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Aboriginals-only school

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January 28, 2010
SFU education experts support a Prince George school district’s plan to open B.C.’s first aboriginal-only public school in September. District administrators hope that the new elementary school, called Aboriginal Choice, will improve aboriginal public school students’ 60-per-cent dropout rate.

Kris Magnusson, SFU education dean, says what little success the conventional education system has had with aboriginals is rooted in helping them connect with their language, culture and indigenous ways of knowing. “We must go beyond simply providing an environment where the roots of success are merely accepted, and move towards a system where they form the very foundation of learning.”

Kris Magnusson, 778.782.3148,

William Lindsay, SFU’s new First Nations Office director, notes that schools dedicated to teaching aboriginal youth in Edmonton and adults in Vancouver are proving their value. “A school with concentrations on First Nations history, culture, use of elders and ceremony, combined with modern facets of education, would be good for these kids,” adds Lindsay. “The idea that Western forms of learning is the only way to go is outdated.”

William Lindsay, 778.782.8924,

Kym Stewart, an SFU education researcher, has thoughts on how Aboriginal Choice could benefit from implementing an SFU-developed imaginative education program that has improved aboriginal student performance in Prince Rupert. Stewart’s doctoral work looks at how Imaginative Education can enhance classroom engagement. Stewart was a research assistant for the LUCID (Learning for Understanding through Culturally Inclusive Imaginative Development) program in Prince Rupert  schools. Based on Imaginative Education principles, LUCID uses culturally relevant stories, games and images to spark aboriginal children’s learning.

Kym Stewart, 778.782.4479,


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