Message from the Director of Education
Aanii Kina Goyaa,
The Wikwemikong Board of Education is located in the community of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory and has been in operation since 1985.
The WBE supports the educational needs of children/students from the early years to Post-Secondary. More specifically, the WBE oversees the educational achievements at the Hub Center, Junior School, Pontiac School, and the Wikwemikong High School.
The Hub Center provides early learning education for young learners in the early year's program. This program is supported by the Ministry of Education. The children work with qualified Early Childcare Educators. This year, there was a greater focus on supporting special needs and oral language development, with an emphasis on Anishnawbemowin.
The Junior School aims to supports students from Kindergarten to grade 3. Young students in kindergarten are being taught by teachers using play-based inquiry while combining Anishnawbemowin in the classroom. In grades 1-3, teachers are implementing the Daily 5 and CAFÉ. This focuses on the four major components of reaching (comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary). Students learn different strategies to become better readers and writers.
The Pontiac School is attended by students from grade 4 to grade 8. In January 2019, students in grade 8 will have the option of taking the “Reach Ahead” course. By participation in this course, grade 8 students will enter grade 9 with 1 high school credit in their pocket before entering secondary schooling. Furthermore, repairs have been made to the gym roof this summer.
We have added additional roles to support student learning for students attending the Junior School and Pontiac School. There has been a focus on mental health for students. The Student Wellness Navigator provides mentorship and support for students that might need added support and additional TLC. The guidance of Elders is also a part of our education system. They provide support and spiritual guidance for students that need the comfort of traditional Elders.
Teachers, Elders, and students will have access to a fire pit in their schoolyard. This will help bring students learning outdoors, not just in the summer weather but, also in the wintertime. Students will have the opportunity to listen to traditional story-telling and learn Anishnawbemowin around a fire while visiting with Elders and Knowledge Keepers from the community.
The Wikwemikong High School is for secondary students attending grades 9 to grade 12. Students have been working hard during their summer vacation. They have participated as construction workers and students while achieving 2 CO-OP credits. Further to this, the Wikwemikong High School also boasts of its Robotics Course which offers hands-on learning in an environment that challenges learners to learn as a team and code. This is a great foundation for computer coding and sparks student interest in engineering. We are fortunate to have 2 former FNSSP coaches teach many of our compulsory English, Math and Science courses.
The WBE runs its own First Nation Student Success Program to support teachers and student achievement in literacy, numeracy and student achievement. We have highly qualified teachers that are available to support principals and classroom teachers on a daily basis to support in the Daily 5, Leveled Literacy Interventions, Literacy, and Numeracy, Educational Technology, etc. The program helps develop and implement School Improvement Plans, supports the collection and analysis of individual and school-wide student data, supports the integration of technology in the classroom, and organizes ongoing job-embedded professional development.
Special Education has been a focus for all three schools as the WBE meets the special needs of students concerning assessments and programming. This year, we have been able to add additional student support that include one-to-one workers and Elder-Mentorship programming. In addition, more student resources and professional development for our Special Education Resource Teacher have been made to support students that may have needs related to neurological special needs such as autism, FAS/FASE, etc. Our SERTS and Education Assistants will be learning the ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) through Geneva within the next couple of months. Further to this, each of our schools will have Sensory Rooms for students to take a break when they need it.
The Wiikwemkoong Anishinaabemowin Kinoomaagewin team runs an excellent program that supports the community and teachers to imbed Anishinaabe language and culture in everyday classes. The expertise of language, history, and culture of Wikwemikong is located in the community through Elders and fluent speakers that support this initiative. Lots of teacher-made materials that are easy to use are located for the classroom teacher to access use at the WAK. Our focus is to support all teachers and education staff to speak the Anishnawbe language in the classroom as much as possible whether we are in the beginner or expert level in fluency.
The Post-Secondary Student Support Services went through some changes this year. We have updated our ‘Student Handbook’. PSSS has opened the door for learners to take advantage of not just diploma and programs that offer degrees but also for courses that offer 1-year certificate training through colleges in the new 2018-2019 fall term. In addition, Wikwemikong band members that are teachers can now apply for AQ courses through the PSSS program.
The WBE Administration Office has grown and gone through some changes. We have restructured our organization and have added the following managerial roles:
Senior Business Official
In closing, the Wikwemikong Board of Education is looking forward to the new school 2020-2021 year.
Fay Zoccole – Education Director