The Lloydminster Public School Division (LPSD) is now offering Cree language classes at one of its middle schools. This complements existing programs and partnerships that support the engagement of First Nations Métis (FNM) students throughout LPSD schools.
The classes are held at E.S. Laird Middle School for all Grade 8 and 9 students and help embed Cree culture into the fabric of the school.
E.S. Laird Middle School Principal Stacey Klisowsky said the idea of providing students with the opportunity to learn Cree through classroom instruction came after administration took a look at ways to encourage student engagement at the school.
“It came down to providing a positive culture and FNM students feeling they were a part of the school,” she said. “Offering this program was an authentic way to do just that and has been a contributing factor to student success.”
Cree Teacher Sandy Chocan added the school has also seen an increase in the sense of identity and self-confidence through this program.
“Our students need to see that they can succeed and once they start experiencing their culture within the school, their pride grows,” he said. “At first, some students were reluctant to speak the language, but this helps them feel proud of their culture and language.”
Nearly half of all Grade 8 students are currently taking Cree classes at E.S. Laird Middle School. Approximately 20 Grade 9 students are also taking the class this semester.