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

Ponoka Stampeders zero for two against Stettler Lightning

Stamps prepare for Sunday home game against the Cochrane Generals

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Ponoka’s ag event centre busy with show jumping event

Equine show jumpers came to the Calnash Ag Event Centre for a show jumping event

Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Minister Shannon Phillips speaks to concerns around the Bighorn Country

Three Ponoka men and one youth charged in assault case

Police obtained a search warrant and located drugs and sawed-off shot gun

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

WATCH: Team Alberta in Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Ponoka RCMP are looking for a missing man

Police say he may be in Drayton Valley and they are worried for his wellbeing

Dog dies saving B.C. family from burning home

Homeowners safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Most Read