River East Transcona School Division recently launched a new electronic newsletter that school officials say will highlight aboriginal achievements in the division.
The first issue of The Community Tipi was introduced by staff in RETSD’s Aboriginal Academic Achievement department in October. The second issue of the newsletter is scheduled to be released later this month.
The newsletter is the brainchild of the division’s new inclusion specialist Corey Kapilik, who is based out of Bernie Wolfe Community School.
Kapilik said he hopes the newsletter, the first of its kind for a Winnipeg school division, will help build a sense of community while sparking innovation in the division’s 42 schools and more than 16,000 students.
"I was thinking of a way to communicate to the entire division what’s going on to keep all the AAA programs in the division more connected," Kapilik said. "(I also) want to inspire and give people ideas about different things that are happening across the division that could lead to new ideas.
"Overall, (we hope) to highlight the students, the programs, and the things that are working well."
The Community Tipi will be published four times during the school year and will be timed to coincide with each of the four seasons. Each edition will feature a teaching from an elder marking the transition to a new time of year. October’s inaugural issue included one adapted from an oral presentation from elder Jules Lavallee reflecting on how the summer was preparation for the winter ahead.
Lisa Aymont Hunter, the division’s aboriginal community networker, said the seasonal themes are meant to instill a feeling of tradition in readers.
"There are different tasks to do each season," Aymont Hunter said. "We’re wanting to follow that traditional way, so there will be an elder’s teaching about what each season means and what it’s a time for."
In addition, the newsletter will help keep students, staff and the community-at-large up-to-date on happenings within the program, including the AAA-led powwow slated for April.
October’s inaugural edition was distributed to administrators and each school’s AAA department as a two-page PDF, but the department hopes to see the publication grow to include more content as it becomes more established.
"We do want to have a space to highlight the work of our aboriginal students, whether it’s a drawing, a poem, an essay, a digital photo of a collage that they did — anything that expresses their creativity, we’d like to capture," Aymont Hunter said.
October’s edition is still available online. The December edition will be available later this month at www.retsd.mb.ca.