Education and Training

Making Education Work

Program Components

Academic/Career Development & Supports
(Grades 10-12)

This component has been designed in order to assist students in demonstrating high level of academic progress and achievement; setting individual academic and career goals and making plans to achieve them and in developing life-long learning strategies and skills.  Strategies and activities in this section consist of multiple of ways to fully engage and support each student. MEW teachers strictly and systematically monitor student attendance, progress and activities in all core subject areas, as well as in their areas of interest. Graduation portfolios, journals/computer blogs and activity logs are all a requirement for these students. Personalized Education Plans (career goals & academic plans) are developed and maintained with each student, tailored to their needs and aspirations. Dependent on individual goals and career aspirations, certain course requirements will become mandatory. For example, if a student’s career goal is to become a lineman with Manitoba Hydro, then that student must enroll in certain courses such as physics and chemistry.

Informal assessments are done with a full concentration in the Math, Language Arts and Science areas. Learning is supported through computer assisted learning and/or one-on-one tutoring. Informal assessments include attendance rates, marks or grades for each course, credit acquisition, participation and involvement rates, anecdotal reports on behavior and areas of improvement, report cards, assignment and homework completion, improved self-esteem and confidence levels, improvement in behavior or attitude, developing and following a chosen career path, contact time with resource, subject teachers, tutors, criterion reference tests, cumulative files, surveys and questionnaires. With a strong focus on the enhancement of experience, knowledge and skills, the MEW curriculum is designed to promote and reinforce these areas.

Tutoring is the major focus in this component and is provided, as required, for each individual student through continual monitoring of his or her grades in all core subject areas. Tutoring is provided mainly by the MEW teacher as a one-on-one to assist students with other course work, homework, assignments and modules or independent study courses. This tutoring may include the MEW teachers attending classes with their students, or it can be peer tutoring and peer support groups such as homework clubs. Peer tutoring is designed to enhance students’ ability and increase self-esteem and confidence by working with youngsters in the elementary grades or with peers in other subject areas. Hired tutors are also an option that is utilized in some sites.

Total involvement and participation is required from school administration, tutors, mentors, other subject teachers, Elders, resource teachers, MEW teachers, guidance counselors, student advisors and parents.

Students are encourage to attend summer school, homework clubs, work in modules or independent studies to keep their grades and credits up to par.

Individual Development & Supports (Grades 10-12)

This component has been designed in order to assist students in demonstrating high level of self-confidence and perseverance; in developing a healthy life style and in developing effective personal goal-setting processes. The building of a high self-esteem, self-awareness and the development of a positive Aboriginal identity has been linked to the improvement of academic success rates. It has been reported that many students lack a variety of developmental experiences such as exposure to the outside community, extra-curricular activities, theatre/ballet/museums, personal development opportunities and career awareness and exploration. In addition, students need a wide range of functional skills to experience success in the home, school, workplace and community. Students need to acquire life/family skills and to plan for college/university or advanced technical/vocational training and job preparation. MEW teachers are to ensure their students are exposed to and engaged or enrolled in mini-courses, extra-curricular activities, field trips, and initiatives and opportunities designed specifically for the purpose of this project which will in turn lead to individual and program success. Many of these activities may include public speaking clubs, leadership and mentorship programs, mini-university, travel or student exchanges. Existing courses already developed and implemented at the high school level, such as Aboriginal Studies, Aboriginal Law and Aboriginal Languages have been incorporated as backup to the .5 credit MEW course.

Mentorship is a strong component in this area. All sites are assigned one MEW teacher who successfully and continually gives the students the message of “doing well” and “reaching” their goals. Sustained MEW teacher contact is required for the entire three years of the project in order to maintain a supportive and lasting relationship for each of the students. There is no need for a formal mentorship. Other mentors include other individuals with strong humanistic qualities and prove to be community leaders, other teachers, student leaders, positive role models, university/college students, Elders, parents, grandparents and so on. These mentorships are formed by a natural process through student choice. A Community Partnership Model has been developed which also promotes and strengthens this mentorship component.

Role Models/Elders from various areas and occupations are fully utilized to give the students the extra inspiration needed with their studies and individual aspirations. These individuals are made available when required and are housed in the designated MEW classrooms. If payment is required for invited guests, then honorariums are provided and paid up to a certain amount.

Cultural Development & Supports (Grades 10-12)

This component has been designed in order to assist students in showing respect, appreciation and acceptance of their own culture as well as those of others; in exploring and gaining understanding of philosophies, cultural knowledge and practices of Aboriginal society and in acquiring knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal issues, events and histories, both past and present. The building of a high self-esteem, self-awareness and the development of a positive Aboriginal identity has been linked to the improvement of academic success rates. It is the intent of this component of the MEW curriculum to allow students in becoming more aware and knowledgeable of Aboriginal art, song, ceremony and dance. Opportunities are made available for students to participate in such events as teaching lodges, sweat lodges, teepee teachings, music, song or dance. However, no student is forced to participate in any such event. Each event is strictly voluntarily and must receive parental consent. Community Elders and traditional advisors play a big role in this component. The Seven Teachings are intertwined throughout the entire MEW curriculum.

Community Service Activities & Supports (Grades 11 &12)

This component has been designed to assist students in demonstrating leadership skills and acts of volunteerism; developing a sense of community belonging and citizenship and in exploring and acquiring knowledge of Aboriginal communities in a global society. The intent is to incorporate high school programming into the local community by providing the student with possible internships, work experience, job shadowing, summer employment, community volunteerism and career exploration. Activities in this component are to assist students in bridging the gap between the school and work environment, preparation for post-secondary studies and developing a strong sense of community responsibility. Some of these may be optional dependent on what the student requires. For example, the Community Service and Business Seminar Courses that are currently provided by some schools can be utilized.

A strong linkage, partnership and articulation with colleges and universities is required to adequately prepare students for the field of post-secondary studies. If available, dual credit courses are currently incorporated to meet the needs of the students and is applied to their program studies. Local or regional career symposiums, visitations to post-secondary institutions and mini-university sessions are some initiatives applied to create awareness, exposure, experience and opportunities for these students.

Students must also participate in specific community service projects or initiatives such as helping with public events, or simply just volunteering their services as negotiated with the MEW teacher. This is to build within the students a strong sense of citizenship and community ownership. These activities are specific to each site but will include such things as a volunteering, tutoring, counselling or mentoring, community fund raising, providing feasts, or simply helping out by visiting community members and assisting with public events.

Partnerships with public and private businesses or industry allow students to be placed in proper course selections, generate areas of interest and develop on-the-job experience. For example, a partnership with the local hospital or nursing station will allow students who are interested in the area of nursing to be placed in the work environment and to select the proper courses in the science areas such as biology, chemistry and physics.

Parental Involvement/Education

This is a crucial component for the success of the MEW students. Parents along with their children must be committed to the project for the full three years. They are made aware of the terms and conditions of the project and sign a parental consent form. A variety of strategies are implemented to sustain parental involvement for the duration of the project. Parental involvement strives to be all inclusive, meaning that parental support includes extended family members whether they may be parents, guardians, siblings, aunts uncles, grandparents, Elders or in some cases, surrogate parents, if needed. Ongoing workshops, activities, presentation, family mentors, training sessions are designed to assist parents with supporting their children. Local areas of concerns and issues may include such topics as understanding the high school system, parenting skills, understanding the teenage child, high-risk kids or keeping kids in school. A small financial contribution is provided on a yearly basis for program parent activity costs.

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