SASKATOON – Prairie South Schools has received the 2015 Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education for its Pathways to Success Practical and Applied Arts Enhancement Project.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association coordinates the Premier’s Award each year. The award was presented by Premier Brad Wall during the SSBA 100th Anniversary Annual General Assembly on Monday night.
“Our students are the future of this province and it’s important that each of them has the opportunity to reach their full potential in our classrooms, regardless of where they live,” said Premier Brad Wall. “I applaud Prairie South’s dedication to its students and the division’s willingness to explore new ways to deliver courses that help prepare students for meaningful careers. It’s my honour to present them with the 2015 Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence.”
Prior to Prairie South’s Pathways to Success: Practical and Applied Arts Enhancement Project, not all high school students in the division had equitable access to the same practical and applied arts credit options. Now, through a variety of delivery options, flexible learning programs, centralized equipment purchasing and innovative partnerships, all Prairie South students have the opportunity, regardless of geographical location and the size of their schools, to access a wider variety of credit options.
“As a board, we have enjoyed seeing our students participate in a wider range of activities than was previously possible” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, Board Chair at Prairie South Schools. “The willingness of our business, industry and community partners to roll up their sleeves and build programs together with our staff has created opportunities that I wouldn’t have dreamed of when I was in school. We are excited to be preparing students for careers and life in the 21st century.”
The $3,000 award is sponsored by Xerox Canada. The award recipient is recommended by a panel that includes representation from the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Education, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents.
“Xerox Canada congratulates the Prairie South School Division for its innovation and excellence in helping to elevate student achievement,” said Brad Stanghetta, Vice-President, Western Market Centre, Xerox Canada. “They join a respected list of past winners and are part of an elite group of inspiring educators who are making a difference helping students reach their full potential.”
Developed in 1999, the Premier’s Award recognizes educational innovations and improvements focused on student achievement that have been advanced or directed by boards of education. The prize is to be used to support or extend the innovation or project.
“The Premier’s Award shines a spotlight on great work being done by boards of education throughout Saskatchewan to support student achievement,” said SSBA President Connie Bailey. “Although there is only one recipient of the award, each submission is worthy of recognition for advancing the goal we all work to achieve – improved outcomes for students in Saskatchewan.”
Three new life members of the SSBA were also announced during the Annual General Assembly. Glen Gantefoer from Light of Christ Catholic Schools, Duane Favel from Ile a la Crosse School Division and Janet Foord from South East Cornerstone are the Association’s newest life members. All three of the individuals have served students and communities in Saskatchewan for many years through their efforts as trustees, including service on the Provincial Executive of the SSBA.
The Association also presents its Award of Distinction annually to a school board member who has demonstrated outstanding service and made a significant contribution to enhance education in Saskatchewan. This year’s winner of the Award of Distinction, Rodney Luhning, was also recognized at the Assembly. Rod is a former trustee and board chair with Prairie Valley School Division, serving 18 years.
SASKATOON – The efforts of Saskatoon’s Vincent Massey Community School to improve student nutrition and create a healthier environment for every student are being celebrated today as the school is recognized as the winner of this year’s Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge.
“We are excited and honoured to be the recipient of the Mosaic Extreme Makeover Challenge for this year,” said Ian Wilson, principal of Vincent Massey. “We know that the additional support will have huge benefits for our students, families and staff in improving educational, health, social and emotional development outcomes at Vincent Massey Community School. We are eager to see the results of the many creative projects that our staff will initiate because of this grant.”
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) and The Mosaic Company, in partnership with Breakfast for Learning, host the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge each year to encourage grassroots initiatives to improve student nutrition. Vincent Massey is being honoured as the grand prize winner for 2015 during a Walk to Breakfast event in Saskatoon this morning.
“The Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge addresses hunger in a very real way by creating a healthier learning environment for students through proper nutrition and related programming,” said Sarah Fedorchuk, Senior Director of Public Affairs for The Mosaic Company. “Food security is at the heart of what we do and Mosaic is proud to support an initiative that will nourish children and prepare them for their school day.”
Vincent Massey’s makeover focuses on honoring traditional pedagogy and enhancing respect and understanding of First Nation and Métis culture.
Activities include the sharing of knowledge by Elders and experts in local food production; visits to working farms, cultural sites, modified hunting and fishing experiences, cooking classes and students taking on the role of teacher to unpack curriculum.
Vincent Massey will also purchase culturally responsive books and will share these stories with the entire student body, many of whom are New Canadians and might not have any prior knowledge about First Nation culture.
Vincent Massey’s commitment to enhance nutrition education and to ‘balance the medicine wheel’ by providing better understanding and appreciation of First Nation culture is exemplary.
