K to A: Indigenous Engagement
We (students, staff and partners of W.P. Bate Community School) decided to focus on Indigenous engagement because we felt it was imperative to see an improvement in overall health, attendance, and engagement with our Indigenous students and families. We hosted Indigenous song, dance, and cultural initiatives for students, families and the wider community of W.P Bate Community School.
Students engaged in regalia-making, beading classes, and a Powwow Troupe. They also visited with kookum/mushum group and Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers about ceremonial practices such as smudging, feast and round dance. Through this initiative, “[s]tudents have greater pride in their culture and share and identify more readily and more often with their school peers and the wider community.” “School staff [also] have more knowledge regarding student identity and family cultural practices.” Additionally through this work, there has been an increase in the number of Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers teaching and present in the school.
“The dialogue between home and school has [also] increased and is more positive… Parents and caregivers are more confident and feel welcome and a sense of belonging.” “There are more caregivers who stop into the Family Room to grab a coffee and visit with other community members or check on school activities.” “Families who have moved out of area continue to be connected to the school.” There was also an increase in enrollment among First Nations, Métis, Inuit students.