Jackson Lafferty – Elders in Schools Pilot

Jun 3 2013

Jackson Lafferty - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, Elders play a vital role in integrating languages and culture into school programming and provide valuable skills and knowledge to our children and youth.

I am happy to announce that beginning in the coming 2013/14 school year we will be launching the NWT Elders in Schools pilot program to strengthen and increase Elder involvement in our schools. While there are currently a significant number of Elders already involved in many of our schools, this program seeks to enhance and formalize Elder involvement within our school system.  This pilot program will run in all schools across the territory for the 2013-14 school year, after which we will gather feedback and input from the schools on suggestions for improvements.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT Elders in Schools Handbook provides details to superintendents and school principals about how to adopt the program, and answers commonly asked questions about how to bridge the gap between generations and between tradition and technology.  This handbook was modeled from the successful Nunavut program, and will be completed early in June.

We will develop an evaluation framework to monitor the program’s effectiveness and ability to meet program objectives to ensure the program actually works.

Mr. Speaker, we have a vision of strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustained and prosperous Northwest Territories. Achieving our vision requires a balanced approach that supports our citizens, preserves and revitalizes our cultures and languages, grows our economy and helps us protect our environment. This project is one of the ways Education, Culture and Employment is working towards healthy, educated people and complements work our government is also doing on the environment and the economy.

I look forward to seeing the territorial pilot in action this upcoming school year.  It is imperative that we connect our generations to ensure the preservation of our languages, cultures and traditions.  I will keep this Assembly apprised of the progress of this valuable program.

Masi, Mr. Speaker.