Government remains committed to taking action to help ensure a positive future for the students of Northland School Division. The Northland School Division Act received Royal Assent in the Legislature on May 4, 2017. The new act results in a governance structure for Northland School Division that will support the education needs of the First Nations and Métis students and communities it serves and mark an important step towards improving student attendance and learning in the region. In the October 2017 municipal election, community members were able to exercise their democratic right and reinstate an elected board of trustees, after nearly eight years with a government-appointed trustee.
Northland School Division Act
Information about the new Northland School Division Act
The Act comes as a result of an extensive review, discussions and engagement with community members on the future of education in Northland School Division.
Specifically, the new Northland School Division Act:
- Introduces a governance structure with between seven and eleven wards, each with an elected trustee (for the October 2017 municipal election there were 11 wards);
- Replaces the existing Local School Board Committees with school councils that have similar roles and responsibilities as other school councils in Alberta; and
- Establishes a formal engagement process that strengthens community voice, including the involvement of Elders, youth, First Nations, Métis and all other communities to whom the Division provides education services.
A series of community engagements occurred throughout 2015 to 2017 with community stakeholders in Northland to discuss governance and potential amendments to the Northland School Division Act.
- A cross-ministry steering committee has been created made up of representatives from Education, Advanced Education, Children’s Services, Health and Indigenous Relations.
- The steering committee’s mandate is to provide ongoing oversight and strategic guidance to the division in support of its efforts to improve its educational outcomes.
- Government believes there has to be a fresh approach with Northland, because what has been done in the past has met with limited success.
- Making a lasting change for students and communities requires a more holistic approach that takes into account systemic challenges within Northland related to health, social wellbeing, the legacy of residential schools and socioeconomic factors.