Matawa Education Department’s Pathways to Achieve Student Success (PASS) provides support services and resources for Matawa First Nations schools and Education Authorities, primarily in the areas of Literacy, Numeracy, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Cultural Education, Student Nutrition, Parent and Student Engagement, Information Technology, and Student Success. Previously funded through federal First Nation Student Success Program (FNSSP), PASS is currently funded by the Indigenous Service Canada (ISC) new policy and funding approach.
we work together to make a change
Supporting Community Based Schools
Specifically, PASS helps Matawa schools with their annual School Success Plans, numeracy and literacy, and other educational initiatives that support student success. Information Technology helps schools with technology implementation and troubleshooting, virus removal, security services, etc. Regular feedback on PASS activities is received from on-site visits by PASS staff, from school principals through the Principals Working Group, and through the Matawa First Nations Education Authority Board of Directors.
The PASS department host the Annual Matawa Education Conference each March. Our education conference includes a wide range of professional development topics that address current needs for Matawa teachers, principals, education leadership, administrators, nutrition program staff, parents and community members.
Pathways to Achieve Student Success Staff
PASS’s Primary Lead is responsible for supporting programming, instructional strategies, classroom management practices and evaluation strategies to improve student success in the Primary Division (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3). The Primary Lead also supports the effective implementation and evaluation of literacy and numeracy programs, and strategies to support student learning and achievement. The Primary Lead has continued supporting schools, including assisting Kindergarten teaching staff in conducting the Early Years Evaluation (EYE). Four schools have implemented a program called “Welcome to Kindergarten” which brings together parents, incoming Kindergarten students, schools and community service agencies to create the foundation for positive relationships and set the stage for a smooth transition to school and future success. Families receive early-learning and literacy resources, and learn how to use them at home. The Primary Lead will continue providing support in the implementation of the Early Years Policy Framework.
PASS’s Intermediate Lead supports the ongoing efforts of Matawa First Nations schools in the areas of literacy, numeracy, student assessment, and student success in the Intermediate-Senior Division (Grades 7-12). The Intermediate Lead coordinated the planning of the Matawa Education Conference and coordinated the Matawa schools’ staff attendance at the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME) conference. The Intermediate Lead assists in planning for the Matawa Education and Care Centre canoe trip between Nibinamik First Nation and Webequie First Nation. The Intermediate Lead provides resources for teachers to help students transition between living and attending school on reserve and living and going to school in an urban centre like Thunder Bay.
School Success Lead
PASS’s School Success Lead supports the development and implementation of individual school success plans, ensuring strategies and evaluation tools are in place to improve literacy, numeracy, and performance standards. With other PASS staff, the School Success Lead also assists schools to identify and implement strategies to engage parents and communities, and to support staff retention and recruitment. The School Success Lead supports schools in administering standardized tests (EQAO and CAT-4), compiling and analyzing testing data, to support principals in making school improvement decisions based on standardized tests results, and to support principals in setting school success plans. Work is being done with the school principals to create School Climate Surveys which are used to assess how the school is performing in different areas, such as safety, bullying, effectiveness of programming and the learning environment, equity and inclusivity, etc. Workshops and training for teachers and principals is avaible on topics that support student retention and success, specifically strategies like Walking the Third Path which teaches Relationship Based Education.
Mental Health Lead
PASS’s Mental Health Lead supports healthy, safe school environments by encouraging schools to address the mental health needs of students and staff at Matawa Schools. The Mental Health Lead researches best practices that produce evidence base strategies to help address mental health and promote mental wellness and then identifies and implements programs and strategies that support student and staff’s mental health and wellness. One such program being introduced is SNAP aka Stop Now and Plan which is an evidence-base, gender sensitive children’s mental health solution.
Information Technology Team
PASS’s Information Technology team provides the Matawa Education staff and Matawa First Nations schools with technical and/or user support in the areas of school data systems and school user systems including the internet infrastructure needed for these systems. They also implement technical, physical, and administrative security controls to protect the user and data systems. The team consists of a System Administrator, IT Technician and Database Helpdesk, each with specific roles and responsibilities to meet the requirements of FNSSP Performance Measurement.
PASS’s Junior Lead provides support to the Matawa First Nations community schools in the areas of literacy, numeracy, student assessment, and student success in the Junior Division (Grades 4-6). Partnerships continue to be created and maintained with external educational organizations that allow the opportunity to provide teachers with educational resources. The Junior Lead helps set up school libraries and teacher resource centers. The Junior Lead coordinates Matawa First Nations schools’ staff attendance at the “Reading for the Love of It” conference and helps promote, plan and organize the Matawa Rotary Bursary Program and its awards banquet. The Junior Lead also assists in organizing a pen pal program between Matawa First Nations schools and a public school in Southern Ontario.
Education Partnership Program Liaison
PASS’s Education Partnership Program Liaison objective is to advance Matawa First Nation student achievement in Matawa First Nation communities and urban provincial schools. The activities listed in the EPP Joint Implementation Plan continue to reflect these common objectives and goals including specific action items to continue sharing expertise and services, coordinate learning initiatives and implement school based activities in support of improving Matawa students’ education outcomes. Work focuses on establishing and fostering the partnership relationships with District School Board’s, and establishing the framework for expanding partnership activities to the school board and school levels.
Cultural Eduation Coordinator
PASS’s Cultural Education Coordinator assists Matawa Schools with Cultural Education, Education around native language and developing curriculum, assessments, which are age appropriate for Matawa Schools. The Cultural Education Coordinator also assists the Language Revitalization Team with any Native Language assistance they require. An important project is translating Matawa’s Treaty Curriculum K-3, 4-8, 9-12 into Ojibwemowin (Roman Orthography) which will help Matawa students retain and relearn their traditional language
Parent-Student Engagement Lead
PASS’s Parent-Student Engagement Lead supports schools identifying and implementing strategies, activities, events promoting parent and student engagement within the education system. In collaboration with schools and families, the Parent-Student Engagement Lead works with school’s Parent Engagement Committees. Work is also done with educators from Matawa First Nations schools to coordinate “Parents in the Classroom” activities. As communication is a critical component of parent engagement, teachers have been provided with a variety of positive communication strategies and resources along with assistance in their use.
Student Nutrition Program Coordinator
PASS’s Student Nutrition Program Coordinator is responsible for our Student Nutrition Program (SNP) which launched in January 2016. The SNP serves Matawa First Nation students nutritious food to support learning and healthy growth and development; as well as, enhance student’s traditional food wisdom through food and nutrition related cultural activities. Every school day the SNP feeds 700 First Nation elementary and secondary students one or two meals a day which consist of a nutritious breakfast, mid-morning meal or lunch. Some Matawa First Nation communities operate their SNP independently and we are working on having a SNP operating in all of the Matawa First Nations. Matawa’s participating schools and communities are:
- Simon Jacob Memorial Education Centre (Elementary) in Webequie First Nation
- Simon Jacob Memorial Education Centre (Secondary) in Webequie First Nation
- Nibinamik Education Centre in Nibinamik First Nation
- Neskantaga Education Centre in Neskantaga First Nation
- Migizi Migwanan Elementary School in Long Lake #58 First Nation
- Migizi Migwanan Secondary School in Long Lake #58 First Nation
- Busing Program in Ginoogaming First Nation
- Matawa Education and Care Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario