Trustee wins PSBAA award

Northland School Division TTrustee Rubi Shirley was awarded a Public School Boards Association of Alberta award for promoting and advancing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada within Alberta.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Northland School Division is celebrating a special achievement by one of its trustees.

Ward 9 [Fort Chipewyan] Trustee Rubi Shirley was awarded a Public School Boards Association of Alberta [PSBAA] award for promoting and advancing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada within Alberta.

Shirley, who earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Seattle, completed a thesis exploring the phenomenon of low high school graduation rates of First Nation students in Canada and the perceptions of First Nation Chiefs.

“The effort Dr. Shirley put into this thesis is evident and will spark meaningful conversations on how to improve the high school completion rates for First Nations students,” says board chair Robin Guild.

“[Shirley’s] thesis is a perfect example for promoting and advancing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” adds Northland Supt. Nancy Spencer-Poitras.

While completing her thesis, Shirley interviewed 10 First Nation chiefs in two provinces. She completed one-on-one semi-structured interviews to gather her data.

The data showed there were three themes which led to four recommendations. One of the themes expressed the value of education; however, the thesis revealed First Nation people have always valued education but from the First Nation perspective.

The study was significant because for the first time, it recorded the voices of chiefs discussing low high school graduation rates for First Nation students.

Recommendations were made that direct the chiefs to be involved in the educational process and provide guidance for current education systems in Canada, all of which could increase high school graduation rate.

Shirley represents the Fort Chipewyan area.

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