Attendance improved after band took over school, officials say
Officials with a northern Alberta First Nation say educational standards improved when they took over their school from the Northlands School Division about decade ago.
The band made the move over concerns about a lack of say in recruiting and keeping teachers, said Arthur Noskey, chief of the Loon River First Nation.
Since then, student attendance and achievement has improved and teachers are staying longer in the community.
"We had some teachers that really bought into the communities that they were in...that basically got involved ... were visible in the community," Noskey said. "And that did a lot for parent-teacher interviews and moving forward on the kids' education, getting involved in the kids' education."
Last week, Alberta Education Minister Dave Hancock fired the 23 trustees on the Northland School Division board over worries about student achievement results and staff turnover.
According to government documents, only 19.6 per cent of students in the division complete high school within three years of entering Grade 10. The average for the province is 70.7 per cent.
On the Loon River First Nation, officials say increased parental involvement has been key to an attendance rate that now sits at 89 percent.
"The parents got more involved because now it's their school," said Mabel Noskiye, who is in charge of education at the school.
Hancock has appointed a trustee to oversee the Northlands School Division. A three-person team will examine how the schools have been run.
Northlands School Division administers most of the schools in northern Alberta with 2,885 students in 23 schools.