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Issue #44
July, 2013

Family-School Partnerships Framework

Source: Australian Government: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Focus: Parents and Teachers

Summary: Family-school partnerships are collaborative relationships and activities involving school staff, parents and other family members of students at school. Effective partnerships are based on mutual trust and respect, and shared responsibility for the education of the children and young people at the school.

Families are the first educators of their children and they continue to influence their children’s learning and development during the school years and long afterwards. Schools have an important responsibility in helping to nurture and teach future generations and families trust schools to provide educational foundations for their children’s future. At the same time, schools need to recognise the primary role of the family in education. This is why it is important for families and schools to work together in partnership.

Research demonstrates that effective schools have high levels of parental and community involvement. This involvement is strongly related to improved student learning, attendance and behaviour. Family involvement can have a major impact on student learning, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family.

Family involvement in schools is therefore central to high quality education and is part of the core business of schools.

The aim of the Family-School Partnerships Framework is to encourage sustainable and effective partnerships among all members of the school community, including teachers, families, and students. These partnerships should:

  • view each partner as making equally valuable contributions, while respecting different contributions;
  • respect student needs and preferences;
  • address barriers to involvement in schools by families, in particular Indigenous families, and actively help previously uninvolved families to become involved;
  • create better programs, opportunities and learning for students;
  • give families appropriate opportunities to contribute to school decision-making and governance;
  • and contribute to professional satisfaction for principals and teachers.

Summative Evaluation on Elementary/Secondary Education Program on Reserves

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Branch Audit and Evaluation Sector

Summary: This summative evaluation of the Elementary/Secondary Education (ESE) Program was conducted in time for consideration of policy authority renewal in 2012-13. It follows a formative evaluation of the ESE Program in 2010, which provided a preliminary examination of the state of information on First Nations education at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).

This evaluation was conducted concurrently with the summative Evaluation of Post-Secondary Education programming in order to obtain a holistic understanding of AANDC’s suite of education programming and its impact on First Nation and Inuit communities. The primary objective of elementary/secondary education programming is to provide eligible students living on reserve with education programs comparable to those that are required in provincial schools by the statutes, regulations or policies of the province in which the reserve is located.

AANDC’s elementary/secondary education programming is primarily funded through seven authorities: Grants to participating First Nations and First Nations Education Authority pursuant to the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act; Grants to Indian and Inuit to provide elementary and secondary educational support services; Grants to Inuit to support their cultural advancement; Payments to support Indian, Inuit and Innu for the purpose of supplying public services in education (including Cultural Education Centres; Indians Living On Reserve and Inuit; Registered Indian and Inuit Students; Special Education Program; and Youth Employment Strategy); Grants for Mi’kmaq Education in Nova Scotia; Contributions under the First Nations SchoolNet services to Indians living on reserve and Inuit; and Contributions to First Nation and Inuit Governments and Organizations for Initiatives under the Youth Employment Strategy Skills Link program and Summer Work Experience Program.

The evaluation examined the following components of ESE programming: instructional services for Band Operated Schools, Federal Schools and Provincial Schools; Elementary and Secondary Student Support Services; New Paths for Education; Teacher Recruitment and Retention; Parental and Community Engagement; First Nation Student Success Program; Cultural Education Centres; Special Education; Education Partnerships Program; and First Nations SchoolNet.

In line with Treasury Board Secretariat requirements, the evaluation looked at issues of relevance continued need, alignment with government priorities, alignment with federal roles and responsibilities), performance (effectiveness) as well as efficiency and economy. The evaluation’s findings and conclusions are based on the analysis and triangulation of seven lines of evidence: case studies, expenditures analysis, student data analysis, document and file review, key informant interviews, literature review and surveys.

Summative Evaluation of Elementary and Secondary Education – Follow-up Report Status Update as of September 30, 2012

Assembly of First Nations Languages and Culture Impacts on Literacy and Student Achievement Outcomes – Review of Literature

Source: Katenies Research and Management Services Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, Dr. Rose-Alma J. McDonald, April 2011
Focus: Teachers and Researchers

Summary: The objective of this paper is to give an overview of First Nations language programs, resources and research that describe the impact of student and teacher cultural competency in First Nations language and culture on literacy and student achievement and outcomes.

