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FNSPC expert panel
MAEI worked with a team from OISE and 15 members of a First Nations Expert Panel, including leading Indigenous academics.

OISE professional development programs help education professionals focus on what’s important, not just what’s urgent. This course has been designed for the specific opportunities and challenges of principals working in First Nation Band-operated schools. It is rooted in community and weaves together Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing as foundational to school improvement efforts, not as an afterthought.

The First Nations Schools Principals’ Course is unique in that it has been developed using an Indigenous framework. With the help of Indigenous educational leaders from across Canada, we have designed this course to be rooted in the 5 R’s of indigenous education ¬ relationship, respect, responsibility, relevance and reciprocity.

The curriculum includes teaching strategies, assignments, readings, resources, discussions and case studies. Course participants learn how to ensure that teaching and learning at a high standard must be the priority of every school. The ten-month, 200 hour course consists of ten modules plus a 30-hour practicum.

The course is being offered by OISE as a pilot to 21 principals of on-reserve schools across Canada from September 2015 to June 2016. Based on their feedback, the course will be revised. It is expected to be offered by Faculties of Education across Canada beginning in the fall of 2016.

Our children are our future. We have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that future. The need for radical change, a complete overhaul of the education system for our people is the basis of the required change. To do this, we must look within ourselves, our communities, our nations for ‘the answers are within us.' (Verna J. Kirkness, 1999, Aboriginal Education in Canada: A Retrospective and a Prospective)


FNSPC participants
The 21 participants in piloting the FNSPC are leaders in First Nations schools that stretch from coast to coast.


Educational Leadership

  • Working with parents, community leaders, Elders, community members, educators and others to meet the needs of students;
  • Effective school leadership in a First Nations Context, and
  • Leading change in on-reserve schools.

Improving School Practices

  • Working with teachers to establish and implement high expectations for student learning and wellbeing;
  • Collecting and using a range of data about students learning to improve classroom instruction;
  • Identifying intellectually stimulating and culturally relevant curriculum and working with teachers to implement it, and
  • Providing feedback to teachers in aways that support improved instruction.
“While the leadership practices of principals are central for all schools, they have special 
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