School District 60 signs Aboriginal agreement

Students in School District 60 will now be better-exposed to aboriginal culture in the classroom. Representatives from School District 60, the Ministry of Education, and local Aboriginal communities, signed the 46th Aboriginal education enhancement agreement on Thursday night.

The agreement ensures that Aboriginal culture is integrated in public schools. It also gives aboriginal communities the opportunity to design the programs and deliver the curriculum. Some services could include Aboriginal language and culture programs, and Aboriginal support service programs. The agreement hopes to improve the academic success, graduation rates, and wellness of all Aboriginal students, while honouring local Aboriginal histories and cultures.

This year, there are 970 students with Aboriginal ancestry in District 60 schools. That number makes up around 17 per cent of the district’s total enrolment.

There are now 46 school boards in B.C. that have signed the agreement. Several school districts, including the Quesnel school district and Qualicum school district, signed their agreement in 2003.

Both report that graduation rates for Aboriginal students jumped by 16 per cent. School District 60’s agreement runs for five years.

The Province is investing an estimated $1,014 per student for Aboriginal education in 2009-10.