Back to school
‘A lot of enhancements to our system this year’ says regional executive director
account executive Cell: 902-680-6769 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org