Truth and Reconciliation in Clearview

Truth and Reconciliation in Clearview
Posted on 09/30/2022
Truth and Reconciliation in Clearview

Clearview moves forward with Truth and Reconciliation
September 30, 2022

On September 30, 2022 - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - Clearview is reflecting on the role of education and Clearview’s responsibilities and opportunities. Clearview is working to support educators as they embed Indigenous Education in their classrooms throughout the school year. 

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous people need to move into the future together,” says Wendy Coppock, Clearview Director of Inclusive Services. “We can only do that when we understand the truth of the past, and then use that to walk into the future with all members of our communities included and participating. I truly believe that when we work together we can achieve great things.” 

“This is critically important work,” says Scot Leys, Clearview Superintendent. “As educators we have the opportunity and responsibility of helping our youth understand the past so that we can move forward in a positive way.” 

Clearview’s Indigenous Education Committee is helping with the work. The committee had its genesis in January 2018 in Clearview. Its purpose is to help teachers access resources so they are prepared to teach about Indigenous people, history, culture and ways of knowing. The committee meets monthly.

“This is about meeting the needs of all our students,” says Cindy Zimmermann, Leader of Clearview’s Indigenous Education Committee and teacher at Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus. “Our aim is to provide resources and support to ensure teachers can adequately and appropriately address Truth and Reconciliation in their classrooms.”

“We also need to appreciate and celebrate Indigenous ways of knowing and learning that, when practiced in our classrooms, are good for all learners,” says Zimmermann. “For instance, Indigenous education emphasizes storytelling, hands-on learning, and learning opportunities based in the land. These styles of teaching are just good practice because all of our students benefit.” 

Clearview created Indigenous learning kits for each school in the 2021 school year. The kits include resources that connect Indigenous learning to curriculum at each grade level. For instance, there are science lessons about soils, climate, the animal cycle and astronomy. Also, the Clearview Indigenous Education Committee has created a website with resources for educators, and will continue to strengthen it. Finally, this year the committee plans to develop a newsletter for teachers with ideas and recommendations. 

Jaymi Rausch is a member of the committee and a teacher at Gus Wetter School (GWS) in Castor. She says, “I think the work around Truth and Reconciliation is important for all Canadians. It’s part of our history and we can never let that history repeat itself. We need to take care of our people, of each other. Knowledge and understanding is the first step, and taking action is the next, and we need to take action now.”

Rausch says at GWS, younger students will have lessons focused on feeling safe, cared for, and loved, as well as on families and pride in each student’s cultural heritage. Upper elementary students at GWS will learn more about what happened in residential schools. In junior high students will learn historical information and consider how individuals and communities can help with reconciliation. Finally, at the high school level, students will have the opportunity to do more in-depth research about residential schools and about survivors. Rausch says “we are taking an action-speaks-louder-than-words approach with our high school students this year.” 

“At its core this work is about empathy,” says Zimmermann. “It’s about increasing our understanding for people who are part of our communities. This work is critical because it helps everyone feel safe and included.”