By Ashton Patis
The Lambton Kent District School Board and the Walpole Island Board of Education are entering into an agreement to provide education for First Nations students until 2017.
Members of each board signed a tuition agreement. Walpole Island provides funding to LKDSB for each First Nations student. The province does not include First Nation student numbers when determining grants for public school boards.
“When I graduated back in 1996, our First Nation graduation rate was between 20-25% and now we’re reaching over 75%. I think of a lot of it has to do with negotiating services and identifying the needs of our First Nation students and the schools providing those,” says Walpole Island board of Education Chair Leela Thomas. “A lot of our teachers don’t really know the background or learning styles of First Nations people so that’s what we’re trying to have them focus on because a lot of them don’t know the way of learning.”
Roughly 20% of students at Wallaceburg District Secondary School are First Nations people.