Q - What are the goals of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) programming in Fort McMurray Catholic schools?
A- FNMI programming in Fort McMurray Catholic schools is based on the Alberta Education Collaborative Framework. This framework serves as a guide to strengthen partnerships between school authorities, parents, communities and other stakeholders, as they work together to improve the educational outcomes of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.
Q - Whom in the school can I ask to help me support FNMI students?
A – You have a number of people to help you. The first person to contact and speak with is the principal of the school. In turn, the principal may put you in contact with the classroom teacher or the school’s FNMI liaison. Other people in the school that the principal may suggest can help you include the vice principal, the school counsellor and the Classroom Support teacher (CST).
Q- Who is the school’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) Liaison and what does this person do to help FNMI students?
A – FNMI liaisons have the knowledge and the skills to work well with FNMI students and the FNMI community. They work as a team member in their school to support and promote academic achievement in all students. Each liaison works with the school principal, the classroom teacher, and the school counsellor to understand and meet the needs of FNMI students.
The liaisons support students by helping them feel welcome in the school. As needed, they ensure student attendance and academic success by engaging parents and the FNMI community in the education of their children – both as individuals and as a whole. The FNMI liaisons collaborate with classroom teachers to develop the FNMI perspectives found in the Alberta Education curriculums taught in Fort McMurray Catholic School classrooms.
Q- What can parents/families and guardians do to help support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students?
A – Parents/families and guardians of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students can best help by being informed, supportive, and involved in the lives of the students.
Support and involvement are necessary through the years of each student’s school life from their first year through to their graduation from grade twelve. (“ I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success - his education, his skills - and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society” – Chief Dan George: July 1, 1967 in Vancouver)
Q- What additional supports are there for assisting FNMI student success in our schools?
A - In additional to Alberta Education’s support, the Fort McMurray Catholic School District benefits from the communities in the Wood Buffalo Region (Fort McMurray and surrounding area) who support its efforts for FNMI students.
Our Catholic Schools value the support that it has from the local First Nations and Métis community councils and organizations in our region. Through their elders, administrations, members, and their good will FMCSD better meets the needs of our FNMI students.
Our regional business community generously supports programs with annual grant money issued to the school district to pay for additional programming in our schools: literacy, breakfast/lunch programs, community feasts, special events/travel, professional development, and scholarships/awards.
The region also has many social service agencies and organizations supporting students and families. Through the principal and the FNMI liaison, our schools advocate for FNMI students and families for material goods, health services, and social supports. These ensure that FNMI students arrive at school safely, healthy, and prepared and willing to learn.
Once in school, students are supported by additional programming to be meaningfully engaged. And following their successes, families and students are then acknowledged for their achievements through sponsored celebrations and awards like the annual Traditional Celebration of Achievement.
Q - What school programs are available to FNMI students?
A – Programming for Fort McMurray Catholic Schools’ FNMI students is inclusive. All students in our schools have access to all programs.
Alberta Education’s curriculums used in all of our classrooms have FNMI perspectives embedded in the core and supplementary subjects at all grade levels. In addition, schools also have extra-curricular programs before school, during lunchtime, and after school. These programs vary from school to school, so please check with the principal or the FNMI liaison at your school for details. Some extra curricular programs with an FNMI perspective that have been available for all students include: cultural arts/crafts, Cree language programs, Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) after-school programs, homework clubs, and community service programs.
Regional summer programs for students, have been offered in the Wood Buffalo Region over the years; please check with school FNMI liaisons for availability, information, and details.