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Transitions to Post Secondary for Aboriginal Students: A Partnership Program Presented by Dr. Dennis Acreman, Debora Draney, Greg Howard.

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Presentation on theme: "Transitions to Post Secondary for Aboriginal Students: A Partnership Program Presented by Dr. Dennis Acreman, Debora Draney, Greg Howard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transitions to Post Secondary for Aboriginal Students: A Partnership Program Presented by Dr. Dennis Acreman, Debora Draney, Greg Howard

2 ‘Education not only gives our next generation the skills they need for jobs, for entrepreneurship, but it also leads to personal empowerment.’ Roberta Jamieson, President & CEO National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation

3

4 Overview of Presentation  Context  The ‘Partnership’  Early Beginnings...  The ‘Day’  TRU START Cohort

5 Aboriginal Education in Canada  In 1952, only 2 Status Indians attended university in Canada.  Today, there are between 25,000 – 30,000 Aboriginal students are enrolled in universities across the country.  7.7% of Aboriginal Canadians (vs. 23.4% of Non- Aboriginal Canadians) hold a University Degree Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

6 Aboriginal Education (cont.) High School Graduation Rates ◦ Provincial: ◦ 53.7% Aboriginal vs. 81% non-Aboriginal graduation rate. ◦ SD73 (Kamloops District): ◦ 64.4% Aboriginal vs. 75.9% non-Aboriginal complete high school within 6 years ie: Dogwood leaving certificate ◦ Highest number of Dogwood Aboriginal in 2012 – 151 students AVED 2011 How Are We Doing Report? SD Annual Report BC Transitions Report March 2009

7 The ‘Partners’ School District No. 73  Located within the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people  2298 Aboriginal students of First Nations and Metis ancestry (14% of total School District population)  District No. 73 Aboriginal Principal, Deb Draney  District No. 73 Trades ‘N Transitions Principal, Greg Howard  First Nation Education Workers at all District High Schools  90% of SD73s Aboriginal students who attend post secondary attend TRU

8 The Partners... First Nations Education Council  Guides Aboriginal Education in SD73  Representatives from 7 Secwepemc Bands, 2 urban Aboriginal organizations, 2 School Board Trustees  Signed 3 rd – 5 year Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement with SD73 in March 2010  Dr. Renee Spence, FNEC Administrator, wrote Spence Report on ‘Enhancing Campus Life for Aboriginal Students at the University College of the Cariboo’ (2001)

9 The Partners... ◦ 10,000 face to face students (11% Aboriginal descent) ◦ 40% of Aboriginal high school graduates in BC (vs. 51.3% of non- Aboriginal graduates) made the immediate transition to a BC public post-secondary institution ◦ ‘University of Choice for First Nations and Aboriginal students’ ◦ 50% of Aboriginal students entering ‘University programs’ at TRU for the first time do not return to TRU the following year

10 Aboriginal Transitions Day Early Beginnings...  2004 – Individual High School Presentations  2008 – Present - On Campus ‘Aboriginal Transitions Day’

11 The ‘Day’  Guided by an Advisory Committee SD73/TRU

12 Transitions to Post Secondary Day for Aboriginal Students in School District 73 A one-day initiative where Grade 11/12 Aboriginal students from School District 73 ‘experience post-secondary’ by touring the University campus, engaging with academic faculties, participating in student run leadership activities, and hearing from past and current Aboriginal students in a student panel discussion about their experiences with post secondary.

13 Transitions to Post Secondary November 15, :00 am—2:00 pm Schedule 8:30 – 9:15 am Registration 9:15 – 9:45 amOpening Prayer: Elder Doreen Kenoras Drumming: Vernie Clement Welcome: Dr. Nathan Matthew, Director Aboriginal Education, TRU Dr. Alan Shaver, President, TRU Debora Draney, District Principal of Aboriginal Education, SD73 9:45 – 10:15 amTRU Student Panel – University 101 Tips for New Students 10:15 – 10:30 amBREAK 10:30 – 11:10 am(a) Student Engagement Activities – Mountain Room - CAC (b) Honouring You “In the Spirit of Learning’ Workshop - Joanne Brown Irving K Barber Centre, House of Learning 11:10 – 11:45 am(a) Student Engagement Activities – Mountain Room - CAC (b) Honouring You “In the Spirit of Learning’ Workshop - Joanne Brown Irving K Barber Centre, House of Learning 11:45 – 12:30 pmLUNCH & Draws - CAC 12:30 – 1:10 pmGeneral Campus Tours & Trades Tours *students participate in both Academic Open House – Grand Hall 1:50 – 2:00 pmClosing Remarks – Draw for iPad!! Boarding Busses

14 Lessons Learned Partnerships are key (formal and informal) Deep partnerships = shared responsibility and sustainability Listening vs. knowing... who drives the agenda?  Build on your partner’s strengths  Transition along a continuum – not a fixed point  So much more to do!

