The Saanich School District resides on the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ people encompassing the four local communities: BO,ḰE,ĆEN (Pauquachin), W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip), W̱,SIKEM (Tseycum), and S,ȾAUTW̱ (Tsawout). We would like to acknowledge and thank the W̱SÁNEĆ people for allowing us to live, learn and teach on this land. HÍSW̱ḴE
The Saanich School District is committed to providing an education for W̱SÁNEĆ and other Indigenous students in ways that enable them to retain their identity and pride in their heritage and, at the same time, gain respect for the diverse cultures presented in schools today. We recognize SENĆOŦEN as the principal First Nations language of the Saanich territory and continue to support programs and curricula that build deeper understandings of the W̱SÁNEĆ culture, values, and history.
Since 1999 Saanich School District has offered a SENĆOŦEN language program at Bayside Middle School. Please see the link below for more information.
Starting in the 2019/20 school year SENĆOŦEN language learning is being offered to all kindergarten students in Saanich. One of our SENĆOŦEN language teachers travels to each kindergarten class multiple times throughout the year sharing stories, songs, and language learning opportunities. This initiative is the result of the Strengthening Early Years to Kindergarten (SEY2K) initiative that has provided us with the unique opportunity for every kindergarten to start their K-12 journey learning the local Indigenous language and culture.
English Language Support
English Language Support (ELS) is an oral language program specifically designed for Indigenous students where emphasis is placed on speaking and listening. ELS is available for students that self identify as Indigenous and meet the ELS assessment criteria for service. ELS has a 5 year maximum for service as per Ministry of Education guidelines.
The Saanich School District provides services to students of W̱SÁNEĆ, other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit ancestry (or heritage) to enhance their school experience.
Brentwood Elementary School, ḰELSET Elementary School, Bayside Middle School, North Saanich Middle School, Parkland Secondary School, Stelly's Secondary School, and Individual Learning Centre — Saanichton have a school based Indigenous Education Support Teacher that provides cultural and academic support to students. Indigenous Education Support teachers also work with teachers to connect Indigenous content to classroom learning in support of culturally relevant and meaningful learning opportunities for Indigenous students. Indigenous Education teachers monitor student progress throughout elementary, middle, and focus on successful transitions and graduation at the secondary level in collaboration with the Indigenous Education Assistant.
All schools have an Indigenous Education Assistant. Some schools have a school based staff member while other schools have an Itinerant Indigenous EA that travels to several schools throughout the district. Indigenous EAs support students directly in the classroom and help facilitate cultural activities within the school and classroom. Indigenous EAs often liaise with the local First Nations communities on behalf of the school and district in support of students, families, and district initiatives.
Indigenous Education Gazette
The Indigenous Education Program circulates a bi-annual gazette highlighting student and school successes, events and news. The gazette features student work, photos from school events and graduates. The gazette is published electronically in January and June each year.
Indigenous Graduate Recognition Ceremony
We are pleased to honour our graduating students at an annual ceremony at the Mary Winspear Centre each June. In addition to celebrating our graduates we present two scholarships for our Indigenous students:
The Education Enhancement Agreement between the W̱SÁNEĆ, other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in the Saanich School District and the Saanich School Board is designed to enhance the learning opportunities and successes for all Indigenous learners. This Agreement operates within the notion of respecting the rights of Indigenous learners to ensure that they receive a quality education in the public school system and a meaningful graduation that leads to future options with increased opportunities.
The Local Education Agreement is between School District No. 63 (Saanich) and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board. There are multiple annual meetings between these boards to discuss the LEA. Our LEA Report is based on the following Indigenous Education Services goals and their implementation within each school. The goals of the Local Education Agreement between School District No. 63 (Saanich) and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board are:
- Strive to support individual needs of students.
- Promote understanding of the Indigenous students’ culture, language and history from within the school.
- To create school-based action plans to promote family involvement in:
- the transition and orientation process
- school events and community links
- planning District/Community events
- Reconciliation - To promote reconciliation as outlined in the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission between Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of our learning community.
First Nations Education Steering Committee has created a BC Dogwood Diploma Graduation Checklist that can be a helpful tool for students to navigate course selection and completion along their graduation pathway.