Starting in the 2023-24 school year, three schools in Canada’s Yukon territory will transition to the First Nation School Board. The three schools are Eliza Van Bibber School in Pelly Crossing, Ghùch Tlâ Community School in Carcross, and Kluane Lake School in Destruction Bay and Burwash Landing. These schools are associated with Selkirk First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, and Kluane First Nation.
The decision to transition these schools to the First Nation School Board was made through a fair and impartial referendum and election process conducted by Elections Yukon. Community members were given the option to continue operating and managing their school under the direction of the Department of Education with a school council or to have their school run and managed by the First Nation School Board.
The First Nation School Board will assume authority and responsibility for the three schools and will work to build relationships with school staff, families, community members, and First Nation governments. The goal of the First Nation School Board is to empower the whole community to have greater localized input into their school operations.
“Our government is committed to improving the quality of education all Yukon students receive, and our continued work with the First Nation School Board helps to address long-standing concerns about educational outcomes for Indigenous students. This exciting development will benefit all students and enhance their opportunities to learn and engage in First Nations ways of knowing, doing and being.” Said, Minister of Education Jeanie McLean
The remaining non-First Nation School Boards will remain under the Education Act and will continue to deliver the British Columbia K-12 curriculum and graduation program. The Agreement Respecting Education and the Establishment of a First Nation School Board in the Yukon, which was signed by 10 Yukon First Nations in June 2021, allowed for the creation of a First Nation School Board using the processes outlined in the Education Act.
This transition represents an important step in acknowledging First Nation communities’ unique cultural and educational needs in the Yukon. By giving community members greater input into the management of their schools, the First Nation School Board hopes to improve educational outcomes for students and promote greater cultural awareness and understanding.
The First Nation School Board is a welcome addition to the education system in the Yukon, and it is hoped that this transition will serve as a model for other communities across Canada and beyond. By giving communities greater control over their schools and ensuring that cultural needs are met, we can help to create a more inclusive and equitable education system for all.