material respectfully and authentically,” says Darren Googoo, Chair of the EdCan Network, a pan-Canadian collective of education leaders. “But doing nothing is also wrong, and this approach allows educators to effectively mobilize reconciliation in their schools right now.”
To access the full report and videos, please visit: www.edcan.ca/academy-report