EDUCATION MATTERS FOR SURE COLUMN BY RON MARKS
Recently the Chignecto Central Regional School Board (CCRSB) approved a new Strategic Plan for 2013-2016 titled Strengthening Our Learning Community. Quoting from the Strategic Plan, “The Mission of CCRSB is to develop independent lifelong learners in a student-centred environment with high expectations for all.” Fundamental beliefs of CCRSB are simple: “At CCRSB we believe that student learning is our priority and that learning is a partnership among home, school, and community. We believe that all students have the ability to learn and that our students learn in different ways. We believe that we must teach the whole child because learning is a lifelong process. We believe that our schools must be safe, supportive and socially just places where everyone must be treated with dignity and respect.”
Most likely, everyone could agree with the Mission and Fundamental Beliefs of the Board. They might ask, so what? Everyone can agree with this but what does it do for my child or grandchild. That would be a fair question and the answer is far from simple. The first thought is that it gives everyone direction so we are all heading in the same direction with the same goals in mind. Keeping it Simple and Achievable, the strategic plan only has two goals. The two goals are:
Goal 1. Increase Student Learning
“Effective instruction and assessment processes by classroom teachers, working in communities of practice, and supported by knowledgeable and responsive instructional leaders, will have a positive outcome for increased student learning.”
The 2013-2014 Yearly Action Plan for Goal 1 is quite ambitious.
- “Professional learning will be provided focusing on the application of effective, research-based instruction and assessment practices; student management practices; and student intervention practices.
- The new Nova Scotia Mathematics curriculum will be implemented in grades Primary to 3 and grade 10.
- Professional learning in effective, research-based motivation, instruction and assessment practices for male and male-like learners will be provided. This will allow teachers and instructional leaders to better differentiate instruction and assessment processes for all students.”
Goal 2. Provide Positive, Safe, Socially Just Learning Environments
“A positive learning atmosphere is dependent on a climate of complex social interaction within a diverse community of people. Students, staff and parents/guardians should expect an environment that is positive, safe, inclusive and welcoming.”
This is just a snap shot of a very detailed document and plan that school board members will use to hold our superintendent accountable. It is also one aspect that you, the voter, should use to hold elected school board members accountable. If everyone does their job, our students will be better prepared for their future.
An education advocate, Ron Marks has been an outspoken member of local and regional school boards and a former Stellarton mayor. His column runs weekly.