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Issue #19
June, 2011

Partnership for Success


The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation was established in 1995 by a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to achieve the following objectives:

  • To provide support to Indigenous youth to achieve their potential.
  • To enhance the skills and potential of young Indigenous people.
  • To generate positive aspirations in young Indigenous people.
  • To assist Indigenous youth to relate to the community in general, particularly to other young Australians.

The Foundation’s program Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success is a series of school educational support projects for Indigenous students who have the capacity, interest and potential to go on and complete their secondary education. These students are encouraged to go on to tertiary studies – university, apprenticeships and traineeships and employment. Projects are individually funded through private industry, Federal and State Government.

The ‘Partnership for Success’ projects are the central element of The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation.

Each Foundation project involves local Indigenous communities, private and government partners and the Foundation working together in partnership to introduce and manage projects to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students. The partnerships aims are to enable students to compete effectively for employment, apprenticeships, traineeships and/or tertiary entrance when they leave school.

Understanding the Aboriginal/ Non-Aboriginal Gap in Student Performance

Source: C.D. Howe Institute

Summary: Across Canada, at least four out of five Aboriginal students attend provincially

run schools; only one in five attend on-reserve, band-run schools. While Aboriginal student outcomes are better in provincial than in on-reserve schools, a large gap exists between performance of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in most schools across Canada. Understanding why the gap exists and what strategies can reduce it is among the country’s highest social policy priorities.

Based on a detailed study of Aboriginal student performance in B.C. provincial schools, the authors assess the relative importance of socioeconomic differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families and of in-school dynamics. While both these factors matter, the authors also find that some school districts stand out. Schools in these districts have achieved Aboriginal student outcomes much better than forecast, based on socioeconomic conditions and expected in-school dynamics. What are these districts doing right? In sum, they emphasize Aboriginal education success as a long-term priority, involve Aboriginal leaders and the broader community, use objective data on Aboriginal student performance in design of policy and follow through on policy implementation.

New Paths for Education

Source: First Nations Education Council

Summary: Originally known as Gathering Strength, the name of the New Paths for Education program changed in 2003. The objectives of the program remained the same as they were with Gathering Strength, which are: improvement of classroom instruction efficiency and improvement of parental involvement in the school. The communities benefit from this program to improve the quality of teaching in First Nations schools, to improve the coordination and support for education programs and services, to maintain Native languages and finally to encourage parents to get involved in the education system.

First Peoples Child and Family Review

Source: Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta
Focus: Students, teachers and the general public

Summary: The Métis National Council (MNC) Historical Online Database is a web-interfaced database that contains textual information extracted from archival documents relevant to the historical Métis Nation. The website also contains high-resolution digital photography and scans of many of the original documents represented in the database. The MNC Historical Online Database allows users to access Métis related archival information, previously only available at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa) or on microfilm.

Genealogists and Métis users of this website are able to construct Métis family trees using the documents in the database. Providing Métis users with access to their ancestors’ documents facilitates the process of cultural re-connection, identity reclamation, and nation building.

Aboriginal Education Strategies

Source: Ministry of Education, Ontario
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Since 2003, the Ontario government has been committed to providing accessible, high-quality education and training opportunities to Aboriginal peoples at all levels of learning. The strategy includes initiatives that support learning and achievement for Aboriginal students. It will also help raise awareness about First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures, histories and perspectives in schools.

There are increased opportunities for Aboriginal students and improved resources so educators and staff can better support Aboriginal learners and increase awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures.

Professionally developed teaching strategies, designed to help Ontario teachers bring Aboriginal perspectives into the classroom include:

Potlatch: Then and Now

Source: U’Mista Cultural Society, Albert Bay, British Columbia
Grade 4 students

Summary:Potlatch: Then and Now has been designed with a fourth grade Social Studies learner in mind. The narrative is simple but presents many ideas that can be used as starting points for further discussion.

The following lesson plans have been designed for direct classroom use, but can be adapted to your situation and preference.

Lesson 1: Remembrance

Lesson 2: Suppression Debate

Lesson 3: Classroom Potlatch

Lesson 4: Environment and Life

Lesson 5: Technology Exchange

Lesson 6: Trade Role Play

Lesson 7: The West Coast Environment

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