Highlights from the December 2017 Council of Commissioners

2017 | 12 | 17

A new Council of Commissioners was formed following the November 15, 2017 elections held in all Nunavik communities. At their first meeting, the Commissioners elected a new executive committee formed of:

  • Robert Watt, President and Commissioner for Kuujjuaq
  • Alicie Nalukturuk, Vice-President and Commissioner for Inukjuak
  • Anthony Ittoshat, Commissioner for Kuujjuaraapik
  • Sarah Aloupa, Commissioner for Quaqtaq
  • Elena Berthe remains in her role of KRG representative

In his inauguration speech, Robert Watt identified the following priorities for his term as President of the school board:

  1. Ensure progress and continuity in the implementation of the school board’s strategic plan.
  2. Strengthen regional partnerships to ensure that the school board engages all Nunavik stakeholders to address the issues that have a direct impact on students’ educational success and well-being.
  3. Engage in a constructive dialogue with the relevant counterparts at the Ministry of Education to ensure that the needs of our students are met with adequate resources, several kinds of expertise and services.

As of this year, sponsorship for post-secondary studies will be more accessible to Nunavimmiut who hold a Secondary School Diploma (SSD)

The Post-Secondary Student Services Department changed the requirements beneficiaries have to meet when applying for sponsorship with the school board to study at a college or Cégep.

As of this year, the TOEFL and TESTCAN language tests will no longer be administered to Secondary V students, as a prerequisite for sponsorship. Students will be accepted for sponsorship if they meet both the admission requirements of the post-secondary institution to which they applied, and the requirements of the school board’s student sponsorship policy.

Update on the delivery of retroactive Secondary School Diplomas for Nunavik students who received an Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies between 2015 and 2017

As announced in November 2017, the Ministry of Education is in the process of preparing all the diplomas to be issued to Nunavik students. The school board provided all required information to the Quebec Ministry of Education.

In total, we confirmed the names, permanent codes and home addresses of 145 students (not 146 as was initially announced). The academic records linked to each students’ permanent code has now been modified in the electronic system used at the provincial level. The electronic student records of each of these 145 high school graduates now indicates that they hold a Secondary Studies Diploma.

The diplomas will be sent to each student by mail, at their home address in Nunavik, by the Quebec Ministry of Education. The school board is currently awaiting the confirmed date on which the diplomas will be mailed.

The implementation of the Strategic Plan is progressing

The newly elected Council of Commissioners was briefed on the school board’s strategic plan. For the schools and departments, the strategic plan is key to focusing everyone’s energy on enhancing support for students’ success.

This first 2-year period was a learning experience for everyone, as departments and schools developed action plans aligned with the goals defined in the strategic plan. In June 2018, we will reach the end of the first 2-year period by which a set of specific goals and targets have to be met. From June 2018 to June 2023, the school board will be working towards the implementation of 5-year goals.

Available on our website, the strategic plan is structured around 4 strategic directions that focus on:

  1. Strengthening Inuit culture, language and values
  2. Ensuring the development of the school board as an organization where Inuit are working with and for Inuit
  3. Ensuring the success and well-being of students
  4. Working with Inuit communities and other stakeholders to strengthen Inuit’s rights and communities

The school board has now access to data on class closure. Data will be used to identify lasting solutions to this serious issue.

Class closure due to lack of a substitute teachers is a recurring agenda issue at the Council of Commissioners and a serious concern for Nunavik parents. Since September 1st, the school board has been collecting data on class closures. Although partial, the data gathered provides a fairly representative estimate of the scope of this issue, as a majority of our schools provide data on a regular basis.

The data shared with the Commissioners indicated that for the first half of the school year, each student missed approximately 10 days of school due to teachers’ absences and lack of substitute teachers. For the same period, each of our schools closed an average of 8 classes of 45 minutes every day.

The Commissioners stressed that this issue would benefit from a community-wide discussion as the absence of teachers has an impact on the community as a whole. For example, the absence of a daycare worker can result in a teacher not being able to report to work because they need to take care of their own child. Similarly, when students are being sent home due to a teacher’s absence, it has an impact on parents who are working. This can also affect the delivery of services provided by other Nunavik organizations.

The Commissioners shared examples of solutions developed by schools in their community to ensure that children are not sent home when a teacher is absent.

Discussions and consultations to develop long-term solutions to the issue of class closures will continue. School Operations, Human Resources and General Administration will update the Commissioners in March. The Commissioners noted that adequate resources will be required to support the implementation of any possible solution.

Kativik Ilisarniliriniq will be represented on the Nunavik Integrated Youth and Family Services Working Group.

In 2007, a report from the Commission des Droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) concluded that the application of the Youth Protection Act is not adapted to the realities of life in Nunavik. The report strongly recommended that Nunavik communities take action to ensure the protection and well-being of children.

In 2009, a Youth Advisory Committee was formed to participate in the review of health and social services offered in Nunavik. It recommended the creation of a Special Youth Protection Program for Nunavik, based on provisions of the Youth Protection Act that enable Indigenous communities to conclude agreements with the Quebec Government in order to adapt services to their culture, tradition and values.

Commissioner and Executive Committee member Sarah Aloupa will take part in a working group formed to analyze the current state of youth and family services in Nunavik, and to review alternative models used by other Indigenous communities of the province. By June 2018, the working group will make recommendations on the development of youth protection services adapted to the needs of the Inuit.

The school board is preparing to recruit a new Director General.

Following the retirement of Director General Annie Popert, the Council of Commissioners discussed options for the recruitment and hiring of a new Director General.

The recruitment agency Higgings Executive Search Services was identified to provide support with the recruitment process. The candidate for the Director General position will be selected by a committee formed of five Commissioners: Robert Watt (Kuujjuaq), Alicie Nalukturuk (Inukjuak), Anthony Ittoshat (Kuujjuaraapik), Sarah Aloupa (Quaqtaq) and Jessica Arngaq (Kangiqsujuaq).

Math tutors are currently hired in 8 of our schools, as part of a tutoring program approved by the Council of Commissioners in October 2017

This 3-year tutoring program is funded by the school board and implemented in partnership with Frontier College. Tutors are recruited, trained and supported directly by this organization.

Frontier College is a renowned Canadian organization with over a hundred years of experience providing literacy and numeracy expertise to communities, including remote rural areas and Indigenous communities. Over the past five years, Frontier College has provided literacy and numeracy summer camps to a total of 10 Nunavik communities.

The tutors prioritize individual work in Mathematics with Secondary 3, 4 and 5 students. They work in close cooperation with teachers, supporting them in class. They also support students outside class hours. They adapt support to students’ needs and to the priorities and reality of each school.

A second mandate of the tutors is to set up and deliver literacy activities in the community, in collaboration with local Literacy Workers where applicable. The Year One objective of this project is to provide tutors in 10 Nunavik communities. As of September 2018 the project will be expanded to include all Nunavik communities (Year 2 and 3).

The tutors receive a Nunavik specific training before starting their work at our schools. An initial assessment of the program implementation will be presented to the Commissioners in June. Tutors are currently working in the following 8 communities: Kuujjuaq, Quaqtaq, Kangiqsujuaq, Kuujjuaraapik, Inukjuak, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Ivujivik and Puvirnituq.