Wrapping up the school year!

As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day in Canada, we are delighted to share highlights from Connected North as we wrap up the school year. Our Connected North team at TakingITGlobal has helped to curate and deliver over 386 interactive video sessions offered to the 20 partner schools that are now in our network from Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Saskatchewan and Ontario! Sessions range across curriculum areas including math, art, science, social studies, health promotion, language and culture and have introduced teachers and students to inspiring guest speakers and virtual field trips that expand learning opportunities beyond the classroom walls.

None of this would be possible without generous contributions from our supporters – our content providers, funders, and community partners who continue to support our work delivering immersive and interactive youth engagement and education to Indigenous students across the country. We can’t thank you enough! Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to…

Introducing new partner schools in the Yukon, Ontario and Saskatchewan!

Connected North is growing quickly! In December 2016, Ghùch Tlâ Community School in Carcross Tagish First Nation became our first Yukon school to join Connected North, and students there have already participated in 33 sessions this year! Thanks to the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation for your wonderful support of our work in the Yukon.

We have also added seven new schools in Ontario and Saskatchewan since January. We are thrilled to have Bernard Constant Community School in James Smith Cree Nation and Father Megret Elementary School in Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation join our list of Saskatchewan schools. And in Ontario, McCrosson-Tovell School in Morson, Ahgwahbuush Memorial School in Poplar Hill First Nation, Victoria Linklater Memorial School in North Spirit Lake First Nation, Fort Frances High School in Fort Frances, the First Nations School of Toronto, and Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout are now connected!

A big warm welcome to our new Connected North Schools. The program is now operating in 20 schools across the country (WOW!), and is on track to reach 30 schools by December.

Toronto District School Board and Fort Frances High School Launch Event

A special celebration was held at the First Nations School of Toronto (FNST) on May 12th to launch Connected North and to kick off our exciting new partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

During the launch, grade 7 and 8 students from the FNST participated in a moderated session with students joining virtually from Fort Frances High School! Thank you to Elder Duke Redbird (Indigenous educator, activist and artist), Dr. John Malloy (TDSB Director of Education), Adam Vaughan (Liberal MP for Spadina/Fort York and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development), and Julie Dabrusin (Liberal MP for Toronto-Danforth) for participating in our celebration and showing your continued support for the Connected North program.

You can catch coverage from the launch event launch event on APTN.

Looking Ahead to the Next Edition:

Over the summer of 2017, our Connected North team will be working to prepare for the addition of 10 new partner schools that will be joining this fall! We are expanding our ecosystem of content partners involved in delivering sessions across all subject areas and will also be strengthening our systems and processes as we begin to scale up our efforts.

We look forward to reconnecting with you after the summer as our programming begins for a new school year!

Cooking with the Wolfman!

Connected North students have been cooking up a storm! Thanks to a partnership with George Brown College in Toronto, the Culinary Arts Professor, popular TV Host, and celebrated Chef David Wolfman has been teaching students at the Delores D. Echum Composite School (DDECS) in Moose Factory how to cook simple dishes – from scrambled eggs to pancakes to traditional meats!

A member of the Xaxli’p First Nation in BC, Chef Wolfman is an internationally recognized expert in wild game and traditional Aboriginal cuisine. During his interactive virtual sessions, students follow along in real time, making the same dishes using materials provided by TakingITGlobal, practicing new cooking techniques, and learning about the food industry. Yum!

Students share their wishes for Canada’s next 150 years

On April 11th, two members of TakingITGlobal visited Bernard Constant Community School in James Smith Cree First Nation, Saskatchewan to host a classroom collaboration session as part of TakingITGlobal’s #Wish150– a national initiative asking students to share their hopes and dreams for Canada’s next 150 years.

BCCS’s grade ten art class created a mural inspired by their Wish 150 ideas, and this led to a virtual “wish exchange” with grade seven, eight, and nine students at Ghùch Tlâ Community School in Carcross, Yukon. Students from each school shared wishes for the future that were rooted in Indigenous knowledge, culture, and respect for the land, and agreed that we need to learn from the wisdom of our ancestors before we can understand how best to move forward.

Classrooms Connect on Climate Change

Through an exciting collaboration between Connected North and the GreenLearning Canada Foundation and its ClimateAction150 project, students from two communities participated in a Climate Change collaboration project.

Funding through the partnership allowed students from Deer Lake school in Northern Ontario and St. John XXIII Elementary School in Nepean, Ontario to engage through virtual field trips and guest speaker sessions. The collaboration focused on how climate change is impacting communities, what people around the world are doing to address it, and Indigenous perspectives on relationship to the land.

The final collaborative session involved an art showcase where students presented murals that they painted in reflection of the knowledge that they had gained. Funding also supported broadening our network of content providers to enhance climate change education across Connected North Schools. Thanks to Environment and Climate Change Canada for their support of this programming!

The Next 150

On June 14, 2017 we held our first Friendraiser in Toronto, bringing together many partners, champions, and supporters of the program from across Canada. Our program founder, Cisco, launched The Next 150 challenge, challenging their employees, partners, and the public to raise $300,000 to support the next phase of program growth. We welcome you to make a contribution in support of the program through CanadaHelps! Canadian donors will receive an income tax receipt.

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