Sequoia Outreach School
In April 2003 consultation meetings began with Siksika and Gleichen regarding setting up an outreach school in the Gleichen community. Challenges were discussed and options were outlined to meet the concerns. When both communities committed to offer their support plans were made to open a school.
Gleichen Siksika Outreach School , Grades 7 through 12, opened in the United Church on August 28, 2003. The mandate of the school would be to offer high school completion and upgrading to students in Siksika, Gleichen and surrounding area, who for whatever reason, were unable to complete their schooling in the mainstream. The partnership between Siksika Education, under the direction of Superintendent Amelia Clark and Golden Hills School Division #75, under the direction of Associate Superintendent Edwin Holt outlined the joint responsibilities to the school community. In 2005 the school applied to have their name changed to ‘Sequoia Outreach School”.
The school originally opened with 35 students, but the population quickly grew to nearly 100 full and part –time students and we outgrew our church location. In January of 2008 we moved into the Gleichen Drop-In-Center. This new improved space allowed the school to enhance their program delivery and graduation numbers increased accordingly.
In 2008 Sequoia Outreach staff began working in earnest with Siksika Education to open an Outreach School on the Nation. The plan in setting up our school had always been to act as a transition agent for the Nation to open their own outreach schools. In September 2008 Siksika opened their first outreach school, initially designated for Junior High students only. Sequoia now delivers program only to high school students. The opening of the Siksika StoreFront allowed for more high school students to attend Sequoia.
Sequoia Outreach has received awards and recognition for their unique and highly successful program:
2004: Mayor’s Award For Excellence in Education for their unique partnership with Siksika, (the only one of its kind in Canada.)
2007: Premiers Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education
2008: Mayor’s Award for Excellence: Family Violence Prevention Program with White Buffalo
2011: Literacy Award In Excellence in Education
Contributed by: Denise Peterson