On February 19, 2014, the Honourable Karen Casey, our Minister of Education appointed six panel members to conduct an Education Review. A provincial consultation process from April to June received over 19,000 responses from Nova Scotians. The final report of this consultation was released in October 2014. During the month of November, there have been a number of opportunities for school boards and board staff to meet both provincially and locally to review the panel’s report and consider the implications for education and provide response. We anticipate the release of the Minister’s Action Plan in January 2015.
In the fall of 2012, our Board began a planning process to consider a long term view of our facilities as well as perspectives in grade level configuration. After extensive consultation, a number of scenarios from the public, school advisory councils and administrators were compiled by December 2013. From these scenarios, suggested solutions for each family of schools were provided to study groups from Victoria North, Victoria South, Northside, Riverview, Sydney, New Waterford and Glace Bay in April 2014. These groups have been working diligently to respond to these proposals and are now in the process of holding community meetings to gain input from parents, guardians, educational partners and interested citizens to complete their reports to the Board. When these final reports are received, staff will generate recommendations for board consideration. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our communities for the endless hours they have contributed to this process and their dedication to the shaping of our future delivery of education in our Board.
On November 17, Mr. Paul Ash, Assistant Director, African Canadian Services, attended our Education Committee meeting to discuss the Self Identification process that will be conducted in our schools during the week of December 1. Self-identification is reflected in our Board’s goals for 2014-15 as it is essential to know who our students are and which communities we serve. Although it is a voluntary process, we are encouraging all parents and students to identify their ancestry and aboriginal identity. Self-identification will assist us in determining the allocation of resources and personnel to support the achievement of all students.
I would like to draw your attention to our school websites and also our school board website that highlight the achievements of many students across our system. In particular, during the month of November, Joella MacIsaac and Adam MacLean, grade 6 students at Greenfield Elementary, travelled to Ottawa for a three day summit on child poverty. They were accompanied by Ms. Diane Lewis, teacher from Greenfield Elementary. Diane reports that both Joella and Adam made a big impression at the summit and at 11 years old were among the youngest students attending. As a result of their attendance, they have received funding to self-publish a book written and illustrated by children.
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