Back to school

‘A lot of en­hance­ments to our sys­tem this year’ says re­gional ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor


Shelly Phillips

ac­count ex­ec­u­tive Cell: 902-680-6769 sphillips@her­

Tara Man­thorne



Mar­garet Wal­lace

Ad­di­tional class­room and school sup­ports, ex­panded core pro­gram­ming, en­hanced bus safety light­ing and five more pre-pri­mary sites are in place as stu­dents and staff in the tri-county re­gion head back to class on Sept. 5 to start the 2018-19 school year.

“There’s been a lot of en­hance­ments to our sys­tem this year as a re­sult of the In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion re­port and Dr. Glaze’s re­port,” said Paul Ash, re­gional ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Tri-County Re­gional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion (TCRCE).

“We’ve been able to hire ad­di­tional teach­ing as­sis­tants as a re­sult of the Glaze re­port. We’ve been able to in­crease the num­ber of learn­ing cen­tre teach­ers that we have in our sys­tem. We’ve been able to ex­pand on our be­hav­iour sup­port teach­ers in our high schools. We also have a new po­si­tion called child and youth prac­ti­tion­ers that will be sup­port­ing pri­mar­ily our ele­men­tary schools around stu­dent en­gage­ment. We are in the process of hir­ing a par­ent nav­i­ga­tor” who will be avail­able to par­ents who have ques­tions about the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem or are look­ing for re­sources. Ash said ad­di­tional autism sup­ports are also in place across the re­gion.

Ash said the TCRCE also has been able to ex­pand on some of the core pro­gram­ming. “One of the ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties is around an al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pi­lot that we’re in the process of work­ing with the NSCC on right now, which will hope­fully ex­pose some of our high school stu­dents to some of the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able at the post-secondary level while they con­tinue to work to­wards their high school di­ploma.”

The project will be pi­loted pri­mar­ily in the Yar­mouth area. For­est Ridge Academy in Barrington is one of five new pre-pri­mary sites in the tri-county re­gion this school year. Prepri­mary pro­gram­ming has also been added to schools in Lock­e­port, Mead­ow­fields, Is­lands Con­sol­i­dated and Ply­mouth, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of pre-pri­mary sites in the re­gion to 11. Skilled trades pro­grams are al­ready avail­able at Barrington and Shel­burne high schools, and the TCRCE “will be open­ing a skilled trades pro­gram in Digby next year so we tar­geted Yar­mouth County for this pro­gram, so those stu­dents have an opportunity to be ex­posed to the trades as well be­cause that’s where the vac­uum is right now.”

Also new in the tri-county re­gion this year is the ad­di­tion of five prepri­mary sites at schools in Lock­e­port, For­est Ridge Academy in Barrington, Mead­ow­fields, Is­lands Con­sol­i­dated in Digby Neck and Ply­mouth, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of pre-pri­mary sites in the re­gion to 11.

“We’re def­i­nitely ex­cited about the ad­di­tional pre-pri­mary sites and hav­ing stu­dents start­ing a year ear­lier with play-based learn­ing,” said Trevor Cun­ning­ham, di­rec­tor of pro­grams and stu­dent ser­vices. En­rol­ment into pre-pri­mary is taken on an on­go­ing ba­sis with el­i­gi­bil­ity based on the catch­ment area of school. Any par­ent can en­rol a stu­dent by con­tact­ing the school or by con­tact­ing cen­tral of­fice.

Cun­ning­ham said the TCRCE is also ex­cited to wel­come an es­ti­mated 150 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to the tri-county re­gion this year. “Per capita we have the most in­ter­na­tional stu­dents of any ed­u­ca­tional cen­tre across the province so we’re ex­cited for that to con­tinue,” said Cun­ning­ham.

On the bus safety front, Steve Stod­dart, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, said the TCRCE is ex­pand­ing on a pi­lot pro­gram started in Yar­mouth County last year that has helped re­duce the num­ber of red light vi­o­la­tions.

“We started putting flash­ing LED lights in the grills of the buses that’s at eye level with driv­ers and cars and that seems to have made a dif­fer­ence,” said Stod­dart, of the re­duc­tion of the num­ber of red light vi­o­la­tions sig­nif­i­cantly. “We hope to have them in all our buses be­fore school starts this year in all three coun­ties.”

Since the Ed­u­ca­tion Re­form Act dis­solved the seven English­s­peak­ing school boards in the province last spring, cre­at­ing in­stead re­gional ed­u­ca­tion cen­tres, “we’re work­ing more closely with the province right now,” said Ash. “The seven re­gions are in much closer com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the depart­ment around pro­gram­ming and needs.”

The province is still in the se­lec­tion process for es­tab­lish­ing the new Provin­cial Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil of Ed­u­ca­tion, said Ash, adding he ex­pects ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion will be com­ing out to com­mu­ni­ties soon on en­hanced roles for school ad­vi­sory coun­cils.

Ash said the cur­rent class­room caps will re­main in place for the com­ing year. As for en­rol­ment, it looks as though the num­bers “are down slightly, prob­a­bly a cou­ple hun­dred across the re­gion, but we’re notic­ing the de­clin­ing trend is start­ing to flat­ten out and it’s not as sig­nif­i­cant as it has been in past years.”

provin­cial sales man­ager Of­fice: 902.530.6223 Cell: 902.521.7711 spat­ter­son@her­

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