R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), met with education leaders on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 to discuss several priority initiatives.
Minister Simpson and Dehcho Chair Renalyn Pascua-Matte opened the virtual meeting with remarks about the latest information on the flood situation in Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River and the planned reopening of schools in both communities this week. Minister Simpson reiterated his thanks to the Dehcho region’s education leaders and staff for their extraordinary efforts during the flooding. as well as to education leaders for their coordinated efforts during recent COVID-19 related school closures in Yellowknife, Dettah, Ndılǫ and Behchokǫ̀,
Minister Simpson provided updates on Education Act modernization, JK -12 Curriculum Renewal and the 2030 Early Learning and Child Care Strategy initiatives. Minister Simpson noted that engagement has been very high with these initiatives, with nearly 60 formal engagements taking place to date, as well as nearly 580 online survey responses submitted.
Education staff provided an update on the COVID-19 situation, noting that most schools have now safely reopened since the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) updated the orders on school closures. Staff also took questions and provided information around preparations for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
Education leaders discussed major Indigenous Language Revitalization (ILR) initiatives, including the Mentor-Apprentice Program, where a mentor fluent in an Indigenous language teaches a language learner through immersion. Programs such as this aim to slow down and eventually reverse the decline of an Indigenous language, as well as educate, empower and mobilize communities.
Education leaders also engaged in discussion on the Skills 4 Success initiative. Skills 4 Success is a GNWT-wide initiative that is about improving employment success for NWT residents. Education leaders offered valuable feedback toward developing a new Skills 4 Success action plan, including on the need to strengthen the connections between the JK-12 education system and post-secondary education and training. The Minister and education leaders highlighted the importance of promoting skilled trades, noting that skilled tradespeople will play a critical in advancing the economic and social aspirations of the people of the Northwest Territories.
Minister Simpson and education leaders are scheduled to meet next on June 8.
“I’m pleased that we were able to focus on priority initiatives today, and update education leaders on the work ECE is doing to improve student outcomes. From Indigenous Languages Revitalization and Education Act modernization, to JK-12 curriculum renewal and Skills 4 Success, there is exciting work happening to improve educational outcomes and employment opportunities for students in the territory. It has been a busy and demanding few months for our communities and our schools, and I appreciate how education leaders and school staff have handled these ongoing challenges, while continuing work on these important initiatives.”
-R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
“We thank the Minister and ECE staff for updating education leaders on these exciting programs and initiatives and allowing us the chance to discuss and ask questions. We are pleased with the work being done to improve student outcomes in the NWT, particularly in our small communities through programs such as Northern Distance Learning and the Mentor-Apprentice Program.”
-Erin Currie, DEA Chair, Yellowknife Catholic Schools
For more information contact:
Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
DEA Chair, Yellowknife Catholic Schools