Talent was abundant in the Ermineskin Elementary School at their talent show on June 17th, 2013. The show was a fusion of traditional aboriginal drumming and songs, interspersed with a modern rap style of music and dance. Principal Debbie Stockdale and staff can be very proud of the performances and the polite and well-mannered conduct of the students who filed into the gymnasium and politely cheered their classmates throughout the entire show. However, when five teachers took to the stage in a variety of outfits and presented a variety of acts, the polite cheering was quickly replaced with a noisy high level of cheers filled with exuberance, laughter and excitement.
Debbie Stockdale, Principal, Ermineskin Elementary School proudly describes the school. “We share a wealth of history in the community that we are so proud to carry on. We strongly encourage the integration of the culture and Cree language in our school and do our best to teach the children about living the ‘Cree way’. We also value the importance of education and it is our responsibility, along with the parents, to foster a love for learning. We have taken great pride in setting a very high standard of education that complies with the outcomes as outlined in the Alberta Curriculum.”
Grade 1 teacher Tania Lawrence sends invitation to ‘build bridges’ between Hobbema and Wetaskiwin.
“Ermineskin Elementary School was very happy to be part of the Building Bridges workshop held in Wetaskiwin, (presentations and discussions about residential housing of aboriginal people) and even happier to see so many Wetaskiwin residents in attendance. I am blessed to be able to work in Hobbema, at E.E.S. Our school recently underwent an evaluation process, where the evaluators were from all over Alberta. Dr. Carmen Mombourquette, who is a professor from the University of Lethbridge who teaches teachers in the Masters (degree) program, was one of the evaluators. He has said that you would not find a better elementary school in Alberta, in any school system. In an effort to help build bridges between the communities, we would like to let the people of Wetaskiwin know about some of the amazing things that happen here, and to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to visit.
We have several special things happening at our school in the near future. Two classes from Wetaskiwin are coming out to join us at our school Pow Wow on June 20th. We also have a talent show on June 17th which will feature both mainstream and aboriginal talent.
We would really like to shine a light on some of the positive things that happen in Hobbema. Our school is also fortunate enough to be a ‘Leader in Me School’. There are very few schools in Canada who are able to participate in this program, and we are the only First Nations school.”
Ms. Stockdale stresses the importance of parent involvement. “There are several things parents can do to assist us in making sure students have a successful year. Education is not the sole responsibility of the teacher. In fact, parents are considered to be the child’s first teacher. They are also most influential and can make a significant impact on the success a child experiences both in school and at home.” Key points outlined by Stockdale include: routine at home; attendance is a priority; positive attitude about school; be supportive when your child is uncertain or afraid; ensure you child completes homework assignments; and offers parents the invitation to ‘come into the school and become involved’.
Ermineskin Elementary School serves approximately 640 students from kindergarten to grade 6 in a modern, high tech facility. They offer a quality music program, an extensive counselling program, a full capacity library, a hot lunch program, and a very dynamic special education program that includes resource room support. The School offers Cree as a Second Language classes augmented with students participating in numerous Cree cultural activities throughout the year.
“We are in every essence a Cree community school”, continues Stockdale. “It is our vision at Ermineskin Elementary School to provide a quality education that is fuelled by quality instruction and sound methodology. We always have a focus on ensuring Cree culture and language is regularly integrated. Our teachers are well informed with new curriculum changes, providing quality professional development and maintaining strong staff morale.”