SASKATOON – Regina Catholic Schools has received the 2016 Premier’s Board of Education Award for its Innovation & Empowerment: Continuous Action Planning Outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) Education.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association coordinates the Premier’s Award each year. The award was presented on behalf of Premier Brad Wall during the SSBA Annual General Assembly on Monday night.
“Regina Catholic Schools has been working more than a decade to achieve this within their division and has seen significant success improving their First Nations, Métis and Inuit students’ reading levels, enrolment retention, credit attainment and on-time graduation rates,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Don Morgan said. “The Education Sector Strategic Plan has prioritized the need to reduce the disparity in graduation rates between Indigenous students and their non-Indigenous peers, and I thank Regina Catholic Schools for their leadership in this area and the great work they do every day.”
In its application for the award, Regina Catholic Schools described establishing a standard where innovation, empowerment and action have become the operating norms for addressing approaches to FNIM educational needs over the past 15 years.
Success for FNIM students is not the result of a single program or initiative; it is the outcome of ongoing planning efforts and sustained practices driven by targeted allocation of resources, professional expertise and well-forged partnerships, according to the division.
“To see the shared dedication from many stakeholders who together want to see success for our First Nations and Métis students is the reward,” said Donna Ziegler, chair of the Regina Catholic Schools board of education.
Ziegler said that improved board policies, utilizing best practices, hearing from First Nations and Métis community leaders, engaging parents, working with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and empowering the division’s Circle of Voices Committee has provided a successful pathway for staff and students.
“It’s an integrated approach that shows our commitment as a board, empowers staff to lead and supports students to be successful,” she continued. “At least two-thirds of staff have received Treaty Rights training and we have treaty catalyst teachers in every school. Listening, actualizing and empowering has allowed our staff to be supportive and our students to flourish.”
The $3,000 award is sponsored by Xerox Canada. The award recipient is recommended by a panel that includes representation from the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Education, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents of Saskatchewan.
“Xerox Canada commends the Regina Catholic School Division for their continuous innovation, empowerment and excellence in elevating the learning environment for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students,” said Mario Poirier, Vice-President, Xerox Canada. “You are joining a well-respected list of past winners and are part of Saskatchewan’s inspired educators who are helping students reach their full potential.”
Developed in 1999, the Premier’s Award recognizes educational innovations and improvements focused on student achievement that have been advanced or directed by boards of education. The prize is to be used to support or extend the innovation or project.
“The Premier’s Award shines a spotlight on great work being done by boards of education throughout Saskatchewan to support student achievement,” said SSBA President Connie Bailey. “Although there is only one recipient of the award, each submission is worthy of recognition for advancing the goal we all work to achieve – improved outcomes for students in Saskatchewan.”