Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) has been honoured provincially for its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation through its Wisdom and Guidance Committee.
The Public School Boards' Association of Alberta (PSBAA) developed a Special Recognition Award in 2021 to mark the significance of and the association's desire to promote and enhance awareness and recognition of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). At an awards ceremony June 4, PSBAA presented the award to WCPS’ Wisdom and Guidance Committee, and the award was accepted by Josephine Small, WCPS Learning Support Coach and by Elder Burt Bull.
“This award is dedicated to Shelagh Hagemann (former WCPS First Nations, Métis, and Inuit student success coordinator), the late Joey Deschamps, Leanne Louis, Chief Standing on the Road, elders, and many other individuals that devoted many years into making the Wisdom and Guidance Committee a vital part of WCPS,” said Small.
“In the words of former TRC commissioner, Justice Murray Sinclair ‘education is what got us here, education is what will get us out.’ That is exactly what the Wisdom and Guidance Committee does, educate and speak our truth.”
WCPS formed its Wisdom and Guidance Committee in September 2014. The Wisdom and Guidance Committee provides an opportunity for First Nations, Métis elders, parents, and students, to meet with Wolf Creek school personnel to discuss issues related to student success.
“As a Board, we are very proud that the Wisdom and Guidance Committee was selected to receive an award for promoting and advancing the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as it relates to education in Alberta,” said Luci Henry, WCPS Board chair.
The goal of the committee is to provide an opportunity for elders, parents, students and community members, alongside school division personnel and the Board of Trustees to meet and share ideas on how to best support students in programming that produce improved results for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. The committee meets once per month and the format of the meetings is that of a sharing/talking circle.
“Talking circles are based on the sacred traditions of the sharing circles. Talking circles create a safe environment for participants to share their point of view with others. In a talking circle everyone belongs. Participants in a talking circle learn to listen to and respect the views of others. The intention is to open people’s hearts so that they can understand and connect with one another,” said Tim De Ruyck, WCPS superintendent.
The committee helps to bring about conversation with the aim of improving programming and guidance for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students in Wolf Creek, while creating understanding for all students, staff and the broader school community.
“I am so proud to work alongside our Wisdom and Guidance Committee as we continue to build success for students across Wolf Creek Public Schools. This group truly models commitment to truth and reconciliation. Their teachings and recommendations provide guidance that helps to lead our school division in a good way,” said Erin Freadrich, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit student success coordinator.
“Thank you to all of the many elders, parents, mosums, kokums, and community members who make up this committee. We are grateful for your voice and for your role in supporting our students.”
The award was presented as part of PSBAA’s Spring General Assembly in Red Deer.