A renewed agreement between Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS), Whitecap Dakota First Nation (WDFN), and the Government of Canada will continue to support a historic education partnership agreement between the first nation and the school division.
The agreement signed Sept. 26 establishes a sustainable, predictable, and flexible funding model to support student learning and achievement for the next five years.
Through the partnership, Charles Red Hawk Elementary School is an alliance school with Saskatoon Public Schools – the first on-reserve school to be a part of a Saskatchewan school division. The partnership also enabled innovative investments by the federal government to support Chief Whitecap School in Saskatoon, becoming WDFN's designated school for its Grade 5-8 students.
"At Saskatoon Public Schools, our vision is for every student to be known, valued and believed in," said SPS Board Chair Colleen MacPherson. "This vital partnership with Whitecap helps us achieve that vision. Students connect best to their learning when they see themselves in the lessons and in their school environment. This partnership allows us to build relationships with students at Charles Red Hawk School that continue at Chief Whitecap School and beyond."
The Whitecap Dakota First Nation Education Partnership Memorandum of Agreement was extended for another five years last September. First signed in 2014, the agreement recognizes and respects Whitecap's inherent jurisdiction over education of its members and continues the co-governance model previously created to oversee school operations. That agreement, together with the new Tripartite Agreement signed with the Government of Canada, provides WDFN and SPS with a sound funding model to support the goals of their education partnership.
"Our partnership with SPS, combined with a new funding model under our tripartite agreement, is eliminating disparities in education," said Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation. "By combining the forces and resources of our partners and maintaining our First Nations control of education through our joint governance agreement, I am confident we are giving the best educational opportunity available for our children."
The education partnership supports the transition of Whitecap students to attend school in Saskatoon. Charles Red Hawk offers classes from prekindergarten through Grade 4, after which students are transported to Saskatoon to attend Chief Whitecap School and, subsequently, a public high school.
Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located approximately 26 km south of Saskatoon and has more than 500 residents living on- reserve, including Whitecap members, members of other First Nations, and non-status residents.
Saskatoon Public Schools is the largest school division in the province. The division operates 49 elementary schools, 10 secondary schools, one alliance school and one associate school. It serves more than 26,000 students and employs approximately 2,600 professional and support staff.