Students at Father Porte School share with kids in Vancouver at the Connected North launch in April 2016.

Connected North Expanded -Now in Hatchet Lake

September 14, 2017 in Giving Back
Explorer: Fall 2017

The Connected North program officially launched in Saskatchewan on April 21, 2016 at Father Porte Memorial Dene School in Black Lake. Connected North is an immersive, digital education and mental health and wellness network that provides customized services and real time experiences to schools and students in remote Indigenous communities. Using Telepresence technology, Connected North leverages real-time, high definition two-way video to make powerful connections for students. As a result of the incredible success the program has demonstrated, a unit was installed in
Father Megret Elementary in Hatchet Lake in March of 2017. Seven sessions were delivered successfully to the school before the end of the school year, which included learning about Marine Mammals from the Alaska Sea Life Centre, a leadership tour of Toronto, a mentorship session with Parr, a role model from Cape Dorset (NU), and an art session with the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

“This program has been so incredibly beneficial to our students,” says Steven Thatcher, Principal at Father Porte Memorial Dene School. “It really allows our teachers to provide the students with experiences from other locations that we normally wouldn’t have access to. We honestly can’t imagine not having access to this program in the future, and we look forward to continuing to use it to enrich education for the students in our community.”

“We are pleased to be part of the Connected North Program,” says Lisom Tam-Eveleigh, Principal at Father Megret Elementary School at Wollaston Lake. “It gives me great pleasure to see the students enjoying their time on the Connected North program. The students ask for more sessions on the program. The teachers are excited to have this as part of an educational experience for the students. It has added an enrichment to our education that the students would never experience otherwise.”

In addition, Connected North has recently opened an office in Saskatoon and hired a Connected North Indigenous Education Coordinator, Dallas Pelly, a recent graduate of the ITEP program, to help lead programming for Saskatchewan schools. “Saskatchewan has been a wonderful province for Connected North,” says Willa Black, VP Corporate Affairs for Cisco and Connected North champion. “We are so pleased that the success of our pilot program in Black Lake has led to the expansion in other Saskatchewan schools, and we look forward to continue building on this exciting program that connects students in remote communities and provides a fresh approach to student engagement and other opportunities.”

Connected North originally began with one school Inqaluit in 2013 and has since grown to include 20 partner schools from Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Ontario and Saskatchewan, with two of these schools in the Athabasca region.

“Athabasca Basin Development is a proud supporter of Connected North,” says Geoff Gay, CEO of Athabasca Basin Development. “This program is a perfect fit for us because it directly impacts students in our shareholder communities in a tremendously positive way. We would also like to thank the many partners that came together to make this happen for the Athabasca communities: Cisco Canada, TakingItGlobal, SaskTel, PAGC Grand Council, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, Father Porte Memorial Dene School, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, Father Megret Elementary School, Cameco, AREVA Resources, West Wind Aviation, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.”

For more information on Connected North, please visit