Eugene Joseph Elementary

Whuz da til’eh ha sats’andil
“We come to Learn”

“Working together to create an environment that promotes health and education so that dreams can come to.”

Education is a continuous process that enables each Tl’azt’enne to reach her/his fullest potential. The roots of education are planted in families, cultural values and traditions.

The roots of education are planted in families, cultural values and traditions. Individual growth is dependent on a team of educators committed to the principles of motivation, encouragement, support and success.

At Eugene Joseph Elementary we are proud of our students, our parents and our community. We believe that all students, given the right support, can learn at a high level. We expect that all students will graduate and go on to some form of post-secondary education.

This poster explains our philosophy better than any words.


It is important to note that the students created the poster, including the slogan, completely on their own. The students explained that the symbolism in the poster is the teachers supporting the students.
Any student in our school will respond to the question:

“Why do you go to school?”

With the answer, “To learn.”

This may seem like an obvious answer, but it took a lot of hard work on behalf of the staff to get all the students believing that they can learn.


School Assessment and Certification

Eugene Joseph Elementary is a certified First Nation School. In 2012/13 the school successfully completed the First Nation School Association Certification process. This means that it meets the following criteria:

  • All the core courses - literacy, numeracy, social studies and science must follow the BC curriculum and will lead to student growth
  • The school must have a viable culture and language program
  • The school must have an assessment process in place that allows for reporting student progress
  • There must be a teacher assessment process
  • The school must create a school growth plan with SMART goals that will improve student learning

The school created three SMART goals that we were going to work on:

1. Improving behavior to increase student time on learning activities

  • This involved creating a behavior policy
  • Having a greater connection between parents/guardians and school

2. Improving literacy

  • Improve the literacy instruction
  • Improve the literacy resources — eventually to create a community library

3. Create a better IEP process

  • Every student will have at least two SMART Goals—one for literacy and one for numeracy
  • The students requiring more intense intervention will have a full IEP


School wide balanced literacy

Every student is broken into literacy groups based on their reading levels. They receive small group instruction for 1.5 hours a day.

In order that we can monitor the progress of students we do two standardized assessments, DIBELS and PM Benchmarking. These two assessments also allow us to analyze student needs and target instruction where it will have the greatest effect on improving student learning.


In each class the students are broken into ability groups to receive instruction at their learning level.

Culture and Language

This is the pride of our school. Every student receives at least 30 minutes of Language and Culture each day. We encourage staff and students to speak Dakelh as much as possible. The belief at the school is that this is who we are and that the land, culture and language must work together. Without a knowledge and connection to all three it is difficult to understand who we are and where we come from.

In addition to the daily instruction the school does two important invents: in February we have the Winter Cultural Celebration and in May we have an All-Clans Potlatch.

We are attempting to get everyone to answer the phone in Carrier.

Clubs and Extra-curricular activities

All staff are required to do at least to extra-curricular activities a year. In the school we have the following clubs:

Arts and Crafts (Monday: 3:00 - 4:00) Students create theme activities associated with yearly or school themes (eg. Christmas, Anti-Bullying Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc.

Boys’ Group (Wednesday: 3:00 - 4:00) The boys do activities and work with the male teachers on sports and other activities that interest the boys.

Girls’ Circle (Wednesday: 3:00 - 4:00) Girls will connect with the female staff members with activities that interest the girls.

Primary Movie (Thursday: 3:00 - 4:00) Primary students that have earned the time will get to watch a movie with popcorn.

Guitar Club (Thursday 3:00 - 4:00) The students learn to play guitar. One student was prepared enough to perform at the Christmas Concert.

Field Trips
The school encourages field trips that are connected to the school curriculum. The staff and students are working on finding ways to fund raise for the end of the year field trip. The trip will depend on the amount of money they raise. The philosophy of field trips is to enhance the student program and not just because we want to go somewhere. They are to give students opportunities that enhance their learning experience.


