Highlighting Success

Highlighting Success

With the summer vacation now just one month away,  I thought this might be a good time to highlight a special event being held in Regina in July and invite Regina Public Schools students,  employees,  and parents to help make it a success. The 2014 North American Indigenous Games are being held in and around our city from July 20-27. More than 5,000 of North America’s elite Indigenous athletes (aged 14-19) from 26 different Indigenous regions will converge on our city for an event which showcases unity, sport, culture, youth, volunteerism, and teamwork. The event will need 2,000 volunteers to assist with everything from opening and closing ceremonies, to serving refreshments, to being live announcers at the events! If you want to be involved in this once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase our city, our athletes, and our pride in our Indigenous heritage, please contact Carrie Bourassa, Volunteer Manager at 306 535 6855 or at cbourassa@regina2014naig.com or click here.  I urge you to consider having an active role making these games as memorable as possible for everyone.

Continuing with the theme of excellence and our Indigenous peoples, I’d like to take the time to acknowledge some of the fine work being done in Regina Public Schools to support and enhance the achievement of our First Nations and Métis learners. While there is a risk in singling out individuals in any large organization, I would like to commend both Sarah Longman and Calvin Racette for their patience and their leadership in creating a language assessment tool (Askî – Help Me Tell My Story) that now has been adopted in school divisions throughout our province, for their tremendous work on increasing the number of self-identified aboriginal learners in our school system, and for their unrelenting focus on creating culturally sensitive learning environments in our schools.  Their work in acquiring additional funding and filling out a myriad of reports should also, perhaps, not be left unmentioned!

Calvin and Sarah do not do this work alone. They are supported by our Elders’ Advisory Council who work collaboratively with the Board of Education to create policy and direction, by the Elders and aboriginal advocates who work in our schools on a daily basis to support both staff and students, and by principals, classroom teachers, and support staff who do everything in their power to make all our students successful. While much of this work is focussed in our community schools, it bears repeating that there are First Nations and Métis learners in every school in our division, and their presence, contributions, and accomplishments serve to strengthen the fabric of, not only our schools, but also the communities in which those schools are located.

The opening of Seven Stones Community School in September will give us another opportunity to reflect on the contributions of our indigenous peoples and our ongoing commitment to our students. The school takes its name from the Anishinabe teachings about the psychological needs of all people: Growth, Order, Adequacy, Love, Social Approval, Security, and Self Esteem.

Words not only to “Live By” but also to “LIVE UP TO!”

Julie MacRae

Director of Education