Highlights from the June 5 to 8 Council of Commissioners held in Montreal
Perseverance and successes of the Nunavik students
With the end of the school year the Commissioners would like to congratulate all Nunavik students on their perseverance, and in particular those who will receive their Secondary School Diploma, as well as students who completed their college and university programs.
The statistics on the number of graduates from high school are being compiled and will be available in the fall. On June 6, the school board celebrated the graduation of a total of 29 Nunavik students sponsored by the school board. They were awarded vocational training certificates, college certificates and diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and Ph.D. This includes graduates from the successful Nunavik Sivunitsavut program.
In July we will also celebrate the accomplishment of 4 Inuit teachers who will receive a teaching certification from the Ministry of Education and a Certificate in Education from McGill University (Lisa Annanack, Charlie Yuliusie, Qipitaq Kiatainaq, Syra Qinuajuak) as well as 2 Inuit teachers who will receive their Bachelor of Education from McGill University (Jeannie Palliser and Ulaayu Pilurtuut).
All of them are moving Nunavik forward and the school board is proud to be part of their achievements.
The school board’s pre-work program was accredited by the Ministry of Education last year and some students are graduating from the program this year
The pre-work program replaces the IPL program. The IPL program was not accredited by the Ministry of Education and as such, when students were completing it they were not receiving a certification from the Ministry. They were only receiving a local school certificate.
In May, a letter was sent to all Nunavik parents who have a child registered in the IPL program, to inform them that next year, this program will be replaced by the accredited pre-work program.
Through job placements with Nunavik organizations, the pre-work program allows students to get a practical initiation to various work situations while gaining valuable experience that prepares them for the job market.
The Commissioners reviewed the reports from the departments under Education Services
Victoria Simigak was promoted to the position of Assistant Director for First Language Curriculum and Lawson Tukatuk joined the School Board as Assistant Director for Culture and Land Survival.
Discussing the work of these two departments, the Commissioners welcomed the involvement of elders in the development of the culture and land survival curriculum. They also discussed the issue of fair remuneration for the expertise that elders offer to the school board. This will be examined by the school board’s Finance, in collaboration with Education Services & School Operations departments.
They stressed the importance of ensuring the revision of all Inuktitut material and acknowledged that having no Inuktitut copy editor and terminologist poses real challenges.
The Commissioners discussed ways to improve staff retention and expressed their concerns with the fact that 40 teaching positions for the upcoming school year are currently vacant.
The Commissioners expressed their concerns with the turnover of employees at the school board. They wondered what type of support could be provided to increase teacher’s well-being and their integration in Nunavik communities. The Employee Assistance Program was mentioned as an available resource that employees should be encouraged to use to its full potential.
At the moment, 40 teaching positions are vacant, which the Commissioners worried is an impending crisis for Nunavik communities. It was noted that recruitment challenges must be understood in the context of the general shortage of teachers that affects the province as a whole.
While recruitment efforts continue, the staffing of schools and the school board’s recruitment process will be reviewed by Human Resources and School Operations. The objective will be to examine all possible options to maximize the use of existing resources and reduce the impact of this shortage of teachers on schools.
The school board is moving forward with the revitalization of the Regional Partnership Committee
At the most recent meeting of all Nunavik organizations, support was expressed for the revitalization of the Regional Partnership Committee (RPC). This forum will be a coordination tool to address issues that affect the well-being of Nunavik children with a comprehensive and holistic approach.
The creation of a position of coordinator under the school board will be examined. A coordinator would ensure inter-organization follow-up, liaison and planning of the RPC meetings.
The school board is making progress in establishing and developing its data-driven decision-making capacities
For the first time since the strategic plan implementation began, the Commissioners have been able to access a dashboard of statistics that relate to student retention, graduation rate and success rate. Data from the last five school years was presented. It indicates a yearly student retention rate of 93% and a graduation rate of 30% after seven years of high school.
The Commissioners expressed their commitment to the allocation of resources that would allow the strengthening of systematic data analysis and gathering. Solutions were also proposed by the school board’s data analyst and research coordinator to ensure the introduction of data gathering tools that schools can use even when their internet connection is poor.
The overall objective of these efforts is for the school board, its Commissioners, managers and school administrators to be able to access real-time data to inform decision-making processes at all levels of the organization.
The Commissioners adopted a resolution to support the development of a plan aiming to create a Nunavik Regional Research Authority
A Nunavik Regional Research Authority would provide Nunavik with a centralized research hub to ensure greater cross-organization communication and coordination. The resolution specifies that the school board would sit on the Nunavik Regional Research Authority’s steering committee and provide funding along with the organizations engaged in the planning of this initiative.
Nunavik Sivunitsavut’s grant application was successful and the initiative will receive funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) for a two-year period (2018-2020)
This two-year period will allow Nunavik Sivunitsavut to gain some stability while long-term funding partnerships opportunities are pursued with the Quebec Ministry of Higher Education. Partnership with the Kativik Regional Government, the Makivik Corporation, Avataq and the John Abbott College.