15 For universities, a key to greater success in attracting and retaining Aboriginal students is the extent to which universities becomes more inviting and relevant to Aboriginal high school students through effective on-site transitioning activities. Nathan Matthew – Chief Simpcw First Nation Executive Director Aboriginal Education, TRU

16 Entering draw for an iPad!

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18 An Aboriginal Cohort Program: Processes, Results & Application D. Acreman 1, C. Adam 1, J. Brown 1, V. Clement 1, T. Dickinson 1, D. Draney 2, G. Howard 2, G. Ratsoy 1, S. Rollans 1 1 Thompson Rivers University 2 School District No. 73 www3.sd73.bc.ca “We all became like a family” “ When I got here there were people to help...It really wasn’t scary like I thought it would be.” “Without this doorway it would have been so much more intimidating.”

19 Thompson Rivers University’s aim is to be the University of Choice for Aboriginal students. 10% of the current student body has aboriginal ancestry; but about half (46%) do not complete first-year studies successfully; Possible explanations include: The lack of a supportive community including family members and Elders A curriculum that may lack relevance Inadequate academic preparation Background

20 The Cohort Working in partnership with School District No. 73, Thompson Rivers University and the First Nations Education Council, support workers identified qualifying students to take part in a program that would: Allow students to simultaneously receive 12 secondary school credits and 9 university credits; receive academic support from trained Aboriginal peer support mentors and Elders in residence; deliver core university courses (Biology, Statistics, English)

21 Curriculum In developing the curriculum for the courses, the following Guiding Principles* were followed: Knowledge and skills in one course should be integrated with those from the others; experiential, opportunities for learning were highlighted in each course; holistic and high impact methods were used- respecting traditional Aboriginal ways of knowing. *2011 TRU Handbook for Educator of Aboriginal Students

22 Support & Mentoring A supportive environment grew from developing an on-campus community. Key to its success was: A preparatory camp that brought together students, elders, faculty, peer mentors and counsellors; Frequent opportunities for students to express their fears and challenges; Administrative recognition of the unique challenges the students faced.

23 Assessment By several measures the program achieved its goals: Students completed 105/108 attempted credits for a 97% success rate; 10/12 students will be taking university courses in the Fall 2012; “When I am successful …I am always going to thank this program...It got me started.”

24 Cohort Biology Field Trip to Wells Gray Park

25 Working with the Local School District (#73), several First Nations support workers identified qualifying students to take part in a program that would: Allow students to simultaneously receive 12 secondary school credits and 9 university credits; receive academic support from trained Aboriginal peer support mentors and Elders in residence; deliver core university courses (Biology, Statistics, English) Thompson Rivers University’s aim is to be the University of Choice for Aboriginal students. 10% of the current student body has aboriginal ancestry; but about half (46%) do not complete first- year studies successfully; Possible explanations include: The lack of a supportive community including family members and Elders A curriculum that may lack relevance Inadequate academic preparation Background Curriculum The Cohort Support & Mentoring An Aboriginal Cohort Program: Processes, Results & Application D. Acreman 1, C. Adam 1, J. Brown 1, V. Clement 1, T. Dickinson 1, D. Draney 2, G. Howard 2, G. Ratsoy 1, S. Rollans 1 1 Thompson Rivers University 2 School District No. 73 www3.sd73.bc.ca Assessment A supportive environment grew from developing an on-campus community. Key to its success was: A preparatory camp that brought together students, elders, faculty, peer mentors and counsellors; Frequent opportunities for students to express their fears and challenges; Administrative recognition of the unique challenges the students faced. By several measures the program achieved its goals: Students completed 105/108 attempted credits for a 97% success rate; 10/12 students will be taking university courses in the Fall 2012; “When I am successful …I am always going to thank this program.. It got me started.” “We all became like a family” “ When I got here there were people to help...It really wasn’t scary like I thought it would be.” “Without this doorway it would have been so much more intimidating.” In deve lopin g the curri culu m for the cour ses, the follo wing Guid ing Princ iples * were follo wed: Knowl edge and skills in one cours e shoul d be integr ated with those from the other s; exper ientia l, oppor tuniti es for learni ng were highli ghted in each cours e; holisti c and high impac t meth ods were used- - respe cting traditi onal Abori ginal ways of knowi ng. * TR U Ha ndb ook for Edu cat ors of A b o r i g i n a l S t u d e n t s

26 Envisioning your own ‘Aboriginal student transition initiatives’  Identify existing opportunities within your own units to create transition initiatives for Aboriginal students ◦ who are your Aboriginal students – current and potential? ◦ what are these Aboriginal students needs?  Identify existing and potential partners ◦ within your own unit ◦ within a post secondary community ◦ within the Aboriginal and regional community ◦ within your professional organizations ◦ Identify real and perceived challenges (opportunities) that may be holding you back?

27 Contact Information Debora Draney Aboriginal Principal School District No. 73 Phone: Dr. Dennis Acreman Interim Registrar Thompson Rivers University Phone: Greg Howard District Principal Trades ‘N Transitions School District No. 73 Phone:


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