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Welcome : OCN Public Services : Opaskwayak Education Authority

Opaskwayak Education Authority

Box 10370
Opaskwayak, MB R0B 2J0
Phone: (204) 623-7431
Fax: (204) 623-2870
Toll Free: 1-800-661-7981
Email: oea@mts.net

Click here for Joe A. Ross School

Education Directors Meeting

I attended a meeting in October with other First Nation Education Directors from across Manitoba .  The main issue that came up over and over again was the funding difference between what First Nations educational authorities receive to educate students and what the provincial public schools receive.  At one point in the early 90's we received roughly equal amounts per student.  Today we receive 30-40% less than public schools.  INAC continues to expect us to meet 'Canadian standards' while providing significantly less money to do so.  Negotiations to increase our base funding levels have been going on for over 10 years and there has been no improvement. 

In spite of the fact that we receive less per student than our provincial counterparts our educational outcomes are above public system outcomes for Aboriginal students.  We are doing more for less. 

One of my primary goals as Director of Education is to advance our level of funding per pupil to where it should be (as compared to provincial and federal averages) by 2012.  To give you a clear example, the Manitoba average provincial spending per pupil is $8950.00 (school divisions in the north are spending closer to $10,000) and the Ontario average per pupil spending is $9450.00.  Our spending per pupil is approximately $6400.  I will do whatever I can to get our funding levels to where they should be. 

Changes to graduation requirements

Teachers, parents and students should be aware that the graduation requirements for provincial senior years diplomas are increasing from 28 credits in the 2007/08 school year to 30 credits in the 2009/10 school year.  Student seeking to graduate in

    - 2007/08 require a minimum of 28 credits

    - 2008/09 require a minimum of 29 credits

    - 2009/10 and beyond require a minimum of 30 credits.

The addition is a result of the 2008/09 addition of one compulsory physical education / health (PE/HE) credit at grade 11 and one at grade 12.   Joe A Ross is seeking to accomodate these changes by offering Land Based (outdoor ed) courses which meet the general learning outcomes of the PE/HE courses and not use valuable gymnasium space and time.  We are piloting these courses this year and our current Land Based Ed. (Outdoor Ed) students will be awarded the PE/HE credits.

JARS Safe School Plan

As most of you know Joe A Ross School went through an emergency lockdown.  The administration and staff resonded exactly as per procedure by taking the threat seriously.  It is our practice to have zero tolerance for not responding to threats.  The incident is still under investigation by the RCMP.  Note:  It is a criminal offence to interfere with the safe operation of a school punishable by up to three years in jail.

By sheer coincidence the RCMP Safe School Plan coordinator for manitoba was in the building during the drill and he said that the staff reacted very professionally and quickly.  He was very impressed by teh staff in the school.

The RCMP has on file a complete plan for JARS that includes every contingency and emergency variable and we will be continuing to work on the details of the internal safe school plan. 

Conversational Chinese

Dr. Howard Chen will be teaching a high school 'Conversational Chinese' class this next block (Nov. 12 - January 31).  Dr. Chen will be teaching the students practical Mandarin and giving them a lot of opportunities to practice in the community.  He plans to begin fundraising with the students to take them to the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing next summer (fundraising permitting).  This is an excellent opportunity to develop the 'mulitlingual and multicultural' skills in our youth and will open up many future job and business opportunities for OCN in the long run.  Dr. Chen will also bring a with him a new approach to language instruction which will be interesting to watch.   

NORMAN Regional Vocational Consortium

OEA is partnering with Kelsey School Division, Flin Flon School Division and Frontier School Division to offer vocational trades training beginning January 2008.  Two of our students will be eligible to obtain trade specific training in each of Heavy Duty Mechanics, Building Construction and Carpentry,  We will be looking at offering a trades course in the fall of 2008 to allow our students the opportunity to get their level one in one of four different trades through high school (possibly hairdressing or small motor mechanics). 

JARS Cultural Enrichment Program

The after school tanning enrichment project is underway.  Between now and the new year a group of students will be working with Elders to learn tracking, trapping, hunting, skinning and how to prepare and tan hides of different sizes.  The students will end up with a piece of artwork from their work and will be producing a video of their projects. 

Nominal Role

We officially have 1023 students attending Joe A Ross School in grades Kindergarten through 12 and 152 students attending post-secondary institutions across Canada . 

Bev Fontaine - Director of Education

Opaskwayak Educational Authority Inc.

Box 10370 , Opaskwayak , MB R0B 2J0

(204) 623-7431

Opaskwayak Educational Authority Inc. seeks to develop Ininuwuk as confident and healthy lifelong learners.  By providing an academically challenging, exciting and rewarding program within the context of a healthy holistic environment that practices nekanootawinek mena tipanimisowinek, we will create multilingual leaders who are knowledgable in Opaskwayak traditions, culture, heritage and language. 

Through education, ketiniminuwuk will guide our community to its rightful place as leaders locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. 


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Opaskwayak Cree Nation   The Pas, Manitoba, Canada    tel 1-888-763-1566    email