Back to School

Moose Jaw - - News - War­ren Michel­son

Septem­ber is here and school has started. More than 182,000 stu­dents and 13,000 teach­ers are back in class­rooms at hun­dreds of schools across the prov­ince.

A good ed­u­ca­tion is the foun­da­tion for a sta­ble and suc­cess­ful fu­ture. The ded­i­cated work of teach­ers, school staff, and school boards im­proves qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion and keeps our prov­ince grow­ing stronger. Since 2007, forty new or re­place­ment schools have been built, and 25 schools have had ma­jor ren­o­va­tions. More than 840 teach­ers and 167 stu­dent sup­port staff have been added. Over a pe­riod in which en­rol­ment grew 13 per cent, op­er­at­ing fund­ing has in­creased by 35 per cent.

Last fall 18 new schools opened around the prov­ince. This year’s bud­get puts a strong fo­cus on high-qual­ity learn­ing and sup­port ser­vices in ed­u­ca­tion. An ad­di­tional 30 mil­lion dol­lars to school di­vi­sions will sup­port stu­dents in the class­room through the hir­ing of up to 400 teach­ers and other ed­u­ca­tional sup­port staff. In­vest­ments in Prekinder­garten will sup­port the early de­vel­op­ment of more than 5,000 three and four-year old chil­dren; to help them suc­ceed in their first years at school. In­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing for chil­dren un­der six with Autism Spectrum Dis­or­der, and a new early learn­ing pi­lot pro­gram for preschool-aged chil­dren who are deaf and hard of hear­ing will also help young stu­dents get a strong start in school.

Ev­ery stu­dent that en­ters our class­rooms is unique and has their own ‘best way’ of learn­ing. We ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts put forth by teach­ers and school staff as they rise to this chal­lenge in many cre­ative ini­tia­tives. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is com­mit­ted to work­ing with teach­ers, school staff and all our ed­u­ca­tion part­ners to­ward the suc­cess and well-be­ing of all Saskatchewan learn­ers.

Re­cent sta­tis­tics for Saskatchewan post-sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion are en­cour­ag­ing. Over the past five years, the to­tal num­ber of stu­dents at Saskatchewan’s three largest in­sti­tu­tions has in­creased on av­er­age by 1.9 per cent an­nu­ally. In the fall of 2017, there were more than 42,500 stu­dents en­rolled in cre­den­tialed pro­grams. Par­tic­u­larly en­cour­ag­ing is the num­ber of post-sec­ondary cre­den­tials awarded to First Na­tions, Métis and Inuit stu­dents which has grown 35 per cent since 2013.

Stu­dents con­sid­er­ing fur­ther­ing their ed­u­ca­tion by at­tend­ing uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges or trade schools may con­sider avail­able as­sis­tance through sup­port pro­grams. Post-sec­ondary stu­dents can find in­for­ma­tion and ap­pli­ca­tions for stu­dent loans, grants, bur­saries and schol­ar­ships at School zones that were quiet for the past two months are buzzing with ac­tiv­ity as ex­cited stu­dents meet with their friends and head to their class­rooms this week. Driv­ers need to be ex­tra cau­tious; es­pe­cially in the first few weeks when stu­dents are more likely to be dis­tracted. Thank you to school cross­ing guards who give their time to keep their fel­low stu­dents safe.

Har­vest equip­ment will be shar­ing ru­ral roads with school buses. Please watch out for the school bus “do not pass” flash­ing red lights, and the “slow ve­hi­cle” signs on farm equip­ment.

I wish a suc­cess­ful and ful­fill­ing school year to stu­dents of all ages, and to those who are ded­i­cated to their learn­ing.

War­ren Michel­son, MLA

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