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Alison Kimbley is the student engagement support teacher at Seven Stones Community School in Regina. Her job is a new position created to focus on engaging both students and community members inside the school’s walls. (Submitted/Alison Kimbley) A new program at Seven Stones Community School in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood is aiming to make education a family affair by engaging both parents and students in the classroom.

“We see the need for families to feel valued, and have a place in the school,” said Alison Kimbley, the school’s student engagement support teacher — a new position created to focus on engaging both students and community members inside Seven Stones’ walls.

One of Kimbley’s first orders of business is launching a new program that turns family members into classroom teachers.

“It’s mostly about passing on traditional [Indigenous skills],” she said, though she said it’s not limited to that.

“It’s also about getting positive role models into the classroom, or even just getting families to come in and talk about past experience. For example, we have someone coming in to talk about residential school,” a subject Kimbley said not all teachers feel completely confident delivering on their own. ‘It’s easier for students to learn’

According to Kimbley, getting families more involved in their children’s education is a fundamental part of making sure kids do well in school.

“It plays a huge part, not only in helping their children learn, but also just in expressing the value of education,” she said, but added schools have a role to play there as well.

“Right now, there’s apprehension in coming into the school. Families don’t feel as though their knowledge is valued.”

She hopes the program will not only make families feel more welcome, but also help students do better in the classroom.

“It’s easier for students to learn if it’s from someone they have a really strong relationship with, or who they share culture with.

“Hopefully this will make it easier for them to absorb that education.”

According to Kimbley, this program is just one small part of making sure “students and their families feel more engaged.”

She said the school is also planning to translate its signage into Cree, and she’ll continue to work with students, community members, and community organizations to find out how they think education should be delivered.

We’ll broadcast live from the mâmawêyatitân centre in North Central, Regina on Friday September 22. Come join us for stories from the centre, as well as bannock, coffee, and prizes. We’ll be at 3355 6th Ave from 6:00 – 8:30.

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