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MERN Abstract id=60
Source : MERN Forum #11, Session 3A
Date: 11/2/2007
Author: Betty-Ann McIvor
Title : Making education work in Manitoba schools
Text : Six Manitoba Aboriginal communities along with their high schools have joined together with the Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation to create a project that embodies a common goal: To improve the presently low rates of high school completion and post-secondary program uptake and success among Aboriginal students. Making Education Work is a five-year pilot research project based on the needs of Manitoba Aboriginal high school students. The project takes root in six high schools across Manitoba which includes three First Nations and three provincial school divisions. The overall aim of the project is to provide additional in-school supports and services to assist Aboriginal students in grades 10 to 12 to best meet their graduation requirements and to enter into a post-secondary program. It is designed to test whether a combination of community, family, academic, cultural and career guidance interventions positively affects the rates of participation in post-secondary education. The program components of Making Education Work are designed to address local issues and to provide a coherent, coordinated set of interventions to strengthen students’ ability to make decisions on post-secondary pathways that fit with their interests, skills, Aboriginal community context, and labour market needs, local or provincial. Specifically, these interventions include components such as academic and personal supports, individual career development and guidance, cultural development, community service activities and supports, parental involvement, and tutoring and mentorship programs. Program implementation began in the fall of 2006 in each of the six sites with each project site having one full-time MEW teacher working with the program students for the full three years of high school. A MEW classroom is designated for the full three years to serve as a classroom, study hall and meeting place for all MEW program participants. The MEW teacher teaches one MEW elective course per semester in which all program students must register. Six MEW courses have been developed for the duration of the project with students receiving .5 credit per course totalling 3 full credits upon completion of Grade 12. The hopes are that this research pilot project will help us to better understand how to improve outcomes for Aboriginal learners and strengthen pathways among secondary schools, post-secondary programs and the workforce. Yet, being mindful, the program must be realistic and affordable if the type of programming offered by Making Education Work project were to be extended to all Aboriginal high school students, should it prove to be successful.
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