Public School Board Making Strides With Indigenous Students  

More students at the public school board are identifying as Indigenous.

Tina DeCastro is a teaching consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board. She says there are now 478 students at the board identifying as First Nations, Metis and Inuit. A little over five years ago there was fewer than 100.

DeCastro feels outreach work the board has done is helping to build stronger relationships with Indigenous families.

"It's been over the last five years that we've had an incremental increase and I truly believe that it's because families are recognizing that we are providing programs based on that self-identification," says DeCastro. "Even though we have grown, our numbers have grown and our families feel more comfortable, I think it's important to note that is not representative of all of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit families within our school board — there are many more." 

DeCastro feels more students are feeling comfortable because there are more Indigenous staff being brought on board -- including two dedicated support workers.

She says there are credited Indigenous courses being reintroduced at the board and further accommodations to allow for practices like smudging when requested.