Aboriginal Culture and Language Support Diploma

Why consider the ACLS Diploma?

The Aboriginal Culture and Language Support diploma program is focused on providing the knowledge, skills, and perspectives required for employment as an Aboriginal support worker. As an ACLS worker, your unique understanding of and sensitivity to the values, beliefs, and needs of the students' Aboriginal community, as well as the needs of the education system, will make you a valuable asset to the schools in which you work.There are approximately 5,000 Aboriginal students in Kindergarten – grade 12 in the eastern Fraser Valley region, and all of them would benefit from the involvement of an ACLS graduate. British Columbia educators recognize the contribution that Aboriginal support workers make in assisting Aboriginal students to achieve greater academic success and respect traditional cultural teachings.

Who is the ACLS Diploma program for?

This two-year program is culturally relevant and responsive to the needs of the Aboriginal community. It is designed to meet the requirements of individuals currently employed or seeking employment in K-12 Aboriginal education, both in public and First Nation-operated band schools as Aboriginal support workers.

How can this diploma fit into my ongoing education?

The ACLS diploma program can ladder into the Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC), a 90-credit teaching certificate designed by the local Halq’emeylem language authority (Sto:lo Shxwlélì) in partnership with SFU. It is approved by the BC College of Teachers (now the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministy of Education) as a certification requirement to teach this Aboriginal language in elementary schools.

Upon completion of the ACLS diploma, students are able to further their education in several ways. Those who have made the decision to ladder into the DSTC can continue their studies to complete a Bachelor of Education degree. As a second option, graduates may choose to pursue a degree in General Studies, Social Work, or Arts.

Why should I study for my ACLS diploma at UFV?

UFV is the only post-secondary institution in BC’s Lower Mainland to offer a diploma program specifically for Aboriginal support workers. Learn more about UFV.

What are the entrance requirements?

Please see the Academic Calendar for the current entrance requirements.

Who will be teaching me?

Instructors bring a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, including education and social work. First Nations courses may be taught by Social Work and Human Services faculty. Other instructors have implicit knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal world views. Halq'emeylem language courses are certified by Sto:lo Shxwlélì (the Halq'emeylem Language Authority) and are recognized by the BC College of Teachers.

How much will it cost? Can I afford it?

In addition to tuition, your costs include books, supplies, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses. On average, full-time ACLS students pay $4000 tuition each academic year. Books and supplies average $500/year. Prospective students are encouraged to make an appointment with the Indigenous Student Centre staff to discuss funding options.It’s worth a visit to the UFV financial aid and awards office, which facilitates the disbursement each year of approximately $7 million in federal and provincial student loans, B.C. grants, bursaries, scholarships, and awards to UFV students. A helpful budget planning worksheet is available.

What sort of support will I get?

Plenty. For more information about support and student services at UFV, visit Student Services and learn about the broad range of services designed to help you learn about and adjust to the university environment.

You can also enjoy the services of S’olh Shxwlèlí — Indigenous Student Centre. Aboriginal students from Stó:lõ territory, as well as from other territories, are an important part of UFV’s student population. S’olh Shxwlèlí means “our places” in Halq’emeylem. Cultural activities, which are open to all students, include luncheons, circle meetings, Elder visits and gatherings, workshops, and many other events both on- and off-campus. 

I’m not sure that this program is for me. Can I speak with someone about my options?

Absolutely! We want to hear from you. If you’re unsure of your direction, contact the Advising Centre to book an advising appointment.

To arrange a tour, attend an info session, or find other useful resources, visit the Future Students webpage.

Sounds good. What should I do now?

Apply immediately through Aboriginal Access Services. Call 604-504-7441 (Abbotsford and area), 604-792-0025 (Chilliwack), or toll-free at 1-888-504-7441.

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