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EdCan Wire News, Member News

EdCan Wire – Issue 1

Connecting the dots across 13 education systems

Nova Scotia will eliminate its seven school boards

A few weeks ago, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Education, Zach Churchill, announced that the Ministry will be dissolving its seven school boards – with the exception of its Francophone board – in favour of a single provincial advisory council. The decision was made following recommendations from consultant Avis Glaze, who conducted a system administrative review over a three-month timeline. Superintendents would remain in their positions, as well as existing administrative structures, although school board leaders would report directly to Nova Scotia’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. In her report, Glaze characterizes the roles of the province’s school boards as confused and unclear. Reaction to the report was mixed. Nova Scotia education pundit Grant Frost reacted scathingly to this report, finding it ridden with errors and disagreeing with the statement that Nova Scotia does not fare well on Canadian and international rankings, and suggesting that the stipulations within the report are fuelled by right-leaning stipulations for the purpose of dismantling public faith in public education. Commentator Paul Bennett suggests that decentralization – autonomous and self-governing school councils – would be a wiser course of action. Minister Churchill has already embarked on a first course of action by sending a letter to school boards outlining that they must request permission from the Ministry before they can make changes in a number of areas, including programming and operations. Liette Doucet, President of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, has criticized the decision as an attack on teachers’ collective rights, while narrowing in on the removal of principals from the teachers union and the creation of a teacher’s college. Twitter hashtag #NSTUnited has emerged, with Nova Scotian educators demonstrating dismay against the measures taken following the release of Glaze’s report. Hashtag #glazedover has also appeared.

Les sept conseils scolaires de la Nouvelle-Écosse seront éliminés

À la suite d’une évaluation de l’administration des écoles publiques de la Nouvelle-Écosse, le Ministère de l’Éducation a annoncé sa décision d’éliminer ses sept conseils scolaires régionaux existants par un seul modèle administratif par lequel les surintendants seraient responsables devant le Ministère de l’Éducation directement. La décision ne s’applique pas au Conseil scolaire acadien, le seul conseil scolaire francophone de la province. Cette évaluation a été menée, sur une période de trois mois, par la consultante indépendante Avis Glaze, Ph. D. Son rapport présente plusieurs recommandations ayant pour objectif d’améliorer la façon dont les écoles publiques de la Nouvelle-Écosse sont administrées.

 

Indigenous graduation rates are at an all-time high in B.C.

B.C.’s Ministry of Education is reporting a 2.1% increase from last year in the Indigenous graduation rate, marking an all-time high of 84%. In an interview conducted for CBC News, Susan Leslie, the Sea to Sky school district’s Aboriginal District Principal, says that, “Focusing on the land, the place, the territory and the Indigenous people – you can only be involved in this work if you have direct relationships with the communities.” While difficult to pinpoint the exact policy or initiative that led to this significant increase, B.C. has a number of conditions in place to support Indigenous students, including Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements (EAs) and targeted funding.

Un conseil scolaire de langue française en Ontario reconnaît des territoires autochtones

Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien a tenu une cérémonie afin de reconnaître les territoires autochtones sur lesquels leurs écoles sont situées. Au cours de l’année scolaire, 34 plaques seront ainsi placées aux murs de plusieurs écoles. Cette initiative a pour but de valoriser l’identité et l’intégration des élèves autochtones, et ce, tout en renforçant des relations affectives avec les collectivités des Premières nations de la région. Ce projet s’intègre à la Stratégie d’éducation autochtone du Ministère de l’Éducation de l’Ontario qui vise à combler le fossé entre les résultats scolaires des élèves autochtones et non autochtones.

New support guidelines for refugee students have been put forward

Dr. Jan Stewart, a University of Winnipeg professor, has published Bridging Two Worlds: Supporting Newcomer and Refugee Youth, a guidebook for K-12 educators who may struggle with understanding the experiences of refugee children and how to set the conditions for their success. This guidebook addresses issues such as trauma, as well as refugee students who have been out of the school system for long periods at a time. This guidebook comes at a moment when the federal government targets to receive 310,000 new immigrants in 2018, 43,000 of which would be refugees.

