Seaton Secondary’s new First Nations Academy has been at the forefront of increasing success among indigenous students this year.
According to Paul Boyd, who presented the WL Seaton First Nations Inquiry Project — Transition summary to the Vernon School District board of education Wednesday, June 13, the project has helped increase graduation rates, attendance and acceptance at post-secondary institutions.
“Here are kids advocating for their own education,” Boyd said.
The First Nations Academy is a two-block program. However, Boyd said they hope to increase the program to a full four blocks.
“I’m hoping we get to the point where we can have the First Nations Academy all year long,” Boyd said.
The academy was implemented after students requested it from administration last year. The WL Seaton First Nations Inquiry Project — Transitions team has been looking at success among indigenous students and what can be done to help transition these students into life after Seaton for the past three years.
As part of the inquiry, Boyd said that the team would like to see a dedicated indigenous counsellor and to expand mathematics support for Grade 8 and Grade 9 indigenous students.
Choice programs enrolment to increase
Enrolment for many Vernon School District choice programs is projected to increase, superintendent Joe Rogers said.
According to a speciality programs report, early French immersion at Beairsto, Alexis Park and Harwood is expected to increase to 724 from 716, while late French immersion at Harwood is expected to rise to 60 from 56 and Seaton Secondary French immersion (FRAL) is expected to jump to 440 from 411.
“It’s very impressive the work they’re doing over there at Seaton,” Rogers said.
Lisa LaBoucane, Vernon Teachers’ Association president, agreed but questioned whether or not Seaton has the required space to house the increase.
“Is the board at all concerned about the space issues happening at Seaton? We’ve had a significant growth at Seaton. Considering the composition issues that also exist at Seaton, I’m learning that we are struggling for space to be able to meet class size and composition,” LaBoucane said.
Rogers said Seaton Secondary will see a population of about 930 next year. Should the population reach 1,000, Rogers said the district will begin to look at altering feeder schools.
“I think we can handle it,” Rogers said. “It will certainly be tight.”