Catholic Division approved for shared services initiative with PBCN

Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) are teaming up to support students.

The two groups submitted a proposal to the province as part of the Invitational Shared Services Initiative (ISSI) in June and received approval later that month. The ISSI develops partnerships between First Nation education authorities and provincial school systems.

“We’re so grateful of the opportunity to work with the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and the agreement that we’ve struck to share some services and support the students in their community as well as in our community,” Director of Education Lorel Trumier said.

Trumier added that they are looking forward to working with PBCN and they are still finalizing details.

“A big thank you to the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation for the partnership because it wouldn’t be possible without them,” Trumier said.

The agreement still needs to be finalized by the PBCN before all plans can begin.

The ISSI proposal was initially submitted on April 14 and the division was notified in late May that the maximum application limit was reduced from $100,000 to $80,000. They resubmitted the application on June 2 to reflect the updated ministry financial criteria and received approval on June 14.

The division is partnering with PBCN for the application because 78 per cent of Prince Albert Catholic students who live on reserve while attending Catholic schools are PBCN members.

The ISSI is part of the provincial government’s response and ongoing commitment to the recommendations found in the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Metis People.

The goal is to improve outcomes for First Nations Students living on-reserve attending provincial schools. Every school division in the province was invited to submit ISSI applications.

In addition to improving outcomes, the project application must also be mutually beneficial to both parties, not already be funded by other sources, address one of the Inspiring Success Framework goals, and respond to one of the TRC Calls to Action.

The ISSI supports the division’s Strategic Plan in the areas of Inspiring Success, instruction and assessment and mental health and well-being.

During the meeting, superintendent Charity Dmytruk, who spearheaded the application, made a recommendation that was approved to hire a consultant with duties that include and are not restricted to Indigenous education for the period of one year with the option to extend the financially feasible.

Trumier said Inspiring Success is a Ministry of Education policy that has the intent to support First Nations students in a way that supports their knowledge.

The goal is to create an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with PBCN and connect students to heritage and culture.

“It is a shared services initiative, so it is an agreement we make with between ourselves to make sure that certain elements are occurring and that we’d have that opportunity to work together to achieve some strategies to support students,” Trumier said.