School celebrates strong student attendance

“There are difficulties but we have a very positive relationship with the community.” Brad Dennis, guidance counselor

Tyreese Ermineskin

Tyreese Ermineskin

Young students at the Mamawi Atosketan Native School closed out the school year June 18 with positive recognition, high grades and strong attendance.

Principal Gail Wilton said everyone involved looked forward to the awards day. “This is a very exciting day for out students and our staff.”

Indeed, the school’s gym had almost all the students being awarded in attendance with proud parents and grandparents taking pictures for posterity. It was also graduation day for the Kindergarten class, which guidance counsellor Grad Dennis said is an exciting time for parents.

Students with a perfect record are rewarded with a brand new bicycle and those with 90 per cent or higher attendance received gifts and certificates. Dennis says the award program’s goal is to bring four guiding principles that have recently been adopted at Mamawi Atosketan Native School: context, mind, body and spirit.

Within those four guidelines is what the school calls a Circle of Support. Dennis says teachers look at seven protective factors in that circle intended to see children improve themselves on a daily basis.

These seven factors are:

• School connectedness

• Community mindedness

• Positive cultural identity

• Reduced perceived discrimination

• Spirituality

• Positive relationships with adults

These principles guide educators at the school, explained Dennis, and despite challenges along the way, he feels the program is working. Dennis did not say what some of those challenges are, except that the protective factors were adopted this year.

“There are difficulties but we have a very positive relationship with the community,” he said.

This school will be expanding next year to accommodate a growing need for Grade 12. The school has classes from Kindergarten to Grade 11 right now.

“We’ll have shop, a music room, an elder’s room,” said Dennis.

Once complete, the school will have two buildings, one for the high school and the current building for the elementary school.

Dennis told teachers that students have been able to take part in 50 different field trips and the high school students toured 12 universities this year.