189 Village Road, Cutler, ON P0P 1B0
Karel Grant – Education Administrator
Diane Meawasige – Education Administrative Clerk
Yolanda – Librarian
Aaron Neiva – Research Intern
The purpose of the Education Department is to provide support to all students within Serpent River First Nation from JK to post-secondary.
All Education related funding is provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. We also receive funding through the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for a Research Intern.
The Library receives funding through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Overview of Program Activities:
Education Stats as of March 2015
JK – Grade 12 Enrollment
|School||# of Students|
|Elliot Lake Secondary School||19|
|Villa Francaise Des Jeunes Ecole Secondaire||1|
|Blind River Public School||15|
|Our Lady of Fatima||10|
|Our Lady of Lourdes||33|
|Ecoles Ste. Anne||2|
|Program Status||# of Students|
|Level||# of Students|
We partnered with Elliot Lake Secondary School during Education Week in May to host an informative cultural activity each lunch hour culminating in a Pow Wow and feast on Friday. Students from Fatima and Lourdes came over on the Friday to take part in the dancing and drumming demonstrations. The principal from Central was invited and brought with him his grade 7’s and 8’s. It was important that schools without First Nation students were also able to learn some of the traditions and heritage that is celebrated by their neighbours.
In June, several of our students participated in the New Horizons program through the Wasnoode Institute at Cambrian College. Our students were provided with the opportunity to explore college life, while also enjoying area attractions such as Science North, Caruso Club, and Silver City Sudbury.
Also in June, our Annual Education Awards were held at the Lifestyle Centre. To celebrate our students, we provided a dinner, awards / student recognition, and a family dance. This was well attended, and a good time was had by all.
In November, recruitment representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police came into the community to discuss career options with our students. Students were provided with information on the recruitment process, pre-requisites, etc.
At fiscal year-end, we were able to purchase a new vehicle for department use. It is expected that the vehicle will help in keeping travel related costs down, not only for staff travelling to the schools, but also for extra-curricular activities.
Education Unit Update
In 2014-15, the Education Department continued to provide support and assistance to all students residing on Serpent River First Nation, as well as post-secondary students residing outside of the community. As of March 2015, we had a total of 82 students attending 7 different schools within Spanish, Elliot Lake and Blind River. We had 37 post-secondary students, of which 30 were enrolled in full-time studies. We had 8 post-secondary graduates.
At year end, the Education Department was able to purchase a new vehicle using surplus funds within our Special Education allocation. This vehicle will be used to keep travel costs down for support staff that go into the schools on a regular basis. The vehicle will also be used to provide transportation for students participating in after school extra-curricular activities. This will also free up the band owned bus, which we hope to use to provide transportation to our students attending Blind River Public School.
This has been a busy year for the Education Department. The uncertainty attached to education funding has been a primary focus with staff attending various information sessions, roundtable discussions and board meetings to discuss the future of First Nations Education. The Anishinabek Education System has been at the forefront of discussions, with the Union of Ontario Indians seeking support for this system. To date, this process is moving forward as the minimum threshold of First Nations support has been met. The next step is to have First Nations who have signed BCRs supporting this Agreement to move to a ratification vote. At the present time, Serpent River First Nation has not signed a BCR endorsing this process. Council has been provided with a critical analysis for review and consideration. One of the main arguments against this Agreement is that it will add another bureaucratic level to an already administratively heavy system. Put simply, the chain of authority would be SRFN Education Department -> Regional Education Authority -> Kinomaadswin Education Body -> Government of Canada. This leads us to question, if we are so far removed from the source (i.e. Government of Canada), how can we effectively advocate for our community?
From a fiscal standpoint, the Education Department showed a deficit of $48,435.00, which was covered through Education reserves. There really were not any major over expenditures in any one area, but rather small overages in several areas.