September 02, 2020

New PreK-8 St. Frances Cree Bilingual School Announced

A brand-new facility for St. Frances Cree Bilingual School is planned for the near future after the Government of Saskatchewan announced a confirmed location in Saskatoon today.  Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant was joined by representatives from Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division, Saskatoon Tribal Council and parents of St. Frances students to announce $34.5 million in funding for a brand new elementary school for the community.

“The new facility will provide space for approximately 700 students, to support the growth and development of the families and students in Saskatoon’s St. Frances community for years to come,” Wyant said.  “The new St. Frances Cree Bilingual school will continue to ensure an equitable and inclusive system that benefits all learners.”

Currently, St. Frances Cree Bilingual School is being offered at two separate locations as a temporary solution to their significant enrolment growth since its establishment in 2007.

The new facility will be located at 2010-7th Street East in Saskatoon, the site of the former Sion Middle School.  It is expected to provide space for 700 Prekindergarten to Grade 8 students, which will reduce enrolment pressures on the growing St. Frances Cree Bilingual School.  It will also provide 70 new child care spaces for young Saskatoon families.

“There are a lot of smiling faces knowing a new St. Frances Cree Bilingual School is that much closer to becoming a reality,” Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko said.  “It has been a long journey for students, families, staff, and for our board to get a school facility that is representative of the learning that happens inside and out.  Longer still is the journey of reconciliation with the Indigenous community, and this is a very tangible indication of our commitment along that journey.”

While planning and design for the new facility is still underway, the Ministry of Education is working with the school division, Saskatoon Tribal Council, parents and community members to ensure that a shared vision is incorporated into an inclusive design for all learners.

St. Frances Cree Bilingual School is built upon community engagement, and was developed in partnership with Saskatoon Tribal Council.

“Our Elders have taught us that to fully understand our traditional culture, we must begin by learning our inherent languages,” Saskatoon Tribal Council Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said.  “For the past 14 years, the seven member communities of Saskatoon Tribal Council have collaborated with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools to provide leadership and direction at St. Frances Cree Bilingual School.  With today’s announcement, we have reached another milestone in our work.  Although colonization has negatively impacted our ability to access our language and culture, we continue to move forward with great perseverance and resolve.  Our young people are the fastest growing population in Saskatchewan, and a new St. Frances Cree Bilingual School will offer a long-overdue solution to the space issues that have been created as a result of our success.”

Since 2007, the province has committed more than $1.9 billion toward school infrastructure projects, which includes 85 major school capital projects and numerous smaller projects such as portable classrooms and preventative maintenance and renewal.