Principal Len Merriman

Len has 35 years experience in schools with a high percentage of First Nation Students of which 14 years as a school administrator in First Nation Schools. He has been an advocate of First Nation Education since his career began. He believes that all students will succeed given the right supports.
If anyone wishes to meet or discuss school issues they are welcome to contact him at the school
Phone: 1-250-648-3231 • E-mail:


K/1-Karen Milanese
She has been an educator for 25 years. She is a First Nation teacher whose parents come from Francois Lake and Fort Babine. She has been a teacher, district vice-principal and school administrator. Her passion is the students she works with. She believes that all students can learn given the right environment. She is a strong advocate for the rights of First Nation learners.
She believes that all the adults working with our students have to be passionate and caring. They must be committed to our students, parents and community.

1/2 - Ellen Pridham
Brown-Ellen has been teaching for two years. She comes all the way to our school from Prince Edward Island. She is a caring-passionate educator and consistently sets high expectations for her students and herself.

3/4/5 - Kara Troke
This is her first year teaching in Canada. She was in Australia teaching prior to coming home to BC. She swam for the Canadian water polo team and brings the same work ethic to the school.

6/7 - Alex McQueen
Alex has over 10 years teaching experience. He has been an administrator in a First Nation School. He believes in setting high expectations for students. His passion for adding to the experiences of students has greatly added to school culture.

Special Needs - David Samborsky
David has 5 years teaching experience. He has a specialty in hearing deficiencies. He is a willing member of our team and will do whatever it takes to improve the learning environment for our students.

Culture and Language - Pauline Joseph 
Pauline has been working in the school for over 10 years. She holds the First Nation Language certificate. She is passionate about her belief that students need to be connected to their language and culture if they are to move academically in all areas of their education.
She will use a variety of techniques to increase student learning. Pauline also is committed to her belief that the learning goes beyond the classroom and that students should be involved in the special activities like-Winter Cultural Celebration and The All Clans Potlatch.

Support Staff

K/1 Personal /attendant - Delores Austin
Delores is a community member. She spent two years at university to become a teacher. She is a loving caring member of our school team. She believes in all our students.

Primary EA - Leonie Anatole
Leonie has worked in the school for over 15 years. She is flexible and will work with any students that she is assigned.

K/1 Personal Attendant - Chris Mattess
Chris has worked in the school for 2.5 years. works 1-1 with an autistic student. He is a willing member of staff and will volunteer wherever he is needed. His quiet demeanor and cultural knowledge is greatly appreciated by all.

3/4/5 Personal Attendant - Jasmine Getson
Jasmine has worked at EJES for just over a year. She has brought passion and high expectations for the students.

Intermediate Assistant - Chelsea Tom
Chelsea has worked for EJES for over 2 years. She has brought her artistic flair to the school. She works with a group once a week on Arts and Crafts.

6/7 Learning Assistant - Crystal Mattess
Crystal has worked for EJES for over 5 years. She took a year off two years ago to complete her Level 1 CASS (Teacher Assistant Level 1). She believes that all the students can learn to high levels.

Administrative-Assistant - Charnel Quinn
Charnel has worked for EJES for over 2 years. Her friendly demeanor and assist wherever she is needed is greatly appreciated by everyone that comes into or phones the school.

Cook - Dawn Tom
Dawn has worked with EJES for over 3 years. There are many laughs heard out of the kitchen. The elders have said-“The taste of the food is reflected by the mood of the cooks.

Maintenance - Kevin Monk
Kevin has worked for EJES for over a year as the maintenance person. The staff appreciate is wealth of skills and willingness to tackle any task immediately.

Bus Driver - Geraldine Joseph
Geraldine has worked as the spare driver for over 3 years. This year she has become the fulltime driver. She is the first and last staff member the students usually see each day. She sets up their day and ends the day. The students seem to be arriving at school each day ready to learn.