Starting next fall, the English course that Grand Erie students take in Grade 11 will focus on Indigenous content and Indigenous authors. Understanding contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit voices will be the focus of the course, which includes updated curriculum from the Ministry of Education.
“Developing content for the course has been a collaborative community effort,” said Sabrina Sawyer, Indigenous Education Lead for Grand Erie. “Staff from across Grand Erie have worked with community partners over the past year to layer in the local context of Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.”
The decision to focus on Indigenous content and Indigenous authors aligns with Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, Success for Every Student, through the Equity Indicator and its work to promote practices that help students, families and staff feel safe, welcomed and included.
“Grand Erie is fiercely committed to the ideals of equity and inclusion,” said Brenda Blancher, Director of Education. “That includes the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and specifically calls 62 and 63 which recognize the need to build teacher capacity and student understanding.”
Grand Erie’s decision also aligns with those made by several Boards across the province who are also moving to a focus on Indigenous content for their Grade 11 English course.
“Part of our role as educators is to provide an opportunity for our students to hear the diverse stories of our country as well as our local communities and to learn from voices that have often been ignored or overlooked,” said Denise Martins, Superintendent of Education, responsible for Secondary Programming. “Our goal with this course is to engage all students in developing a better intercultural understanding as a way to build a positive future together. It’s also about showcasing great literature and a rich and wide array of writers to facilitate critical thinking and meaningful discussion in the classroom, which will prepare our students for Grade 12 and beyond.”
Grand Erie District School Board represents more than 26,000 students in 58 elementary and 14 secondary schools within the City of Brantford and the Counties of Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk as well as secondary students from Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.