Cree School Board releases 2016-2017 Annual Report
Every year, we release to you the data and successes of our previous school year, in the hope that you will gain understanding and perspective about the goals of the Cree School Board. This year, we are pleased to share some valuable stories about our mission.
You will find attached our 2016-2017 Annual Report: Inspiring Student Success. Within the first few pages, you will find data describing:
- Our student population
- Graduation rates
- Adult education facts and figures
- A synopsis of our Post-Secondary Student Services.
Following the messages from our Director General and Chairperson, we have included Key Initiatives from our CSB Strategic Action Plan 2016-2021 identified for focus in the 2016-2017 school year. The data by school follows.
- Expansion of the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) – in place since 2011 in areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening and media production - to include elementary science in French and English sectors; this meant that students could learn science concepts through the use of Cree culture. We’ve included an example of what this looks like.
- Use of virtual reality technology program, Niwîchewâkato, to help teach Cree language in Oujé-Bougoumou and Chisasibi.
- Use of Response to Intervention (RTI) training to help equip teachers to identify and manage individual and group challenges. We’ve dedicated a special section to RTI
- Implementation of the MikwChiyam Arts Concentration to allow students to build skills and explore a variety of arts.
- Introduction of the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program.
- Launch of a Hockey Concentration Program that helps students ages 12 to 15 balance hockey development with academics as well as the Niikaan Video Game Concentration program.
- Extracurricular activities such as sports, public speaking and art, sometimes including regional competition.
Attendance continues to be an issue in our schools, one that we are addressing through a variety of initiatives focused on family and community engagement. For examples, schools offered a variety of special events that included families, from feasts to book fairs, spirit days, and more. One school even offered to serve parents a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee one day a month to help entice them into the hallways. One school reported that regular communication with parents through social media, teacher letters and phone calls helped improve attendance at parent teacher nights. To engage the community and education partners, a Regional General Assembly was held in November 2016 in Mistissini to provide a chance for the School Board to engage its partners in defining calls to action. Other initiatives include:
- Attendance Record Cards
- Publishing of Attendance Data in community newsletters and on the radio
- Providing breakfast and snack programs
- Increasing physical education time
- Attendance award and appreciation efforts
Furthermore, a variety of school/community partnerships are credited with strengthening engagement in learning:
- Empower Reading, a collaboration between the CSB and the Learning Disabilities Research Program at Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital. 139 students across eight Cree communities participated during 2016-17.
- Summer Literacy Camps, a collaboration between Frontier College and the CSB for 5 to 12-year-olds in each of our communities. In summer 2017, 551 children took part and campers on average read six books during the summer.
- Healthy Lunches Program / Breakfast Program
- Family Challenge
- Alternative Suspension Program and SNAP (Stop Now and Plan) Program in partnership with Cree Justice.
Academically, our teachers discovered that grouping students based on needs and ability rather than grade level led to successful outcomes. Luke Mettaweskum School in Nemaska credits this process for helping to raise the number of students reading at or above grade level by 14 per cent. And, we are happy to report an increase in students meeting Canadian Achievement Test standards in both Grade 6 and Sec. III. Some of the initiatives used to help boost engagement in mathematics included:
- Elephant Thoughts
- In-class CAT preparation
- Mathematics Focus Group that organized regular math competitions and workouts
In the Arts and Sciences, students deepened their engagement through school and regional science fairs. In one school, close to half the student population participated in the local science fair. The MikwChiyam Arts Concentration Programgrew as a pathway for secondary students to explore alternative forms of expression – in one case, a student who had been failing academically improved attendance by 14 per cent, and ended the year with an academic average of 70 per cent.
Overall, in most of our schools, more than half of our Grade 6 students met the benchmarks for English; in one school, 91 per cent of the students met the benchmark. Two of every three students met or exceeded their grade level in English as a Second Language, and 87 per cent of students reached the Secondary V Cree Language benchmark, while 48 per cent reached the Secondary IV History benchmark.
These positives have helped to strengthen the overall success of graduates of the Cree School Board who attend post-secondary institutions. From Nova Scotia to British Columbia, 634 students engaged our Post-Secondary Student Services as they studied at college, university or in vocational programs. In fact, since 2010, there has been a 45 per cent increase in the number of students enrolling in post-secondary preparatory programs.
Finally, our Sabtuan Adult EducationServices offered programs in both General Education and Vocational Training at both full-time and part-time study schedules. The success rates in these programs is extremely high; in several centres at least 80 per cent of students successfully completed their study year and, in one, 100 per cent of the students were successful.
The Cree School Board continues to celebrate and build on these successes, in our mission to provide for life-long learning while instilling the Cree identity in partnership with our communities.
We welcome your interest in any of our stories, and will happily facilitate interviews as necessary.
For further questions or interviews, hi-res photos, etcetera, please don’t hesitate to call Jeanne Pengelly, Communications and Community Relations Consultant at (418) 923-2764 ext. 1287.