Education and Training

Making Education Work

Making Education Work Project

Making Education Work is a five-year research pilot project funded jointly by the Province of Manitoba and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation at a cost of $3 million. The project involves 277 Aboriginal high school students in both the program and study groups in the six sites across Manitoba. The six sites include three First Nation high schools and three provincial high schools. Refer to Community Involvement for participating sites.

The overall aim of the project is to evaluate whether the provision of additional in-school supports and services will assist Grade 10 to 12 students in meeting their graduation requirements and enter into a post-secondary education program. The program model has a common framework and common components that were developed using a two stage consultative/validation process with the six schools in partnerships with their local Aboriginal communities. Interventions include a Grade 10 – 12 Aboriginal MEW curriculum consisting of academic and personal supports, individual career development and guidance, cultural development, community service activities and supports, parental involvement, tutors and mentors. The hope is that the project will prove successful and eventually be replicated in other high schools for all students. Program implementation for the students began in the fall of the 2006-2007 school year. All students are expected to graduate in June, 2009 with the project ending in December, 2009. The final project wrap up and analysis is expected to be available in October, 2010.

Assignment of Students

  • All participants are Aboriginal volunteers who had a certain amount of grade nine credits and who were enrolled in courses that allowed them to enter a post-secondary program;
  • After a local screening process based on eligibility requirements, student information was sent to the Research Firm who randomly assigned students as either a comparison or program participant.

Project has Three Goals

  • Increase retention rates among Aboriginal high school students;
  • Completion of high school graduation rates; and
  • Enrolment in a post-secondary study.

Post-Secondary Study refers to

  • College;
  • University;
  • Apprenticeships or vocational training program; and
  • Pre-PSE programs

Structure of the MEW course

  • Program students are to register in all core subject courses and electives of their choice;
  • The MEW course is set up as an elective course that all program students must register for in each semester;
  • The MEW course runs for the full three years, all year long, with student obtaining 3 full credits from six independent courses that are worth .5 credit each semester.

MEW Curriculum consists of

  • MEW Framework At-A-Glance for Grades 10 – 12
  • Four Major Components: 1) Academic/Career; 2) Individual; 3) Cultural and; 4) Community
  • Six Independent Courses: 1) Myself; 2) My Family; 3) My Community; 4) My Province, 5) My Country and; 6) My World.

MEW Program Operation

  • Designated classroom for the full three years which is used as a classroom, study room and meeting room for all program participants;
  • All students are provided with laptops;
  • Heavy emphasis on parental and community partnerships with models developed and followed;
  • Extra additional support and tutoring, Elders, role models, business and post-secondary networks, work experience, summer jobs, internships, job shadowing, etc.

The MEW Teacher

  • Full time MEW teacher and designated only to MEW course and its’ support activities
  • Acts as mediator, mentor, tutor, liaison and advocate for students and parents
  • Constantly monitors and tracks student performance, activities and attendance.

Who developed the Making Education Work curriculum?

  • Six MEW project teachers along with
  • Provincial Coordinator and
  • Curriculum Writer

What provided the basis for the curriculum?

  • Extensive consultation and collaboration with the six project sites consisting of community leaders, school personnel, Elders, First Nation organizations, etc.;
  • Review of related Aboriginal literature and models;
  • Recommendations of the RCAP;
  • Individual (MEW teacher) portfolio development;
  • First hand experience and knowledge in working with Aboriginal students and communities – over a 125 years of experience as Aboriginal educators;
  • Profiles of local schools and communities, and known existing resources;
  • Futuristic trends in communities;
  • Community verification through local parent and student surveys conducted;
  • Students themselves.

What makes this program unique?

  • Aboriginal curriculum developed by Aboriginal Educators for Aboriginal students;
  • Aboriginal MEW teachers;
  • Aboriginal content and strategies that are real and meaningful;
  • MEW teachers as navigators, mentors and liaison for all their students and parents;
  • Holistic – inclusive of the spiritual, mental, physical and emotion needs based on the needs of the Medicine Wheel concept;
  • Student-centered – catering to the needs, strengths and talents of each individual student and their levels with consistency and encouragement, differentiated learning and catering to learning styles;
  • Exploratory/Experiential Learning – project based with cooperative groupings, buddy system, etc.;
  • Autonomy – provides students with freedom of choice, flexibility, negotiation and variability;
  • Strong connection to home, school and community;
  • Teaching and learning is technology-based.


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