Our Board is presently reviewing the final report of the public consultation process that began in the spring of 2013. One significant outcome of these discussions and consultations was the decision of the Board in January 2015 to move toward grade level configuration beginning September 2015.
The implementation of this process began in January and will continue throughout the spring of 2015. Staff from all of our divisions - Programs and Student Services, Operations, Finance and Human Resources - are assisting our families of schools in their preparations for September. Each school has developed a communications plan for students, parents, and staff along with spring and fall transition activities for students. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Directors and their staff along with our principals and school staff for their tireless dedication to this initiative and their continuous endeavors to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
The Report of the Minister’s Panel on Education in October, Disrupting the Status Quo, encouraged a closer look at the transitions from elementary to junior high to senior high and specifically alluded to consideration of the placement of grade six in junior high and grade nine in senior high. Our Board’s plan for reconfiguration has adopted the proposal to move our grade six and grade nine classes across the Board and has moved towards the Middle School Model.
To this end, our lead teams in the transition to middle school attended two days of professional development with Dr. Dru Tomlin, Director of the Association of Middle Level Education. Dr. Tomlin also provided two parent sessions.
The key points identified by Dr. Tomlin resonated with enthusiastic audiences of staff and parents.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Susan Kelley, our Director of Programs & Student Services, for arranging this invigorating professional development opportunity for our school and parent communities. Participants certainly reported leaving with the “pep in their step” that Dr. Tomlin advocated. For more information on this topic, please go to our board website and the grade level configuration tab, as well as the AMLE website on middle level education.
On Wednesday, February 25, three of our students attended a ceremony at Government House to receive the Lieutenant Governor’s Respectful Citizenship Award.
Matthew Bond, a grade eight student at Sydney Mines Junior High, and the first openly transgender student at that school, was chosen for raising awareness of issues facing transgendered students within the school community. His strength and courage were described as being inspirational in promoting an inclusive school environment.
Adam MacLean and Joella MacIsaac, grade six students at Greenfield Elementary, are the founding members of the Cape Breton Chapter of the anti-poverty initiative “Keep the Promise.” They were recognized for their determination, compassion and leadership skills that have inspired others to work towards ending child poverty.
For the first time ever, Canada will host the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Banff, Alberta, on March 29th and 30th. Education ministers, master teachers, national union leaders and education organization leaders gather to “identify best practices worldwide that strengthen the teaching profession and raise student achievement.” An excellent teacher from our board, Ms. Michelle Finigan, has been chosen by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to represent our province at the Summit.
The theme of the Provincial Education Week, April 19-25, this year is Schools as Communities: Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. Clara Wadman, lead teacher with the O2 program from Glace Bay High, has been chosen as our Teacher Award Recipient from the Cape Breton Local.
Through her establishment of partnerships with local business and service organizations, Clara has provided her students with authentic learning experiences to connect her students to the broader community.
Mrs. Elizabeth Sehl, teacher at Dr. T.L. Sullivan Junior High school, is the Teacher Award Recipient from the Northside Local. Mrs. Sehl has been recognized for providing a consistent delivery of student development and engagement through service learning.
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of our Board and school communities to congratulate our students and teachers for these significant awards. We all celebrate your success.
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