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THRIVE

Mouat’s Indigenous Success Centre gets a new space, new staff and a new name

Photo above (Left to Right) Board of Education School trustee Freddy Latham, Janelle Dick, Tyrone Thomas, Principal Dave deWit, Principal Darlene MacDonald, Angela Booy. This beautiful wooden plaque was designed and engraved at W.J. Mouat by students.

Thrive. We all want to do it. We want it for our school family, our students, the educators and ourselves. It encapsulates the meaning of a successful life. The definition of Thrive is to go well beyond ‘just making it’ or merely surviving. Instead, thriving means to grow vigorously in relationships, in knowledge and in spite of any opposing circumstance.

The new team at Mouat has embraced the vision of seeing each Indigenous student empowered to do their best in all four quadrants of the medicine wheel and to thereby Thrive. The Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Mental aspects of student life are all being considered in a holistic approach. We are working to create the conditions necessary for each of our Indigenous students to thrive in all areas: physical needs and emotional belonging, cultural experience and academic work.

The new physical room occupied by Thrive is centrally located at the front of the school by the office. The result is that all students and visitors to Mouat see the high value placed on Indigenous education. This is indeed a reflection of the values present in the district of Abbotsford, staff at Mouat as well as the Thrive family.

Thrive offers daily student drop-in times at breakfast, during flex block, at lunchtime and afterschool. Students are welcomed, served healthy snacks or lunch. The activity of eating together creates the opportunity for students to develop positive relationships with healthy adults. It also fosters a sense of community and belonging providing emotional support. Students and educators use these times to ask questions about or promote district and school wide events. To ensure your Indigenous Mouat student gets access to these events and services please print out and complete the consultation form pdf at the bottom of this page.

The Indigenous support worker, Tyrone Thomas, has infused Thrive with Cultural activities. Together, we have learned to weave, played Slahal, learned Halqemeylem words, participated in Sharing circles, watched Cultural videos and listened to Indigenous music. Tyrone has also worked with Mouat staff to Indigenize the classrooms and events at Mouat. He spoke to the Outdoor Education class regarding a fieldtrip on Sto:lo territory, taught about ancient fishing tools in First Nations Studies and discussed the importance of learning the Halqemeylem language to English students who were designing their own language App in Media Studies. Tyrone has performed in song with his drum before several events at school and is working with leadership students to implement a new way of acknowledging the territory.

Indigenizing classrooms is one way of helping our Indigenous students, but another is offering practical academic support to supplement their classwork in the Thrive rooms. When appropriate, students can ask their teacher’s permission to “Go to Thrive”. The double meaning is beautiful. We provide academic support, a quiet work space or an alternate setting for quizzes or test writing in these cases. Some Indigenous students have found that working regularly in our space has helped them feel connected to their culture and motivates them to attend. Supervised study blocks are also being utilized. 

IMG_0495.jpgIn keeping with Indigenous culture, the new name “Thrive” was celebrated with a school wide Naming Potlatch on Nov 14. It was attended by Board of Education School trustee Freddy Latham who is also the representative for Indigenous Success and W.J.Mouat Secondary. Indigenous Principal Darlene MacDonald, Principal Dave deWit and Vice Principal Stan Wiebe. Indigenous Support worker, Tyrone Thomas lead the proceedings. Speeches were made by Angela Booy and Janelle Dick as Indigenous Success teachers. The Witnesses called were Principal David deWit and Vice Principal Stan Wiebe. The Indigenous success centre at W.J. Mouat Secondary builds on the legacy of those who began the work before us and to honor them we will lead our Thrive family with good hearts and thoughtful minds.

It is our intention to support Indigenous students as they ...

  1. Gain knowledge & Understanding of Indigenous Culture through Participation
  2. Learn, Study and Work on their school-work assignments
  3. Develop & Move towards their Future Education or Career Goals
  4. Interact with the School & Community as an Indigenous person

To ensure that we support them we will …

  1. Arrange Culturally significant events and learning opportunities
  2. Provide academic support to students and supporting teachers as they embed Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning in their classrooms.
  3. Encourage and direct students to Scholarly & Career planning activities including the special support from district personnel.
  4. Enable students to act as Indigenous Advocates within the school and beyond through Leadership, Acknowledgement of the land and Artistic presentations.

Indigenous Success Educators: Janelle Dick, Tyrone Thomas & Angela Booy

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