Strengthening Cree Language Education in Our Community
We are excited to launch our Cree Language Mentorship Initiative, an important initiative to increase teaching support of the Oral Cree Language in our Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. At the Cree School Board, we're committed to strengthening the Cree language, particularly in the early years. Our recent Language Assessment study highlighted the urgent need to support our teachers and preserve our language for our students. Given that all Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms within the Cree School Board are expected to be taught in Cree, we've created a plan to offer additional support and resources to our teachers at these levels.
To achieve this, we've assembled a group of Mentors, many of whom are retired teachers with extensive experience within the Cree School Board, particularly at the Pre-K or Kindergarten level or in Cree Language instruction. These Mentors will collaborate closely with our dedicated teachers who are already qualified to teach in Cree, offering them invaluable support and guidance
Each Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher will have access to a Mentor, with a ratio of 1 Mentor for every 2 teachers at this level. Our initial communication on this program was shared with all employees in June 2023, outlining our preliminary plans for the Fall of 2023. Subsequently, we organized orientation sessions for the Mentors and conducted a Kick-off Meeting involving the teachers and their Mentors. During these sessions, participants collaboratively developed local plans and set meeting schedules within their schools.
The Mentors will be employed on a contract basis for the 2023-2024 school year, with a flexible 3-day work week determined by each group. Supervision and guidance for the Mentors will be provided by Lucy Shem and Cecile Planchon, who played pivotal roles in the Language Assessment study. Lucy and Cecile will continue to conduct language assessments in all our communities throughout the school year.
We are enthusiastic about the possibilities this initiative brings and eagerly anticipate collaborating with all schools to strengthen the Cree language in our Eeyou education system.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication and support.