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ABC’s in the Classroom at Sudbury Catholic Schools

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Students Aiyanna Gonawabi and Junior Agowissa listen to SCDSB Joel Agowissa during his ABC programming.

March 22, 2013 - Since May of 2012, Joel Agowissa, the Aboriginal Support Worker for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board has been sharing his knowledge of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit cultures with students and staff throughout the board. His programs have been developed to support both the primary learners – Kindergarten to grade 1, and the junior students – grade 2 to grade 5. Agowissa’s ABC program, delivered to primary students, is based on the Aboriginal Biinoojig Centre (ABC) programming. ABC gives the primary students the opportunity to begin their Catholic education with a clear understanding of the foundation of aboriginal cultures.

Since September 2012, Agowissa has visited 12 of the Sudbury Catholic Elementary Schools, with the remainder of the board’s schools scheduled for visits until the end of June 2013. The programming is delivered to all students in the classroom setting and allows for hands-on, visual and interactive learning opportunities. According to Agowissa, “Connecting with students at this age sets the foundation for accurate cultural appreciation, building self-confidence and awareness, and replacing stereotypes with knowledge.”

Nicole Snow, SCDSB Superintendent and Aboriginal Lead states “We are proud to introduce aboriginal culture during the formative years, and recognize the importance of enhancing our programs and implementing and developing new initiatives to support aboriginal student achievement.”

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board has recently re-launched the “Who Are You” voluntary self-identification campaign for aboriginal students. According to Snow, ”This is part of a larger, long-term initiative to improve the understanding of aboriginal histories, cultures, and perspectives, by all members of our school communities.”

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