Haida immersion coming to Tahayghen

  • Jun. 10, 2011 11:00 a.m.

It looks like kindergarten students at Tahayghen will get the chance to learn much more Haida next year. School trustees voted last week (May 31) to go ahead with a partial Haida immersion program at Tahayghen for 2011-12. The program will see the kindergarten class conducted in Haida for two afternoons a week, allowing students to hear and speak much more of the Haida language than they would otherwise. Superintendent Angus Wilson told trustees he received a small but positive response when he asked parents whether they were interested in a Haida immersion program. He also heard some concerns from the Skidegate Band Council education administration. There is no curriculum for a Haida kindergarten program, he said, and SHIP was concerned about how the program would be followed up in the future. Mr. Wilson said the school district is committed to helping preserve the Haida language, and that goal is too important to spend years trying to get the program perfect. “This would be, effectively, a pilot program,” he said. Trustees had some concerns about whether starting an immersion program at Tahayghen would be perceived as stepping on the toes of nearby Chief Matthews school in Old Massett, a band-run elementary school with a strong Haida language program. Masset trustee Sharon Matthews said she liked the idea, but wanted to be careful to get everything right. Chief Matthews school has offered to share its curriculum and should be contacted, she said. The school district should emphasize that it’s putting an immersion program in place because it cares about the future of the Haida language, and not for any other reason. “This has potential, I am excited about it to be at Tahayghen,” she said. Mr. Wilson told trustees that the kindergarten class at Tahayghen is a split kindergarten-grade 1 class. The immersion program would have the additional benefit of allowing the regular classroom teacher two afternoons a week of working just with the grade 1s, while the kindergarteners learn Haida. Whether the program goes ahead now depends on if the school district can hire a suitable teacher. Mr. Wilson told trustees he will start advertising, adding that the person doesn’t necessarily have to be in place right at the beginning of the school year. In response to questions from Evelyn von Almassy of the Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association, Mr. Wilson said the district will try to hire a certified teacher who is also fluent in Haida for the position. If that is not possible, the district may have to hire someone who is not a certified teacher.

Just Posted

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Haida Gwaii teacher denied paid bereavement travel leave

Arbitrator sides with B.C. Teachers Federation in dispute over funeral trip

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Rainbow Yarnbombing takes over

Haida Gwaii Knitting Group surprise the islands

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read