Artist in Residence Program:
Ms. Hollander Class:
PAC invited Susan Leslie, the District Principal of Aboriginal Education, to speak with parents about the Ucwalmícwts language and culture program at Signal Hill. She gave some background about Aboriginal Education programs in our district and invited some elders to share as well. Some of the discussion is summarized here and I have also listed some information and links for parents who are interested in learning more.
The Ucwalmícwts language and culture program is a locally developed, school-based program approved by the School Board. It was developed as part of our district’s Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement (EA). Every district in the province is required to have an Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement that commits us to improving the educational outcomes for First Nations children, which are dramatically inferior to those of other Canadian children. Part of the way the goals of this agreement are being met in our school is through language exposure. Other schools in the district also offer Squamish language classes to their students. For more information about BC’s Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements, go to: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/agreements/. To read the EA for School District 48, click here: https://sd48seatosky.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/signed-enhancement-agreement-2014.pdf.
The importance of incorporating First Nations language and culture into our education system cannot be overemphasized in light of Canada’s history with Aboriginal peoples and the recommendations put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Led by Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, the Commission was created to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools by preparing a historical record and making recommendations to the Government with the goal of reconciliation renewed relationships based on understanding and respect. The TRC released its final report in June 2015. We highly recommend watching this short video featuring Justice Murray Sinclair on the role of education in reconciliation: https://vimeo.com/25389165. You can also read a summary of the final report here: http://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Final%20Reports/Executive_Summary_English_Web.pdf.
At Signal Hill, every class in the school participates in the language and culture program. The lessons are taught by a teacher who has graduated from an approved language teaching program, and an elder from one of the St’at’imc Communities. Classes are also supported by the regular classroom teacher at all times. Although we are still fine-tuning this program, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Several parents at the meeting noted that their children were coming home with new words and information about what they have learned in the program. If you are interested in learning some words or hearing the language, check out the First Voices website at http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Lilwat.
As part of the culture program, many students at Signal Hill have and will be learning about the history of Indian Residential Schools this year. This topic is now an area of focus in the new BC curriculum. We will be sending more information home with families over the coming weeks. We are also planning a project at the school on the topic of reconciliation and hope to involve families and community members as much as possible in this process. Currently we could use some help from parents who have experience with weaving and sewing as every class will be designing and making a blanket as part of this project. Please contact us if you are interested in helping out!
A group of students from our school have been invited to attend the Squamish Li’wat Cultural Centre this week in anticipation of the opening of a new exhibit focused on the history of residential schools in Canada. The exhibit is called Where are the Children? It has been shown in venues across the country and features survivor stories, archival photos and documents depicting residential schools from 1831 to 1969. It will open at the SLCC on Feb. 6. There is an online exhibit as well that can be accessed at: http://wherearethechildren.ca/en.
If you would like more information or have any questions or concerns, please contact Ms. Hanbury or Mrs. Broatch at the school.
Below is a great summary article on self regulation!
Cell Phones and Personal Devices
We would like to remind families about our policies surrounding the use of cell phones and other personal electronic devices. Students who bring these items to school are required to put them in their backpacks during the school day. They may only be removed in classrooms if the teacher has given permission. They are never allowed on the playground at recess or lunch. These rules are in place for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is to protect student privacy and safety. There have been incidents in the past of students being videotaped and photographed in classrooms, on the playground, and even in the washrooms. Students are welcome to use their devices once school is dismissed at 3pm. If you need to contact your child on a personal device, please be aware that he/she will not be able to reply until after school. If there is an emergency, please contact the office.
If we do see students using their personal electronic devices during the day, we will confiscate the device and it will have to be retrieved by a parent or guardian from the office. Thank you in advance for your help in keeping all our students safe.