NEWS
02/18/2016 14:07 EST | Updated 02/18/2017 00:12 EST

Alberta signs deal with group of First Nations to improve students' outcomes

EDMONTON — Alberta has signed a deal with a group of First Nations in the hope of improving attendance and high school graduation rates.

Under the agreement, the province will help the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council make its curriculum more culturally relevant by including traditional skills such as hunting and fishing.

Alberta Education will also help the council to bolster literacy, math and science skills, including protecting the environment.

The agreement will affect about 1,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students from the Loon River, Lubicon Lake, Peerless Trout, Whitefish Lake and Woodland Cree First Nations in northern Alberta.

Attendance and high school graduation rates for First Nations students in Alberta are generally below the provincial average.

Education Minister David Eggen says the agreement, the first of its kind in the province, will serve as a framework for agreements with other First Nations.

"We want to ensure First Nations students have the instructional supports they need while receiving an education that reflects their rich culture and perspectives," Eggen said Thursday in a release.

Robert Grey, grand chief of the tribal council, said the agreement will help give their children the education they need to build a successful future.