In front of community leaders, First Nation chiefs and elders as well as Langley school district staff and trustees, the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement was signed last Thursday inside the new Kwantlen Cultural Centre.
Langley School District’s agreement was the 111th to be signed in B.C.
According to Kwantlen First Nation members Donna Robins, who is also a Langley teacher, and Cheryl Gabriel, the new agreement is “awesome,” but also one “not to be taken lightly.”
The sisters were part of an Aboriginal advisory board, which spent more than a year working to create an agreement — a call to action designed to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students.
The pair spoke to the Langley board of education at the Sept. 29 meeting inviting them to attend the historic signing.
In Langley, there are 1,850 Aboriginal students.
Michael Morgan, District Principal of Aboriginal Education, credits the dedication of the Aboriginal community and the advisory board for putting together an agreement the whole community can be proud of.
“We have received a tremendous amount of wisdom and guidance from our Aboriginal community,” said Morgan. “A great many people have put a part of themselves into the creation of this important agreement. Next we must turn those beautiful words into meaningful actions for our students.”
An EA is a working agreement between a school district, all local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education, designed to enhance the educational achievement of Aboriginal students. The previous five-year agreement had expired in Langley.
This is the first year that Aboriginal culture and history will be part of the curriculum across the province.