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Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements

Creating an Enhancement Agreement

It is a working agreement between a school district and all local Aboriginal communities. It involves shared decision‐making.

It recognizes and honours traditional Aboriginal culture.

BCTF message

Assessment: If we are favouring literacy and numeracy then we are not taking into account the whole child. Look to provide alternatives to the accountability cycle.


An example of an Enhancement Agreement (EA) that addresses the needs of the whole child is the Burnaby Board of Education’s agreement.

A successful implementation of an EA is central to maintaining the positive relationships between public schools and the Aboriginal communities.


Not about standardized testing. All about taking responsibility.

Working together to enable vision and goal‐setting in all areas for Aboriginal students and, ultimately, all students.

Nine elements of the Enhancement Agreement

  1. The Aboriginal communities must be represented by a unified body, whose authority to speak for the Aboriginal communities, is accepted by the Aboriginal communities.
    • It is not necessary to have the answer on how to get to this point, but at least ask the question.
    • The goal/key is to have parents at the table.
    • When there is no Band, i.e., urban and rural traditional territory, representation may look very different.
  2. Shared decision‐making by the Aboriginal communities and the school district must be an established practice.
    • Team building has to happen before you can get to shared decision‐making.
  3. Both the Aboriginal communities and the school districts must support participation in the Enhancement Agreement.
    • Local teacher union participation is crucial.
    • We don’t want segregated thinking, “them and us.”
  4. Joint consultation and collaboration between the Aboriginal communities and the school districts will enable vision and goal‐setting in all areas of education for Aboriginal learners.
    • Aboriginal people understand that education has a purpose; it should help students to identify their passion for learning.
    • Currently, the primary focus is on literacy, numeracy, and social responsibility.
  5. The Aboriginal communities and the school district track key performance indicators at the student level.
    • Are we tracking the “whole” child?
    • Share the different ways of assessment.
    • Use spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional areas as guides for assessment tools.
  6. Aboriginal communities and the school district must be committed to regular reporting of results.
    • What does commitment involve?
    • Where is the “whole” child in the reporting?
    • Who will pay for it?
  7. The scope of the Aboriginal Education program must include a focus on continuous improvement in the academic performance of all Aboriginal students.
    • Is there undue pressure put upon the child and teachers?
    • Where is the “whole” child?
    • Why just academic performance?
  8. Meeting the cultural needs of Aboriginal students in all aspects of learning includes resources, strategies, and assessment.
    • How do cultural needs fit into these strategies?
    • The Ministry of Education must provide for the in‐services and resources.
    • What is the process for selecting the strategies that are used?
  9. Focus on increasing knowledge of, and respect for, Aboriginal culture, language, and history enables a greater understanding for everyone about Aboriginal people.
    • Learning about each other’s culture and history opens up cross‐cultural exchanges, thereby enabling a greater understanding for everyone.
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