As the Director of Education, I work closely with the Yaasgaabwitaaget/Superintendant of Academics, the Executive Administrative Assistant, and the Senior Business Official. These senior administrators have multiple schools and departments they directly oversee, and we meet weekly to monitor the different areas and make plans to continuously improve and problem-solve. Externally, I maintain several working relationships with external stakeholders and teams. Some of these include the Education Committee, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory (WUT) Director of Operations, WUT Program Managers, the Community Wellness Team, Emergency Planning Team, WUT Partners in Education, Employment and Training, the First Nations with Schools Collective, Anishinabek Nation Education Department, Laurentian University Native Education Council, Indigenous Services Canada, Chiefs of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Education, and Ontario College of Teachers. I am also a board member for Chapter One.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2023 - 2024 school year. I would like to highlight the remarkable achievements, growth, and commitment demonstrated by our students, educators, staff, and community that will occur throughout this academic year.
At the WBE, our core objective has always been to provide an education that empowers community members to participate fully in any society by promoting a positive self-concept of the Anishinaabe nation and to promote lifelong learning and success guided by Anishinaabe world views. Each passing year we make significant progress in achieving this goal, demonstrating our commitment to fostering academic excellence and cultural pride among our students.
We are delighted to report educators have worked tirelessly to implement innovative teaching methodologies (Schoology, Chapter One, MyBluePrint), ensuring that our students receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for future success. With a strong focus on literacy, Anishinaabemowin, land-based learning, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, we have witnessed notable improvements in students, indicating the effectiveness of our instructional strategies.
Preserving and promoting Anishinaabemowin remains a top priority for us. This year, our schools will organize several cultural events and workshops that will allow our students to immerse themselves in traditional practices, storytelling, language revitalization, and First Nations art forms. We also were able to hire several fluent language speakers (Anishinaabemowin Specialist Instructors and Anishinaabe Knowledge Keepers) who reach all students in every classroom. These initiatives have significantly contributed to fostering a strong sense of cultural identity and pride among our students, reinforcing their connection to their culture and community.
Our commitment to providing our educators and staff with continuous professional development opportunities has yielded positive outcomes. We have invested in training programs, workshops, and conferences to enhance their skills, ensuring that they remain at the forefront of educational practices. This investment has translated into improved teaching methodologies, student engagement, and overall classroom outcomes.
The support and involvement of our community have been instrumental in the success of our schools. We have continued to foster strong partnerships with local elders, community organizations, and businesses, allowing us to offer unique learning opportunities and resources to our students. Our community outreach initiatives, such as after-school programs and family engagement events, have further strengthened the bond between our schools and the broader community, creating a nurturing environment for our students to thrive.
We are proud to announce continued progress in upgrading our school facilities to create a safe and conducive learning environment. The implementation of modern technology (interactive displays in every classroom), enhanced classrooms (1 to 1 student ratio for devices), and recreational facilities have not only improved the educational experience but also fostered a sense of pride and ownership among our students. We continue to adapt and make use of every square footage in all of our schools.
As we look forward to the future with enthusiasm and determination. Our focus for the upcoming year will be to build upon the successes of our academic programs, expand Anishinaabemowin Language initiatives, continue with our land-based learning programs, and continue to provide opportunities for professional growth to our dedicated educators and staff. We remain committed to nurturing our students’ potential, empowering them to become confident and capable individuals ready to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.
In closing, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the teachers, support staff, students, parents, and community members who have contributed to the success of our schools. Your steady support and dedication have been instrumental in creating an educational institution that we can all be proud of.
Aambe, let us have an amazing year!
Maureen Peltier - Education Director
the 2023-2024 school year.