Aboriginal Education Program Celebrated
Prince George, B.C. – Shelly Niemi, manager of the Prince George School District’s Aboriginal Education Department, provided an overview of the department’s growth at tonight’s monthly Board meeting.
Created in 2010, the department has grown from what the district once called native support services and a staff of 32 employees, to the Aboriginal Education Department and its own separate building location.
Niemi told the Board the department now employs 105 staff while its mandate is to ensure that aboriginal education is woven into all classrooms for inclusive learning.
She said the district has the highest number of aboriginal students in the province at 3,580, or 28% of the overall student population in the district.
Niemi said some of this year’s department highlights were the Canadian Tire Mudder Challenge – a program aimed at providing 450 students from 10 inner-city schools the chance to participate in a number of sports.
Another highlight was the second annual Indigenous Games for grade 7 students at Harwin Elementary where kids participated in a multitude of cultural events and celebrated the transition to high school.
Academically she also noted the department has made great strides in helping close the gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.
For instance, she said 39% of students graduated high school in the district in 2009 versus 61% in 2015.