Assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair updates the board of education on its Indigenous immersion program for kindergarten. Photo, Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

School district gets number for Indigenous immersion in Campbell River

Pilot project in Liq’wala/Kwak’wala language, culture

The Campbell River school district hoped for at least a dozen kindergarten students for a proposed Indigenous immersion pilot program.

It got that and then some, School District 72 staff told trustees at the Feb. 5 board meeting.

“It is going to go ahead,” assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair said while updating the board on the two-year pilot program, as well as a recent open house on Jan. 20 the district held for families interested in the program.

The kindergarten students are enroled in a Liq’wala/Kwak’wala immersion program at Ripple Rock Elementary that will start in September. The district’s hope was to get between 12 and 18 students signed up. As of the board meeting, Fair said there were 14 students confirmed.

RELATED STORY: Campbell River school to get Indigenous immersion program

Fair said the open house in January provided an opportunity for the school district to give parents an idea of what the program will look like as well as the history of how it originated. It also meant Ripple Rock staff got to share some information about the school itself and the opportunities they offer. She said parents commented later about how excited the staff were about the new immersion program.

As well, the district will also be talking to parents of children currently in kindergarten at the school to determine if there is enough interest to include Grade 1 as part of the immersion program.

The school district has been working to incorporate Indigenous culture in schools in a number of ways, such as through its Aboriginal Educational Enhancement Agreement and training for staff.

RELATED STORY: All Campbell River school district leads the way with indigenous training for staff

District staff also spoke at the board meeting about how the program fits with a recent United Nations declaration.

“This year has been declared by the UN as the Year of Indigenous Languages,” superintendent Jeremy Morrow said at the outset of the meeting. “I think it’s particularly timely.”

He added the UN has made this declaration in light of the critical role that languages play in people’s lives, serving as a repository for their history, unique identity, traditions and memory. At the same time, many Indigenous languages are disappearing.

Fair expanded on this to explain the UN declaration is opening up a number of grant opportunities from the federal and provincial governments for Indigenous language projects.

“We will be exploring these with our local Indigenous communities,” she said.

The trustees followed up with a motion to work with local First Nations chiefs and councils to explore any chances for more language programs supported by grants. The trustees passed the motion unanimously.

Trustee Daryl Hagen added that the district chose to move ahead with the new program at Ripple Rock on its own rather than as a result of a grant opportunity.

“I would like it to be noted that we did this not expecting to get any grants,” he said. “We just said we had to do this.”

Some trustees echoed the points about this being an opportunity to work further with the local communities on its Aboriginal Educational Enhancement Agreement. Others touched on how the program helps fulfill recommendations from the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Our support of this program is at least a first step along that way,” trustee John Kerr said. “I would suspect that we are probably, if we’re not the only district, one of the few districts in the province who is doing this.”

Just Posted

Port Hardy Rotary Club donates $8,077 to the Gazette Christmas Hamper Fund

The hamper fund raises food and donations for many communities in the North Island.

Oscar Hickes: The longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island has been cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Port McNeill council wants to see a plan on how to protect and invest tax dollars

“if we can make $40,000 or $50,000 in interest, why not, as it could reduce taxes”

Claire Trevena’s MLA Report for the North Island

“As we head towards Christmas, I, like everyone, hope for a resolution to the strike”

Port McNeill’s annual Christmas Craft Fair

With upwards of 600 people attending this one-day sale, business was brisk.

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read