Catholic board approves SSBA Indigenous Education Framework

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The Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education gave their approval on Monday to a new Indigenous Education Responsibility Framework created by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).

The framework is designed to help Indigenous students improve their educational attainment, and to help measure how schools teach and assist them. The SSBA created it as a pilot project in 2021-22, but now wants to expand its use across the province.

PA Catholic School Division education director Lorel Trumier said they’re excited about the new framework because it will help provide responsibility, and understanding in the division.

“I think it’s really good work that’s coming out of our Saskatchewan School Board Association and I credit our trustees in this province for recognizing the need and working to develop something in the province of Saskatchewan,” she said.

Trumier said school divisions are not required to adopt the framework, but the Prince Albert Catholic Division did so because it stresses the responsibility school divisions have to their students.

“It’s not about (saying) ‘well we have to do it,’” she explained. “It’s about wanting to get better in seeking change that ultimately will have an impact on all of our students, including our First Nations and Metis and Inuit students.”

The framework is based on recommendations made in a 2018 provincial report called Inspiring Success. It calls for school board to continuously self-evaluate their ability to effectively teach First Nations, Metis and Inuit students. All evaluations are added to the division’s strategic plan.

Tumier said the evaluations will help with planning at all levels of education, from individual schools to province-wide programs. She said it will also help them educate all students, not just First Nations, Metis, or Inuit students.

“I applaud the SSBA and their work,” Trumier said. “They are developing a framework here where we can build on our knowledge and our strategies and move from just the lower levels of work to higher more meaningful levels of work.”

The SSBA has been working on the framework for a number of years. The field testing for the framework took place in May and the final revisions were before the board on Monday.

The division has also established their own committee doing similar work.

“It is really just to be an extension of the work that is happening whether it is at the Ministry level or the SSBA level,” Trumier said. “We have a committee that is saying, ‘okay how can we improve things for our own work that we do in our school division.’”

The document was officially released in September with province wide implementation to begin this fall. The document will be revised as divisions and the sector improve.