Malahat Nation inks deal with School District 79

The Cowichan Valley School District and the Malahat Nation have signed a local education agreement (LEA) following months of negotiation.

Malahat Nation CEO Lawrence Lewis.

Malahat Nation CEO Lawrence Lewis.

The Cowichan Valley School District and the Malahat Nation have signed a local education agreement (LEA) following months of negotiation.

The agreement is designed to shape the delivery of education to Malahat Nation students, while addressing the objectives of both the district and the band.

Malahat Nation CEO Lawrence Lewis said, on releasing a notice of the LEA, “What is so unique about this agreement is that it is student-centred and family-focused while steeped in culture.”

He praised collaborative efforts to find solutions.

“By having an LEA that is creative and innovative we are continuing to build self determination and strengthen governance opportunities that impact our citizens.”

Lewis commented further that, “At Malahat Nation, we are committed to doing big, bold and beautiful things, this agreement reflects the essence of nation building for future generations.”

Over the past six months senior staff of both organizations have been working together, taking special note that the band’s demographic is very youthful.

This point was stressed last year when Malahat representatives spoke to the board at a public meeting, emphasizing the importance of education in a group that included so many young children.

Lewis said that, “One of the innovative aspects of this agreement is the nation’s commitment to work with citizens on creating personal life plans for all students entering the school system and the district’s commitment to integrate these plans as the student’s education plan. These plans will grow and evolve through the students’ educational journey.”

School Board chair Candace Spilsbury said she is confident the relationship described in the LEA will improve the educational outcomes for the Malahat students.

“The students and their families, the Malahat Nation and the school district each have a part in a child’s education and we are pleased with the level of cooperation envisioned in this agreement,” she said.

Both parties have created a joint working group as part of the LEA that will allow decision makers and front line staff the ability to solve problems and plan together on an ongoing basis.

“By working together in unique and innovative ways to meet the needs of students and families we are fundamentally changing, in a positive way, how we deliver education,” Lewis said.

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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