As IndigiNews’s education reporter covering Vancouver Island, I’m following all of the latest developments. Every month, I’ll bring you a roundup of what you need to know about what’s relevant to Indigenous students, teachers, parents and families.
What you need to know: K-12
- The BC Assembly of First Nations hosted virtual youth training sessions on March 26 in advance of its BCAFN Youth Forum on March 27. The training sessions focused on how to engage, how to be a confident speaker, and how to decompress.
- Students from high schools across Greater Victoria gathered at Centennial Square on March 26 to raise awareness about sexual assault and show victims they are not alone. Students at the rally also recognized the importance of the National Inquiry report into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- The Greater Victoria School District sent out an Equity Scan to all parents on Feb. 11 as a way to identify both promising practices and barriers that may be impacting Indigenous students’ achievement and success across the district. Results of the scan have not yet been released.
- Pink Shirt Day, an international day meant to stand up against bullying, took place on Feb. 24, with many people in B.C. taking part in virtual events and fundraisers.
- Enhanced COVID-19 safety measures have been put in place in schools K-12 across the province since Feb. 4. On March 28, Island Health sent a letter to parents asking for students and staff at all schools to consider an increase in mask-wearing.
- Parkland Secondary School in North Saanich held a fundraiser on March 11 where they sold Indian tacos, chili and frybread to support Indigenous student leadership initiatives.
- The Sooke School District is expected to open two new K-12 schools in Langford this fall, with the capacity to seat more than 1,000 students and construction is in full swing. Each new school has a significant cultural name that was provided by local First Nations and chosen by the Sooke School District board. The new elementary school will be named Pexsisen, from Lekwungan Elders from Songhees and Esquimalt, and the new middle school will be called Lellum Middle School, presented by Cheanuh First Nations.
- A Greater Victoria School District Policy and Direction Committee meeting held on March 1 over Zoom was recorded for the public. During the meeting, the discussion became lively when Chairperson and School Board Trustee Ryan Painter questioned the attendance and voting privileges of Esquimalt Nation and Songhees First Nation representatives.
- An ongoing drum-making workshop has been taking place at Belmont Secondary School in Langford. Art and music students, together with the Indigenous department, created 30 hand drums with tanned elk hides, sinew, drawing inspiration from the 13 Coast Salish Moons.
What you need to know: Post-Secondary
- An award for single mothers has been started at Vancouver Island University by former student Kyla Hanington. The award will be presented in the form of $1,000 tuition credit to a female student who is single parenting.
- Universities across the province are planning for full return to face-to-face teaching and learning this fall, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Anne Kang, announced on March 8.
- A free Marine Safety Program for Indigenous adults is being hosted by the Mid-Island Métis Nation in April. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.
- The BC Tech Association has created a Digital Lift tech internship program for individuals who are looking for high-demand technology roles offered through a four month paid virtual internship. Preference will be given to Indigenous Peoples, women, rural youth and transitioning workers.
- On March 30, one day before National Indigenous Languages Day, the University of British Columbia announced it will be offering Canada’s first Bachelor’s Degree in Indigenous Language Fluency at its Okanagan Campus starting this fall.
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