Creating racism free schools for Aboriginal Learners

Source: British Columbia Teachers’ Federation: Aboriginal Education (BCTF)
Focus: Students and Teachers

Summary: The Ministry of Education and the BCTF acknowledge that racism directed at Aboriginal people, especially students, is a problem to be dealt with.

The BCTF is committed to supporting safe and caring learning environments for all students and all staff in the public school system. The BCTF recognizes that many Aboriginal students and staff have not felt safe or cared for in some schools because of racism directed at Aboriginal people by students, teachers, support workers, administrators, and the school curriculum.

To this end, the BCTF has been spearheading initiatives related to Aboriginal education. This particular resource can assist teachers and students to ensure that their classrooms and schools are racist free environments.

Aboriginal Financial Literacy in Canada: Issues and Directions

Source: Research paper prepared for the Task Force on Financial Literacy. Dominique Collin, Waterstone Strategies

Summary: Aboriginal communities and circumstances are varied. The barriers to financial literacy, the cost of the financial literacy deficit and the promises of financial literacy development efforts will vary accordingly.

Four broad groups are described, each characterized by specific financial literacy challenges and opportunities. The first two groups concern individuals of Aboriginal descent, often economic refugees from remote communities who are established in urban and in rural centres. The second two groups address Aboriginal communities: the larger, better established and more accessible communities, on the one hand, and the smaller, more remote and less organized communities, on the other. Both face financial literacy challenges that are exacerbated by the complexity of financial decision making in the context of the Indian Act and other legal and regulatory barriers.

Aboriginal individuals, entrepreneurs and communities have been affected by financial literacy challenges in many of the same ways that lower-income people and remote populations in Canada have. However, there is the additional weight of specific cultural and structural barriers and the additional pressure of unprecedented opportunities to participate in the financial life of the country after generations of exclusion. Cultural barriers such as language, values that affect financial decisions, the persistence of non cash- based economies, lack of trust toward financial institutions, and habituation to government program management culture all affect financial literacy. Structural barriers include the huge education, literacy and numeracy deficit, geographical remoteness, and the lack of access to basic banking services.

Solutions and best practices fall into two categories. First, culturally adapted and relevant training has been developed and shown to be effective. Among training efforts, certification programs for financial management experts stand out, with the double benefit of providing expertise for sound financial management of Aboriginal institutions and creating role models who transmit financial literacy to their communities by example and in ways that are culturally appropriate. Second, Aboriginal financial institutions that integrate financial literacy training in their way of doing business have collectively had the single biggest impact on financial literacy over the last 30 years. As these institutions mature, innovative products and ways of bringing capital into Aboriginal communities are developed that address the legal, cultural and structural barriers, often in partnership with mainstream financial providers. Solutions have been developed, tried, and deployed, and their impact on Aboriginal economic and financial literacy has been demonstrated. Support to bring them to scale will be critical to their success.

Where are the Children?

Source: Heritage Canada, Library and Archives Canada. Donna Cona, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and Jeff Thomas, the curator
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: The Legacy of Hope Foundation was established to address the long-term implications of the damage done to Aboriginal children and their families by many of the residential schools. The psychological wounds run deep and have infected new generations. Healing is a gradual process that will demand time and patience.

A primary objective of the work is to promote awareness among the Canadian public about residential schools and try to help them to understand the ripple effect those schools have had on Aboriginal life. But equally important, we want to bring about reconciliation between generations of Aboriginal people, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Everyone who belongs to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities has been affected by the residential school experience. Only through understanding the issues can we undertake this healing journey together.

The importance of the virtual exhibition was brought into sharp focus in 2001, when Aboriginal youth at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation Youth Advisory meeting in Edmonton expressed a lack of knowledge of the residential school history. They felt that awareness of this chapter in their history should be the central factor in healing and reconciliation.

Full Circle: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Ways of Knowing

Source: Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
Focus: Secondary teachers and students

Summary:Full Circle: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Ways of Knowing was develop by FNMI writers who have extensive experience working with FNMI students. The information in the resources draws upon the Grade 10 & 11 FNMI Studies texts that the Ontario Ministry released last year. Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing consists of more than sixty classroom-ready lesson plans using a holistic teaching approach that honours traditional knowledge and Aboriginal values. An accompanying video profiles three First Nations youth, two Inuit teenagers and one young Métis woman. Each story offers a compelling insight into what it means to be young and Aboriginal in Canada today.

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