Montana First Nation Chief Darryl Strongman exchanges flags with WCPS assistant superintendent of Inclusive Learning Services Amber Hester as a sign of the formal partnership between the two organizations as WCPS assistant superintendent of People Services Corrine Thorsteinson looks on.

WCPS, Montana FN sign historic partnership

For decades, the schools in Ponoka have been providing education to nearby First Nations students.

For decades, the schools in Ponoka have been providing education to nearby First Nations students.

And now, that working relationship with the Montana First Nation has been finally formalized with the signing of a partnership agreement Sept. 21.

The agreement sets out the process, strategies and other structures necessary to ensure the needed supports and programs are in place for the Grade 9 students and those that are not presently attending school to make a smooth transition to either Ponoka Secondary Campus or Ponoka Outreach School in order to continue their education.

The large event took place in front of the Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) office and included a pipe ceremony led by one of the Montana First Nation elders in a traditional teepee.

Currently, there are a total of 414 students from Montana First Nation taking classes at either the high school or outreach and the hope is that number will increase over time.

“This partnership is long overdue and we have a long history of working together, but we have not taken this important step,” said Amber Hester, WCPS assistant superintendent of inclusive learning services, to the crowd of about 100 people gathered outside the division’s office.

“I want to take the time now to thank the work of the band council, their education team plus our trustees and the First Nation Métis Inuit co-ordinator on this formal agreement that will help build the bridge toward understanding and support for these students.”

Hester added those students presently attending WCPS schools or will be entering them after completing Grade 9 at the Montana First Nation’s Meskanahk Ka-Nipa-Wit School are who this agreement is targeted at so that they can have the opportunity to succeed at the high school level.

“It’s about integration and transition to close that gap in achievement, retention and graduation,” stated Hester.

The goals of the partnership are to see students move seamlessly from one school to another while also seeing those First Nation youths not currently attending school receive assistance, via a satellite program, to work toward or begin attending classes.

This will be accomplished through WCPS providing assistance that will also include involving wrap-around and inter-agency supports for students, complete with monitoring their progress as well as providing ongoing-support, educational or otherwise, to help increase the number of First Nation students that graduate.

“We are committed to investing in this relationship to ensure it remains strong,” added Hester.

Meanwhile, Montana Chief Darryl Strongman is excited about this new venture for his community.

“There will be definite growing pains, but we will correct and resolve them as we go. Just like everyone else, we just want to see the best for our children and this goes hand in hand with that,” he told the crowd.

“I’ve never been involved with something like this before and I’m excited about this new way of doing things. I think it’s awesome and our hope is to make it as easy as possible for (the students).”

Chief Strongman also thanked everyone that brought this idea to fruition, adding, “I know that good things are ahead.”

 

Just Posted

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

Ponoka barrel racer looks to strong future

Shayna Weir’s climb to CFR promises more to come for the barrel racer

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Ponoka Legion commemorates 100th anniversary of Armistice Day

Ponoka residents pack Legion hall during Remembrance Day

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

PHOTO: Ponoka Stampede new suites construction begins

The Ponoka Stampede Wild West Suites construction has begun

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Most Read