Sask. Rivers board updated on progress in Truth and Reconciliation

Herald file photo. Robert Bratvold answers a question during the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division annual general meeting in 2016. On Friday, provincial government sent a letter to the division asking them to find ways to freeze labour costs for the next year. Bratvold said there are some concerns about the request, but no final decisions would be made until March at the earliest.

The Saskatchewan Rivers School division is working towards Truth and Reconciliation — and the commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

At their regular meeting on Monday, the board of trustees received a virtual update from Jodi Letendre on how they are achieving the goals.

According to director of education  Robert Bratvold the update for the board is done twice a year.

“The board sets some key focus areas a couple of years ago and we have been reporting those since. The biggest piece is the service to staff and students and families being put into action in regards to the Calls to Action,” Bratvold said.

Curriculum support in Sask. Rivers includes an Indigenous Perspectives Google Site, which according to the report, has been accessed 685 times. There is also a live stream with Elder Liz Settee which saw between 21 and 24 Grade 5 to 8 classes participate each week in November. In the report, Letendre explained that they are trying to expand it but Settee is the most adaptable to the technology. They are planning to expand this throughout the year to different grades. Settee is part of the  Elder Advisory Council to the board which advises the board on all aspects of Indigenous Education.

 “It’s important to see because they will know the impact that their leadership is having within the school division and in the community. And then the second piece is that is to see the work that is being done to support reconciliation and know that the division is a vibrant part of that,” Bratvold said.

Staff included are Letendre and half-time coaches Heather Tibbs and Tyson Fetch, who work with Superintendent Jennifer Hingley

Other ways they do the work in the division  include an adapted coaching model at King George School and  Cree 10 courses offered at both Carlton and Wesmor Public high schools.

 The division continues developing support and resources for implementation and offering of new indigenous language programs. There is also the Kindergarten Cree Language program is offered at John Diefenbaker School, which has 15 students enrolled, with plans for expansion in the future.

In June the board decided to take part in an engagement in the fall 4 Seasons of Reconciliation online development program that would then expand to the division as a whole.

That project is still in progress.