Division News

Division News

NSD Trustee wins a PSBAA award

Posted on June 3

Northland School Division is celebrating a special achievement! Dr. Rubi Shirley, Ward 9 Trustee (Fort Chipewyan), won a Public School Boards Association of Alberta (PSBAA) award for promoting and advancing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada within Alberta. 

Dr. Shirley, who earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Seattle, completed a thesis exploring the phenomenon of low high school graduation rates of First Nation students in Canada and the perceptions of First Nation Chiefs. 

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate Dr. Rubi Shirley on earning this prestigious award,” said Robin Guild, Board Chair. “The effort Dr. Shirley put into this thesis is evident and will spark meaningful conversations on how to improve the high school completion rates for First Nations students.”

“Your thesis is a perfect example for promoting and advancing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” said Dr. Nancy Spencer-Poitras. “On behalf of Administration, we congratulate you on earning this award. Your passion for our students and improving their success in school is inspiring.”

While completing her thesis, Dr. Rubi Shirley interviewed 10 First Nation Chiefs in two provinces. She completed one on one semi-structured interviews to gather her data. The data showed there were three themes which led to four recommendations. One of the themes expressed the value of education. 

This thesis revealed that First Nation people have always valued education but from the First Nation worldview. The study was significant because, for the first time, it records the voices of chiefs discussing low high school graduation rates for First Nation students. Recommendations were made that direct the Chiefs to be involved in the educational process and provide guidance for current education systems in Canada, all of which could increase high school graduation rate.

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Jane Stroud said on June 3, 2021

Congratulations Dr. Rubi Shirley.