Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) released its annual report today at the organization’s Annual General Assembly in Dartmouth. The report highlights MK’s work during the 2013-2014 academic year and focuses on its core areas of activity: Elementary and secondary education, post-secondary education, performance measurement, the Atlantic Canada First Nation Help Desk, Mi’kmaq language, special education, sports, health and wellness, and the First Nation School Success Program (FNSSP).
In 2013-14, high school graduation rates among Mi’kmaw students in Nova Scotia reached 87% per cent. Nearly 500 Mi’kmaw students were enrolled in post secondary education, and almost 100 of those students graduated in Spring 2014 with a post-secondary diploma or degree. Literacy, numeracy, school attendance, and student retention performance continued to improve.
MK Executive Director, Eleanor Bernard, feels they’ve come a long way in a short time and believes they have a self-governance model of education that works.
“Our students are becoming more confident in themselves and their education,” said Bernard. “And when they enter Grade 12 in the fall, they say ‘This is the year I’m going to graduate’ – and this year 87% of them did.”
In 1999, under federal government legislation, Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia won the right to manage the education of their children for the first time in a century. As an education authority that provides central services, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey assists Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw schools deliver language immersion courses, culturally appropriate teaching pedagogy, and other initiatives to promote student success.
Efforts to maintain and revitalize the Mi’kmaq language remained strong in 2013-14 through the translation of seven Robert Munsch books into the Mi’kmaw language, and the development of Mi’kmaw language apps for Apple and android technology. Infrastructure grew substantially with the opening of a new state-of-the-art gymnasium at Chief Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, a new P-6 school in Membertou considered to be one of the greenest in the province, and a new NSCC Learning Centre in Wagmatcook. The 2013-14 academic year also saw Glooscap First Nation join the Mi’kmaw education authority, a renewed education agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia, and the first class of a Mi’kmaq language immersion program to graduate from Chief Allison Bernard Memorial High School.
Major steps were taken with MK’s DADAVAN initiative, a system that monitors strategies and goals for schools and creates educational support statistics such as graduation, attendance and retention rates. Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk continued to provide technology related resources to First Nation schools in Atlantic Canada, including fibre optics connectivity, safe Internet feeds, videoconferencing networks, and youth employment opportunities.
MK chairman Chief Leroy Denny says students only succeed when everyone works together.
“Our communities’ partnerships and dedication to advancing Mi’kmaw education are providing our students with access to first-class learning environments and are opening more doors and providing more opportunities for them to grow than ever before,” Denny said.