Parkland College and Treaty 4 Student Success Program Inc. (T4SSP) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes a formal relationship to improve pathways to post-secondary education for First Nations students in the Parkland Region.
The Treaty 4 area covers much of southern Saskatchewan. T4SSP is an educational organization that serves 11 First Nations in east-central and southeast Saskatchewan: Fishing Lake, Cote, Keeseekoose, Sakimay, Ocean Man, Kahkewistahaw, Ochapowace, Cowessess, White Bear, Muskowekwan, and Kawacatoose First Nations.
“This agreement will open new doorways for the young people in our First Nations,” said Fishing Lake First Nation councillor Sheryl Kayseas. “Through this understanding, we have opportunities to build bridges of support from the First Nations schools to the many learning pathways available at Parkland College.”
“This partnership will be a mentorship and think-tank and exploratory station,” said Lori Whiteman, Executive Director of Treaty 4 Student Success Program. “It will be a learning centre for us to grow together in support of the young people attending our schools and the Parkland College campuses.”
Parkland College has long partnered with First Nations bands and tribal councils in the Parkland region to develop and deliver education and training programs on-reserve.
“We look forward to a continued trusting relationship that will build on our past partnerships,” Parkland College President Dr. Fay Myers said. “We will work together to provide information, opportunities, and support to First Nations students and to help choose their career path for the future.”
“The increase in education opportunities and support for First Nations students is essential to the economic development and sustainability of our communities and the province,” added Lydia Cyr, Chair of the Parkland College Board of Governors.
The MOU signing was held in conjunction with Treaty 4’s annual school year kick-off. The day began with a traditional pipe ceremony and included a keynote speaker and professional development sessions for staff from the First Nations schools.
About Parkland College:
Since its inception in 1973, Parkland College has worked to expand the philosophy of life-long learning in East Central Saskatchewan. Among the seven basic principles upon which the community college system was founded is the idea that programs are to be developed in response to the needs of the community. Today, Parkland College offers a broad spectrum of educational services from trades training and high school upgrading to the province’s most diverse off-campus university offerings.
Treaty 4 Student Success Program Inc.:
Treaty 4 Student Success Program Inc. (T4SSP) is an educational initiative serving the First Nations of the Treaty 4 territory. Currently, 11 Saskatchewan Treaty 4 schools have committed to participate in T4SSP through a letter of commitment from their Chief and Council. Treaty 4 Chiefs recognize that significant gaps in learning exist for First Nations students and emphasize that culture and traditional values, woven through the mandates of student retention, literacy and numeracy, will support balanced and significant success for all children. A necessary component to student learning is ensuring that students benefit from rich, meaningful and relevant learning experiences, within secure learning environments. The T4SSP is committed to the development and delivery of sustainable educational processes that place children and communities at the centre of common Treaty Four school improvement.