Seabird Island Community School students at their grade 7 graduation ceremony in 2017. A new partnership with the Martin Family Initiative’s Model Schools Literacy Project will help Seabird students reach their literacy goals. (Seabird Island Band Facebook)

Seabird Island school joins national First Nations literacy project

Martin Family Initiative’s literacy project advances reading and writing skills

Literacy is proven to be key to predicting high school graduation and preparing students for academic success.

That’s why the Seabird Island Community School is excited to join the Martin Family Initiative’s Model Schools Literacy Project, a program that helps ensure First Nations students can read and write well enough by the end of Grade 3 to support continued school success.

“At Lalme’Iwesawtexw, we believe that schools are for children and children come first,” stated principal Barbara White. “We are very excited and proud to partner with the Model Schools Literacy Project because their project goal so closely aligns with our school’s goal.”

The Model Schools Literacy Project was launched in Ontario in 2009 with a five-year Model Schools Pilot Project in two elementary schools. Five years after the program started, results showed a 68 per cent increase in reading proficiency in grade three students – higher than Ontario’s province-wide average.

In 2017, Seabird Island Community School adopted a ‘school excellence plan’ that focused primarily on literacy. Now, with the Model Schools Literacy Project, the plan will be “extended, enriched and celebrated….” according to Seabird director of education Laurie Bizero.

“During the last few years, we have been focusing with a greater sense of urgency on early literacy because we understand the critical link between students reading at grade level by the end of grade three and success in high school,” she stated.

“We anticipate that our partnership with the Model Schools Literacy Project will help move us further faster toward our goal of giving students a strong footing for their future.”

Bizero said school excellence in Seabird is built on five prongs: literacy, numeracy, parent engagement, culture, and language and attendance – all of which are sub-components of the literacy project.

“It’s really a beautiful hybrid with literacy as it’s primary focus,” she said. “Literacy is a total component of communication. It leads into every other subject area, it has reading, writing listening, speaking, representing and embracing.”

For at least the next six years, Seabird Island Community School and the Seabird community will continue it’s ongoing literacy goals, working with the new program to help students reach their full potential.

But the focus on literacy and education success has no end-date, added Bizero.

“We wish to look from junior kindergarten to the elders in our community and be able to provide life-long learning.”

Related: Seabird Island Band and School District 78 sign local education agreement

Related: Seabird Island author’s book, ‘Heart Berries’ receiving international acclaim



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

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