CALGARY, Nov. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Indspire today announced a number of existing and future activities it is undertaking in response to the calls to action presented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in its report released in June. The announcement was made in conjunction with the third annual National Gathering for Indigenous Education, hosted by Indspire in Calgary, November 13-14, 2015.
Through its K-12 Indspire Institute, Indspire is developing a number of new programs that address the TRC's call for Indigenous control of Indigenous education. One of these new programs is a series of 1, 3, and 5 day workshops about residential schools for teachers, child welfare workers, and others. The goal, as outlined in the TRC report, is to ensure that professionals who work with Indigenous youth are "properly educated and trained about the history of residential schools" and the impact on Indigenous youth today.
Currently, the K-12 Indspire Institute provides Indigenous educators with invaluable resources, including lesson plans developed by Indigenous educators, and professional development programs, such as peer-to-peer mentorship. Through its Nurturing Capacity program, Indspire supports communities to improve educational outcomes through the documentation and evaluation of their innovative practices. Through its Realizing Projects, Indspire works directly with Indigenous communities who want to design their own systems to enhance student success rates. Also, Indspire evaluates and shares proven educational practices with its national network of Indigenous education stakeholders.
Indspire also supports the TRC's call to ensure "adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking a post-secondary education" through its Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program. The primary goal of this program is to ensure that financial resources are not a barrier for Indigenous students to reach their full potential, but Indspire also aims to increase Indigenous representation in fields such as journalism, law, business, health care, and more. The success of this program is evident in a report released earlier this year, which indicates that 93% of students who received funding support from Indspire have graduated. In 2014‑2015, Indspire provided financial support to 189 law students, 493 business students, and 613 students in nursing, medicine, and dentistry, to name a few.
"We are proud of the concrete steps we have taken to affect real change in the lives of Indigenous students," said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. "Indspire's programs work because they are developed at the community level in collaboration with Indigenous educators, scholars, and community leaders. And they are made possible through the contributions of our partners and sponsors, who so generously support our work as Canada's premier national Indigenous charity."
Indspire is also exploring the development of a youth council to support the dialogue between Indigenous youth and Elders around topics of "spirituality, identity, and reconciliation", as recommended by in TRC calls to action.
The National Gathering for Indigenous Education is an annual conference for educators and others who work with Indigenous students to improve educational outcomes. Attendees share best practices and collaborate to translate theory into workable strategies. The third annual conference was made possible by the following supporters of Indspire:
Presenting Corporate Sponsor: Suncor Energy Foundation and Suncor Energy Inc.
Major Partner: Government of Canada
Regional Partner: Government of Alberta
Major Sponsor: TD Bank Group
Keynote Speaker Sponsor: Imperial
Friday Breakfast & Opening Ceremony Sponsor: Shell Canada Limited
Workshop Sponsor: Bow Valley College
Tradeshow Sponsors: AFOA Canada, CWA Foundation, Elections Canada
Break Sponsor: Fast-Voices Into Action
For more information about the National Gathering for Indigenous Education and Indspire's programs for Indigenous K-12 and post-secondary students and their educators, please visit indspire.ca.
Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. Through the K-12 Indspire Institute, it provides resources to educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth. Since its inception in 1985, Indspire has awarded $79 million through almost 25,000 bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous students, making it the largest funder of Indigenous education outside the federal government. Each year, the organization presents the Indspire Awards, a gala celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people that is broadcast nationally.
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