B.C. education minister tours Nanaimo schools

By Spencer Sterritt
June 11, 2018 - 6:11pm

Education minister Rob Fleming holding up a 360 degree camera with his and SD68 staff.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — B.C.'s education minister toured local Nanaimo schools and he likes what he sees. 

Outside John Barsby Secondary School, Rob Fleming told NanaimoNewsNOW School District 68 is a leader in health and wellness for students and taking an Indigenous-focused approach in the classroom. 

“We've had a lot of words spoken, the right things have been said for years and years,” he said of the district. “I think this district is focused on action...to bring meaningful First Nations resources into the classroom, to give teachers and support staff the confidence to teach the new curriculum which has much more Indigenous content.” 

With more than 2,100 Indigenous students in Nanaimo classrooms, there's at least one Aboriginal Education staff member in every school with more educational assistants in secondary schools, programs about Indigenous literacy and language as well as a series of newly released videos focused on Truth and Reconciliation. 
Though the cloud of dropping graduation rates for Indigenous students hung over Fleming's tour of Barsby, he said there's no reason to despair. 

“I think that has been a catalyst for much of the positive work and discussions you've seen the district engage in over the last few years, to turn that around and to achieve parity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, which we know can be done.” 

Fleming said there will always be more to be done, but he's thrilled to see a school district take on such a large task and make it interesting and inclusive for students. 

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