Summary: Isolation, lack of adequate funding, limited resources, complex social issues – these are just some of the challenges principals face while working in First Nations schools.
“I always say that these principals are the loneliest people in Canada,” says Carlana Lindeman, one of the key people behind a new professional development course for principals in First Nations schools, offered by U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
“They don’t have a network, they don’t have, in many cases, a school board type structure. They’re one-school communities, and the buck usually stops at the principal’s desk,” says Lindeman.
That’s why OISE’s Continuing and Professional Learning program started the First Nations Schools Principals’ Course. The e-learning class addresses the specific needs of principals, vice principals and aspiring school leaders working in band-operated First Nations schools.
The 10-month, 200-hour course is the result of a partnership of the Martin Family Initiative, OISE scholars with expertise in Indigenous education, and an advisory board made up of First Nations leaders and educators from communities across Canada.