DEC to study sustainability of Sackville schools
Public encouraged to participate in upcoming meetings
In September of 2015, Sackville Schools 2020 initiated a discussion with the Anglophone East School District Education Council ( DEC) on our goal to create a movement to deliver a 21st Century learning environment to Sackville’s students.
We also requested the wider community be a part of the review and planning process for the Sackville area schools, recognizing that education is the central social and economic life of our community. We were delighted with the recent news that the DEC will be looking for further involvement and engagement from our community.
Over the last three years, members of Sackville Schools 2020 have spent hundreds of hours meeting with people throughout our community, our schools, our federal, provincial and local governments, and with educational consultants, educational researchers, business leaders, developers, and architects, here and across the continent. These connections and partnerships have energized and informed our view that now is the time to bring 21st century learning to our community, and to create a community-based education model, which spans pre-school to post-secondary levels.
Our model is firmly rooted in the Sackville experience but also aligns well with that of the province’s 10- year education plan, titled, Everyone at Their Best. We have received broad support from those who see the power of deep learning and community engagement across the educational spectrum in this community. In fact, several other communities outside of New Brunswick have consulted with us and are now adapting our model to their own communities.
What is it all about? The Sackville Schools model sees our facilities as places that:
– Are adjusted for curriculum factors to include 21st Century teaching and learning spaces that include the community in that education.
– Are shared with the community throughout the day and evening and year-round, includ- ing libraries, meeting space, performance and athletic facilities.
– Make connections to the trades and advanced learning and set students up to succeed in a number of chosen career paths.
– Address community issues and problems.
– Create opportunities for learning life skills and spaces for community outreach, such as kitchens and maker-spaces.
We have presented to the Sackville mayor and council on several occasions. Indeed, the town’s strategic plan seeks to support the vision of a community- supported education model. One very positive aspect of our work over the last year has been our ability to interact directly and work collaboratively with the principals of all three schools in Sackville, as well as Dorchester and Port Elgin.
This group, our Tantramar Family of Schools, has worked to change the educational experience in our schools now, ahead of any infrastructure changes that may be made in the years ahead. Our schools are moving toward deep learning and problem-based and experiential opportunities, as well as out- door education and individualized learning – all part of 21st Century learning. This is the key to a true community education model that we intend to share at the DEC sustainability study meetings this fall.
We encourage everyone who has an interest in education to participate in this process so we can have “everyone at their best” in Sackville by 2020. We believe the type of study undertaken now by the DEC and the town should go beyond the standard sustainability approach of enumerating class spaces and population projections within the antiquated school space specifications of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
These are frequently based on the cheapest, one- size- fitsall model, and they do not serve our unique population and setting well at all. We are confident that those who hear what we have learned and envisioned will think so too. This is a vision of education that represents exciting growth opportunities for our town and its young people.
The DEC has scheduled three public meetings as part of the formal consultation process associated with Provincial policy #409. School superintendent Gregg Ingersoll has provided the following information about these meetings:
• Oct. 16, 2018 - Presentation by Office of the Superintendent – Tantramar Regional High School, 7 p.m. At this meeting there will be an explanation of the process and a presentation of facts in line with, but not limited to, the categories in this article. The staff of Anglophone East School District will gather and organize information for this presentation. There will be an opportunity to ask questions
related to the presentation.
• Nov. 12, 2018 - Presentation by Public – Tantramar Regional High School, 7 p.m. The meeting will allow for interested individuals, stakeholders, and parties to present information to be considered in the decision-making process. A registration process to present at this meeting will be shared at the first meeting. Sackville Schools 2020 intends to make a presentation.
• Nov. 20, 2018 – District Education Council Public Meeting – Lou Macnarin School (555 Gauvin Rd) in Dieppe, 7 p.m. At this time, the District Education Council will discuss the study and vote on a final recommendation.