SCDSB trustees and the First Nations Education Advisory Committee

SCDSB trustees support Indigenous students through the First Nations Education Advisory Committee
Posted on 03/21/2019

The First Nations Education Advisory Committee (FNEAC) is responsible for the ongoing relationship between the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB), Beausoleil First Nation and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation.

The FNEAC is supported by three trustees, providing a direct line of communication with local First Nations communication authorities and advisory circles. 

“Open, honest and ongoing conversation between our First Nations and the SCDSB is the most valuable tool in maintaining and improving the experience our First Nations students have in education,” says Paula Jade Sandy, Trustee, First Nation Communities. The strong bonds between the SCDSB and its First Nations partners, nurtured through the FNEAC, are responsible for mutually significant outcomes, including:

  • the implementation of a land acknowledgement in Oct. 2017, a valuable act of reconciliation and respect with, and for, the First Nations people of Simcoe County, on whose land we stand, as recommended in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action

  • cultural awareness training for all SCDSB trustees, delivered by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation

  • an exponential increase in self-identified First Nations students across the SCDSB in the last 10 years

“This growth of self-identified First Nations students shows their communities have great trust in the board,” says Stuart Finlayson, Superintendent of Indigenous Education. 

Previously, the SCDSB identified a gap in academic success for First Nations students.

“The closing of the gap in academic success for our students is a significant achievement for our board,” says Jodi Lloyd, Chairperson of the Board and Trustee for Orillia, Severn and Ramara Township. “The creation of a Principal of Indigenous Education position illustrated our commitment to this goal, and the work that has been done to date has resulted in greater success for our students. This commitment has fostered positive, open communication and dialogue within our FNEAC, which has resulted in great trust and respect, enhancing our ability to move forward.”

As a FNEAC trustee for eight years, Michele Locke plans to continue advocating for curriculum content First Nations students can relate to.

“I hope our Indigenous team can continue to celebrate more Métis content,” she says. “As a Métis living in one of the largest settlements in Ontario, I know that more content will allow those students to see themselves in our work and schools.”

FNEAC trustees help the SCDSB maintain focus on Indigenous education priorities such as further reducing the gap in academic success, ensuring students see themselves reflected in the board through Indigenous content in schools and continuing to follow through on commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Learn more about our current FNEAC trustees on their profile pages below:

We sat down with Trustee Michele Locke. Here's what she had to say about the FNEAC.