‘Mak­ing gains’

P.E.I.’s ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter says fo­cus placed on both aca­demic suc­cess and well-be­ing of stu­dents

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY JIM DAY

P.E.I.’s ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter says the so­cial and emo­tional well-be­ing of Is­land stu­dents is “piv­otal’’ for their suc­cess in learn­ing.

“That’s a sig­nif­i­cant fo­cus on new cur­ricu­lum – cur­ricu­lum that will re­spond to the needs of our chil­dren in our ele­men­tary and our in­ter­me­di­ate schools,’’ says Doug Cur­rie.

He says the so­cial and emo­tional well-be­ing of stu­dents was “top of mind’’ for ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ters who met in Char­lot­te­town this week.

Min­is­ters from all prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries gath­ered for the 106th meet­ing of the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of Ed­u­ca­tion, Canada (CMEC), chaired by Cur­rie, to dis­cuss ini­tia­tives, pro­grams and ap­proaches re­lated to stu­dent well-be­ing in their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tions.

They paid par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to men­tal health, safe, ac­cept­ing and healthy learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments and eq­ui­table and in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion.

Cur­rie told The Guardian af­ter the meet­ing con­cluded early Thurs­day af­ter­noon that his de­part­ment is putting a pri­or­ity on the so­cial and emo­tional well-be­ing of Is­land stu­dents.

He noted a new stu­dent well-be­ing sup­port team, con­sist­ing of school health nurses, a so­cial worker, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist and youth out­reach work­ers, will be­gin in the fall in the Westisle fam­ily of schools.

Stu­dent well-be­ing teams will be es­tab­lished in 2018-2019 in the Colonel Gray, Souris and Morell and Blue­field fam­i­lies of schools, fol­lowed in 2019-2020 in the Char­lot­te­town Ru­ral, Kinkora and Kens­ing­ton and Three Oaks fam­i­lies.

“If stu­dents are strug­gling, they are not go­ing to reach their po­ten­tial,’’ says Cur­rie.

“So to have re­sources that are ac­ces­si­ble, on the ground, as op­posed to call­ing some­one to get an ap­point­ment to see some­one a month down the road — this is timely ac­cess.’’

He feels Prince Ed­ward Is­land is on the right track but has more work to do.

“It’s about in­vest­ment in our youth,’’ he says.

“The needs of schools and chil­dren and fam­i­lies is chang­ing dra­mat­i­cally.’’

The ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ters re­leased a frame­work, which in­cludes shared per­spec­tives on tran­si­tion­ing suc­cess­fully from se­condary school to post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion.

The frame­work pro­vides a bench­mark­ing tool and an ac­tion plan tem­plate in­tended to pro­vide guid­ance based on good prac­tices iden­ti­fied through pan-Cana­dian and in­ter­na­tional scans.

Each prov­ince and ter­ri­tory will be able to use the el­e­ments of the frame­work that best suit its spe­cific ob­jec­tives and con­text.

Cur­rie says P.E.I. and other prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries have long cham­pi­oned the im­por­tance of ef­fec­tive tran­si­tion mech­a­nisms.

“Our new frame­work will be a use­ful tool for en­sur­ing that a stu­dent’s jour­ney through school, and from school to work, is a suc­cess­ful one,’’ he says.

The dis­cussed the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing stu­dents are equipped for the dig­i­tal world.

They also shared mea­sures taken to fos­ter im­proved math per­for­mance, they agreed to be­gin work on the de­vel­op­ment of a pan-Cana­dian strat­egy for as­sess­ing global com­pe­ten­cies and they dis­cussed mea­sures taken to fos­ter im­proved math per­for­mance in their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tions.

“We’re mak­ing gains and im­prove­ments and we’re try­ing to be strate­gic in re­spond­ing to the needs of the learner, not only from an aca­demic per­spec­tive but from a dig­i­tal per­spec­tive and from a so­cial and emo­tional per­spec­tive,’’ says Cur­rie.

“So we’re try­ing to re­spond to the whole learner.’’

JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

Doug Cur­rie, min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, early learn­ing and cul­ture, chaired the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of Ed­u­ca­tion, Canada (CEMEC) dur­ing meet­ings in Char­lot­te­town Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day. Cur­rie says the emo­tional and so­cial well-be­ing of stu­dents is “top of mind’’ for the min­is­ters.

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