SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Oct. 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After a more than 20-year partnership, Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Saskatoon Public Schools signed a historic education agreement this morning. Through the partnership, the school division welcomes Whitecap Dakota Elementary School as an alliance school, making it the first on-reserve school to be a part of a Saskatchewan school division.
The goal of the agreement is to enhance educational opportunities and supports for all Whitecap students. The four-year agreement will see federal funding for the education of Whitecap students flow to Saskatoon Public Schools. All Whitecap Dakota Elementary School teachers are now employed by Saskatoon Public Schools.
"Our community and our children have certainly enjoyed the benefits of our partnerships with Saskatoon Public Schools to date and we look to build on that," said Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation. "The agreement we are signing today is a product of our recent efforts, with the support and involvement of the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, to ensure Whitecap children have access to the same range of services as kids in Saskatoon, while continuing to receive Dakota language and cultural teachings."
The agreement recognizes and respects Whitecap's inherent jurisdiction over education of its members and establishes a co-governance mechanism to oversee school operations.
"This agreement solidifies our many years of collaboration and cooperation with Whitecap Dakota First Nation, all of which has been focused on doing what is best for students," said Saskatoon Board of Education Chair Ray Morrison. "While this agreement formally welcomes Whitecap Dakota Elementary School into our division, it will lead to enriching opportunities for all our students and staff members. Public education is about being open to all and I am proud to lead our division as we take this historic step forward in that regard."
An important aspect of the agreement is the smooth transition of Whitecap students who attend school in Saskatoon. Whitecap School offers classes from Prekindergarten through Grade 4, after which students will be transported to Saskatoon to complete their elementary and secondary education.
"I commend Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Saskatoon Public School Division for making Whitecap the first on-reserve school to benefit from an alliance with a provincial school division," said Education Minister Don Morgan. "This partnership allows Whitecap students to benefit from the same supports available in Saskatoon schools, right from Prekindergarten to Grade 12. By working together, these expanded learning opportunities will help prepare students for their futures, which is what putting the student first is all about."
Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located approximately 26 kms south of Saskatoon and has over 500 residents living on-reserve, including Whitecap members, members of other First Nations, and non-status residents.
Saskatoon Public Schools is the largest school division in the province. The division operates 44 elementary schools, 11 secondary schools, two associate schools and one alliance school. The division serves more than 23,000 students and employs approximately 2,400 professional and support staff. Learn more at www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca.
CONTACT: Veronica Baker Manager, Communications and Marketing Saskatoon Public Schools Office (306) 683-8325 Cell (306) 220-1649 firstname.lastname@example.org Alycia Cardell-McLeod Whitecap Dakota First Nation Office (306) 477-0908 Cell (306) 250-4327 acardell-mcleod@whitecapdakota
Source:Saskatoon Public Schools