KO Chiefs like Special Education On-line Workshops "Just what our teachers need"

On-line workshops popular with teachers working in remote and isolated First Nations schools...

The Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak are pleased with the on-line workshops on special education, literacy and early childhood development hosted by KORI and K-Net Services, the regional management organization for Industry Canada’s First Nation SchoolNet program.

"These workshops are exactly what our teachers need," Chief Roy Gray of Fort Severn said. He says it's important to support the teachers in Fort Severn right now who are struggling to educate the children without the benefits of a school building. The Fort Severn School was closed by Chief and Council last June after three engineering reports found levels of mould harmful to human health.

Chief Eli James of McDowell Lake also supports the initiative. "This can only help," he said. He added it's important to ensure than parents and other interested community members are involved. "Parents," he said, "need more information about what goes on within the walls of the school. We are preparing our children for the future and we need the entire community working together if we are going to produce future leaders," he said.

Chief Raymond Mason says the workshops promote awareness for the need to support classroom teachers working in the communities. "We don’t have many specialists in special ed and literacy. These workshops help with professional development," he said. He believes that some teachers might choose to remain in the north if they have better professional development opportunities and more support for their work in the classroom.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak, K-Net Services (Industry Canada First Nations SchoolNet - Regional Management Organization), and KORI are presenting a series of on-line workshops in Special Education, Literacy and Early Childhood Development by experts throughout the region. The workshops are designed to assist and support classroom teachers working in First Nations schools, however, education directors, principals, teaching assistants and parents are welcomed to participate. The on-line workshops are available live via IP video-conference every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12 noon Central Time (Sioux Lookout time) commencing January 16th, 2006. Workshops will be archived and available through the following K-Net website: http://www.knet.ca/PD/SpecEd.html

To register, email your contact information including name, telephone number, email address and IP videoconferencing address (if you know it) to wesleymckay@knet.ca For more information, go to the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute at http://research.knet.ca

During the first week of workshops, teachers, teachers’ assistants and tutor escorts from First Nations Schools in Fort William, Kejick Bay, Keewaywin, Sachigo, Muskrat Dam, Bearskin, and Sandy Lake participated in the first three on-line workshops on special education, literacy and early childhood development.