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Commissioners invite principals and CEAs to collaborative working session

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"Commissioners, Community Education Adminstrators (CEAs), and Principals held a joint working session November 26, 2019 to learn about Council's new expectations, and to share some of their community's successes.

Those expectations include a boost in the five-year graduation rate to 76 per cent by the year 2024; 96 per cent for the 7-year graduation rate.

"We won’t get anywhere unless we move forward bravely."

Within the year, Council expects the Cree School Board's operations to implement a way to identify and track at-risk students. It also wants to hear that the attendance rate for elementary students is 90 per cent. For secondary students, by 2024, the attendance rate should reach 95 per cent, Council said.

"We won’t get anywhere unless we move forward bravely," Pash said. "We don’t believe we will get where we want to be unless we look at the situation we’re in now with open eyes and make decisions that are forward thinking and bold."

Principals and CEAs had the chance to sit with the commissioner for their community to share success stories, from new opportunities for land-based learning, to specialized academic and interest-based programming, to increased focus on parent and community engagement.

The introduction of a morning meeting with all students to rally their school spirit and set intention for the academic day has "made all the difference," said Waskaganish principal Shaun McMahon, who presented his schools' successes alongside his CEA Sarah Diamond and the Commissioner for Waskaganish, Brenda Hester.

"I think we’re collaborating well and we have a really good partnership going."

In Eastmain, where students used to assume they would not graduate, now students are  talking about what their graduation dress will look like as soon as their final year begins. Principal Trevor Mercer says that's a marked change in the parents' perspectives as well as the students.

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Waswanipi is celebrating a potential for 33 students to graduate this year, while in Nemaska, an 80 per cent turnout for the recent Parents' Night drew a round of applause from around the room.

Specialized pathways to success such as the Work-Oriented Training Pathway were highlighted: "You can't expect every student to achieve in the same way - some students learn more with their hands," said James Bay Eeyou School Principal Eric Grimstead.

Community engagement is also growing:

  • Badabin Eeyou School in Whapmagoostui has both a student council and a radio show;
  • the local health clinic in Wemindji hosts a youth clinic once a week at the high school; and,
  • after-school activities are bringing in people to the schools who some say have rarely done so.

This was the second working session involving CEAs and Principals with Commissioners. The first was held in March 2019 in Montebello.

"It’s a chance for us to build connections," said Director General Abraham Jolly. "And perhaps for you to be informed more about how we are working toward our key performance indicators."

Council's set of expectations were born from a desire, under the leadership of Sarah Pash, to be more "authentically involved" in the work of our school board and schools, she said, adding "I think we’re collaborating well and we have a really good partnership going."

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