Assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair updates the board of education on its Indigenous immersion program for kindergarten. Photo, Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

School district gets number for Indigenous immersion in Campbell River

Pilot project in Liq’wala/Kwak’wala language, culture

The Campbell River school district hoped for at least a dozen kindergarten students for a proposed Indigenous immersion pilot program.

It got that and then some, School District 72 staff told trustees at the Feb. 5 board meeting.

“It is going to go ahead,” assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair said while updating the board on the two-year pilot program, as well as a recent open house on Jan. 20 the district held for families interested in the program.

The kindergarten students are enroled in a Liq’wala/Kwak’wala immersion program at Ripple Rock Elementary that will start in September. The district’s hope was to get between 12 and 18 students signed up. As of the board meeting, Fair said there were 14 students confirmed.

RELATED STORY: Campbell River school to get Indigenous immersion program

Fair said the open house in January provided an opportunity for the school district to give parents an idea of what the program will look like as well as the history of how it originated. It also meant Ripple Rock staff got to share some information about the school itself and the opportunities they offer. She said parents commented later about how excited the staff were about the new immersion program.

As well, the district will also be talking to parents of children currently in kindergarten at the school to determine if there is enough interest to include Grade 1 as part of the immersion program.

The school district has been working to incorporate Indigenous culture in schools in a number of ways, such as through its Aboriginal Educational Enhancement Agreement and training for staff.

RELATED STORY: All Campbell River school district leads the way with indigenous training for staff

District staff also spoke at the board meeting about how the program fits with a recent United Nations declaration.

“This year has been declared by the UN as the Year of Indigenous Languages,” superintendent Jeremy Morrow said at the outset of the meeting. “I think it’s particularly timely.”

He added the UN has made this declaration in light of the critical role that languages play in people’s lives, serving as a repository for their history, unique identity, traditions and memory. At the same time, many Indigenous languages are disappearing.

Fair expanded on this to explain the UN declaration is opening up a number of grant opportunities from the federal and provincial governments for Indigenous language projects.

“We will be exploring these with our local Indigenous communities,” she said.

The trustees followed up with a motion to work with local First Nations chiefs and councils to explore any chances for more language programs supported by grants. The trustees passed the motion unanimously.

Trustee Daryl Hagen added that the district chose to move ahead with the new program at Ripple Rock on its own rather than as a result of a grant opportunity.

“I would like it to be noted that we did this not expecting to get any grants,” he said. “We just said we had to do this.”

Some trustees echoed the points about this being an opportunity to work further with the local communities on its Aboriginal Educational Enhancement Agreement. Others touched on how the program helps fulfill recommendations from the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Our support of this program is at least a first step along that way,” trustee John Kerr said. “I would suspect that we are probably, if we’re not the only district, one of the few districts in the province who is doing this.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels return to Courtenay

Eight-time Maple Blues winner Carlos del Junco and his Blues Mongrels return… Continue reading

Orcas spotted hunting north of Comox

Did you see the orcas in the area on Feb. 20? Ella… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

Wounded Warrior makes a few Comox Valley stops on Feb. 26

Organizers release schedule for stops on this year’s relay run on the Island

VIDEO: Comox airport’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start for Make-A-Wish trip

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Development proposal in Courtenay stalled at third reading

A development proposal adjacent to the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community… Continue reading

Most Read