5.3.1 Aboriginal Education Council
The Aboriginal education council was originally formed in Prince Rupert in 1989. Its goals include:
- providing Aboriginal people an effective voice in determining relevant educational programs and services for learners of Aboriginal ancestry and,
- increasing all learners’ knowledge, awareness, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal people and their history and cultures (Aboriginal Education Council webpage, n.d.)
The Aboriginal Education Council includes a broad membership of community members as well as school district personnel. It provides the overall direction to the work of the school district as it relates to Aboriginal Education. The Council also has a working committee, called the Aboriginal Education Committee. The members of this committee include the school superintendent, Lynn Hauptman, as well as the District Principal of Aboriginal Education, Debbie Leighton-Stephens. Other teachers and support workers are represented in this working group. The Aboriginal Education Committee provides a primary mechanism through which the work of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN ) in Prince Rupert is coordinated and supported.
During the site visit to this district, the degree of cooperation and coordination among all of the district staff became readily apparent, as did the degree to which there is a strong commitment to improving the life chances of all students, but particularly for its Aboriginal student population. A description of all of the tools the district uses to support its Aboriginal learners goes beyond the scope of this report; in the next section I have summarized how district personnel and Network members describe their involvement in the AESN and how it is supported in the school district.