New deal inked for native education

Aboriginal education in the Nanaimo school district will get a boost today (Jan. 11) when a new agreement is signed.

After more than a year of talks with First Nations stakeholders, school district staff, teachers, parents and students, the second five-year Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement has been finalized.

The agreement establishes a framework for the “educational success” of aboriginal students, and will be signed at Beban Park auditorium at 1 p.m.

“I’m very excited about it, it’s a chance to celebrate the successes we have had,” said Stella Bates, district principal of aboriginal education.

There will be speeches beginning at 11:30 a.m., followed by an invitation-only luncheon before the 1 p.m. signing.

“At 1 p.m., nearly 300 students, parents, teachers, administrators, and faculty members are arriving to witness the signing,” Bates said, adding a scarf dance will follow the signing.

The agreement was put together after lengthly talks with several groups on what the areas of need were for aboriginal students.

Bates said the agreement builds on the work of the first agreement.

“We gained some really solid ground, some real improvements for First Nations students,” she said.

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