L’utilisation des téléphones portables à l’école remis en question

Selon La Presse, Vincent Duguay, un élève de 15 ans en quatrième secondaire à l’école Charles-Gravel à Saguenay, a envoyé une mise en demeure destinée à sa commission scolaire exprimant son désaccord avec la pratique de confisquer les cellulaires des élèves. Le jeune homme n’est pas contre l’interdiction de l’usage des cellulaires en classe, mais plutôt quant à la pratique de les confisquer pour une durée de 24 heures, ce qu’il trouve extrême. En France, selon Le Monde, le ministre de l’Éducation nationale Jean-Michel Blanquer a réaffirmé l’interdiction des téléphones portables non seulement en classe, mais bien également pendant les pauses et dans les cours de récréation, ayant pour objectif d’encourager les rapports interpersonnels.

A new survey says that 70% of Ontario teachers have seen or experienced classroom violence

The English Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has released survey results indicating that 70% of union respondents have seen or experienced classroom violence. The survey also indicates that 50% of the time, follow-up on the matter by school administrators has not followed suit. Global News has reported on the experience of a teacher who suffered mild brain injuries after being attacked by a 10-year-old student with special needs. In May 2017, Ontario’s former Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter, announced plans to address classroom violence and safety following a reported case of violence in a Durham Region classroom.

Another newly-released survey suggests a shortage of guidance counsellors in Ontario’s schools

People for Education has released a report entitled Guidance counsellors: expanding roles, limited access, indicating an average ratio of 826 students to 1 guidance counsellor in 10% of Ontario high schools. In 26% of high schools, principals indicated that guidance counsellors’ most time-consuming task was providing individual counselling to students with mental health needs.

the agenda in Atlantic Canada

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has signed onto the national “Roots of Hope” suicide prevention project in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, which focuses on providing specialized supports, research, training, and education campaigns. The Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education has also announced plans to develop a mental health framework for high school and post-secondary students, aimed at allowing Atlantic provinces to share information among each other while creating province-specific initiatives. PEI has also committed $2M to reduce a waitlist for student psychological assessments, which currently has a backlog of 435 students on a waitlist of 3.5 years.

Here’s Paul McGuire’s take:

“The stigma surrounding mental illness is a big problem especially for principals and superintendents who actually witness many people suffering from mental health issues – teachers, students, parents.”

De nouvelles recommandations ont été proposées afin d’appuyer les élèves transgenres et non binaires au Québec

Un nouveau guide destiné aux établissements d’enseignement, intitulé Mesures d’ouverture et de soutien envers les jeunes trans et les jeunes non binaires, a été publié par un comité de parties prenantes composé de plusieurs organismes communautaires, d’enseignement, de parents et des intervenants du ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. Selon Le Journal de Québec, les modifications apportées à la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne constituent désormais une responsabilité à l’égard des établissements scolaires de faire en sorte que les élèves transgenres et non binaires soient bien appuyés. Le guide propose plusieurs recommandations, dont se référer à l’élève par le prénom de son choix et lui permettre de fréquenter la toilette de son choix.

De nouvelles recommandations ont été proposées afin d’appuyer les élèves transgenres et non binaires au Québec

Un nouveau guide destiné aux établissements d’enseignement, intitulé Mesures d’ouverture et de soutien envers les jeunes trans et les jeunes non binaires, a été publié par un comité de parties prenantes composé de plusieurs organismes communautaires, d’enseignement, de parents et des intervenants du ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. Selon Le Journal de Québec, les modifications apportées à la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne constituent désormais une responsabilité à l’égard des établissements scolaires de faire en sorte que les élèves transgenres et non binaires soient bien appuyés. Le guide propose plusieurs recommandations, dont se référer à l’élève par le prénom de son choix et lui permettre de fréquenter la toilette de son choix.

New recommendations have been put forward to support transgender and gender non-conforming students in Quebec

In light of amendments to Quebec’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Civil Code in June 2017 following the tabling of Bill 103, a list of recommendations have been released to support transgender and gender non-conforming students. Key recommendations include having schools refer to students by the pronoun of the students’ choice, and allowing them to use the washroom of their choice. Numerous ministries of education have released guidelines in the recent past, including Nova Scotia (2014), Alberta (2016), and Manitoba (2017).

Community health organizations are calling for Canadian school systems to teach children about consent

Some sexual health educators and community sexual health centres are calling for the need to mandate lessons on consent in provincial curricula. Ontario’s revised health and physical education curriculum, released in 2015, embeds the concept of consent.

Ontario has launched a new strategy to engage Black youth

Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services has announced its support for three organizations to lead public awareness campaigns to promote Black cultural identities. This includes community outreach initiatives, online videos, and live local events, and is part of Ontario’s $47M Ontario Black Youth Action Plan.

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