The integration of the Michif language as part of the Métis Cultural Program located at Westmount Community School was the focus of the Celebrating Excellence segment of the Saskatoon Board of Education meeting held May 9.
A group of students shared their learning with the board by singing a song in Michif and then paired up with a trustee or administrator to greet them in the language. Principal Angie Caron said students are learning to read and write in Michif and the language is used in the delivery of curricular outcomes to kindergarten to Grade 4 students who receive language lessons several times a week within the Métis cultural classroom. Team teaching experiences offered in grades 5 to 8 share the language with older students.
Caron said there are a few fluent Michif speakers who share their language with students and Westmount staff members are also learning the language in order to share with the community.
Other highlights of the meeting included:
- Staff from Bedford Road Collegiate and Mount Royal Collegiate spoke about the work being done as part of the Following Their Voices initiative and how it has impacted teacher practice and student engagement. Following Their Voices is a Saskatchewan-specific initiative designed to improve Métis, First Nations and Inuit student outcomes by engaging and supporting students through changes in student-teacher relationships, instructional practices and the learning environment.
- A biannual survey of school division employees shows 96 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that they enjoy their workplace and 89 per cent indicate they have had the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Areas of the survey where staff indicated the highest level of agreement reflected a shared purpose focusing on student learning and a positive level of mutual support and assistance provided by workplace colleagues.
- A report from the division's Information Services Department highlighted data, facts and figures relating to technology in Saskatoon Public Schools. During 2016 the division had 16,000 devices (computers, tablets, data projectors, etc.) an increase of more than 10,000 devices from 2006. There are almost 43,000 user accounts, including more than 25,000 student accounts plus those for staff and parents, and each day there are an average 16,000 logons recorded from both division-owned and non-SPS devices. A total of 123,000 emails are received per day by division-managed email addresses but almost 94 per cent of those messages are spam.
Reports and information presented at board meetings can be found at www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca. The next meeting of the Board of Education is Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.