Cowichan Tribes along with the Dididaht First Nation in Duncan, BC have voted to create their own independent school district, according to reporting form Chek News.
“We’ll create a board together, and we’ll agree on what the curriculum will look like that we’ll deliver out of all of our schools,” Coun. Stephanie Atleo of Cowichan Tribes told Chek. “It will be a few years before we are fully implemented into this process but we’re putting together the resources now and hitting the ground running,” Atleo added.
Quw’utsun Smuneem (Our Cowichan Children) Elementary School is a Cowichan Tribes school which opened it current school in May 2003. At this time Quw’utsun Smuneem teaches Kindergarten to Grade Four in six classrooms. Eventually the school will go up to Grade Seven.
“Just to see them talking Hul’qumi’num in the classrooms, in the gym, in the playground. It is remarkable,” Hul’qumi’num program lead at Quw’utsun Smuneem school Tracy Sylvester told Chek.
Over the years the staff at Quw’utsun Smuneem has worked diligently to develop an academic program that focuses on improving reading and math. Particular focus is put on literacy. Our goal is to have our children reading with fluency and complete comprehension by Grade Three. Quw’utsun Smuneem aims to keep classes small. There are not more than 22 children per classroom.
Cowichan teachings and the Hul’qumi’num language are integrated into the curriculum. Every class gets three 30 minute classes a week in Hul’qumi’num instruction, plus the language is incorporated into the rest of the curriculum. A showcase event in May is the Spring Quw’utsun Smuneem Dancing Event; it is an event the children and parents enjoy.
Quw’utsun Smuneem is a community school. Parents are more than willing to help with special events throughout the year. Parents are ever present for Parent/Teacher Conferences.
All subjects meet Ministry of Education standard and all of our teachers are members of the BC College of Teachers.