OCDSB to introduce Grade 11 English course with all-Indigenous reading list to more schools

A mandatory Grade 11 English course with an all-Indigenous reading list is spreading across the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, reports CBC. Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and introduced by the OCDSB, the class reportedly seeks to "undo the damage caused by the country's residential school system." "It provides different perspectives for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students," said Jane Alexander, who oversees the secondary school curriculum for the School Board. "It's an opportunity for them to look at contemporary Canadian themes and literature that maybe they have not been able to do before." CBC notes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action include mandatory age-appropriate curriculum on Indigenous history and residential schools from kindergarten to Grade 12. It also calls for the creation of a senior-level position in provincial and territorial governments dedicated to Indigenous content in education.

U of T's Office of Indigenous Initiatives looks to bolster cultural compentency with day-long workshops

The Office of Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Toronto is looking to fill in gaps in people's knowledge of Indigenous communities by offering day-long cultural competency training workshops across the university. "It's to make people realize that we all have different world views, different belief systems, different spiritual practices and different cultures," says John Croutch, a cultural competency training officer at the university. "These differences don't make someone less than. In fact, diversity adds to the value of our society by bringing different ideas into the mix." Croutch notes that one of the core aspects of the training is having people understanding the shifting history of settler-Indigenous relations in Canada. "And reconciliation, that's not our job," adds Croutch. "That's the rest of society's job. To gain the understanding and knowledge of the past and come to grips with why Indigenous people are in the socio-economic conditions they are in."

Saugeen First Nation, BWDSB sign new Education Services Agreement

The Saugeen First Nation and Bluewater District School Board have signed a new Education Services Agreement to ensure the continuation of student learning opportunities. The agreement is an extension to one that was previously made between the Nation and the Bruce County Board of Education. "Education is a vital component to the success of our young people's future," stated Saugeen First Nation Chief Lester Anoquot. "Bluewater District School Board recognizes the diverse community it serves, and I am pleased we will have a signed agreement going forward into our children's future. "Blackburn News reports that the agreement includes common services for all students, as well as additional programs and services or equipment to meet the needs of students from the First Naton. "In addition to our board's commitment to equity and inclusion and strong focus on promoting Indigenous education," added Alana Murray, BWDSB Director of Education, "we are constantly working towards our strategic goal of promoting confidence in our education system and encouraging partnerships."