“School board members in Saskatchewan firmly believe that all students should have what they need to achieve and succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances,” said Connie Bailey, president of the SSBA. “Our Association is proud to support Breakfast for Learning and its work along with The Mosaic Company to ensure students’ health and nutrition needs are being met.”
As Canada’s first, and one of its largest, charities focusing on nourishing children, Breakfast for Learning (BFL) helps to support and sustain school-based breakfast, lunch and snack programs for more than 20 years. Since 2004, the SSBA has been involved with supporting those efforts.
“Breakfast for Learning is proud to work with the SSBA and The Mosaic Company to ensure that all students have the nourishment they need to succeed at school,” said Kelly Berlinic, Director of Community and Organizational Development for BFL.
REGINA –The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) along with member school boards across the province are promoting the importance of being present and participating at school during this Provincial Students’ Day and this year’s theme is “Be present at school – every day counts”.
“It is important for everyone in our province to understand that being present at school leads to improved academic outcomes and, ultimately, graduation,” said Connie Bailey, President of the SSBA. “It is crucial that we emphasize to our young people and the broader community that presence plus participation leads to student success.”
To honour and reinforce the importance of education, Sept. 1, 2015 – the first day back at school in Saskatchewan – has been proclaimed Provincial Students’ Day in the province by the Hon. Don Morgan, Minister of Education.
“Thank you to teachers and staff who have worked hard to get their classrooms ready to welcome students back on their first day of school,” Minister Morgan said. “Provincial Students’ Day highlights the importance of being ready to learn in the classroom today and throughout the year.”
The theme of “Be present at school – every day counts” is Student First and supports the targets set out in the Education Sector Strategic Plan to improve student achievement in Saskatchewan.
A video featuring the theme has been produced to promote Provincial Students’ Day and the theme and is available for viewing here: http://youtu.be/JLpU6UuIOtc.
SASKATOON – The Right Honourable Paul Martin, 21st Prime Minister of Canada and founder of the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), thanked the sponsors of the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) in Saskatchewan during remarks to the Canadian School Boards Association Annual Congress on Saturday.
“AYEP was designed to build upon the great entrepreneurial heritage of the First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit. The future of Canada doesn’t just depend on the resources that lie in the ground; it depends on the talent of those who walk upon it. I want to thank the Canadian School Boards Association and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association for the leadership they have so clearly demonstrated. It has been crucial to AYEP’s success,” Martin said.
In 2013, Saskatchewan became the first jurisdiction in Canada to launch the program province-wide, with the support of PotashCorp and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). The unique program is targeted at First Nations and Métis to increase attendance and engagement at school and improve graduation rates. With the third year of provincial operations set to commence for the 2015-16 school year, the AYEP in Saskatchewan now receives support from all levels of government and the private sector.
“As a community-based financial co-operative we are honored to work alongside the education sector and the aboriginal community as a partner in this valuable skills-building program. We too are committed to improving entrepreneurial opportunities for young aboriginal people and appreciate the good work of the business educator teachers in delivering this program to students so they can be successful in life. Affinity believes that together, we achieve more and through this collective effort we will all benefit,” said Mark Lane, CEO Affinity Credit Union.
For 2015-16, the AYEP is receiving funding support from the federal government through AANDC, the provincial government through the Ministry of Education, locally elected school boards and Affinity Credit Union. The AYEP has also been generously supported in Saskatchewan by PotashCorp.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to building strong relationships with First Nations and Métis peoples by working with a variety of partners who offer engaging programming for youth,” said Saskatchewan Education Minister Don Morgan. “Our support of AYEP through the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative aligns with the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth’s focus on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and career development, and supports educational opportunities for First Nations, Métis and northern students.”
Duane Favel, chair of the Saskatchewan AYEP Steering Committee, said success stories from the AYEP continue to be reported across the province. The AYEP includes First Nations and Métis cultures and traditions by embedding traditional knowledge within the curriculum. Teaching entrepreneurship to high school students in a way that incorporates their own world views and their own traditions has proven to be behind the AYEP’s success.
“The AYEP builds confidence and teaches our students the skill sets required to meet the future,” Favel said. “Thanks to the generosity of sponsors from the public and private sectors, we have been able to provide and expand this important program in Saskatchewan.”
The AYEP requires commitment from non-traditional partners in education. The business community has been engaged by providing student interaction with mentorship, classroom sessions, off-site meetings and site visits. The expertise of business and industry partners in this program is critical to the program’s success. Ultimately, this success contributes to Saskatchewan’s growth, Favel said.
SASKATOON – The system for funding education for the province’s students is working well in many areas and would be improved by better engagement regarding local considerations, according to the membership of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA).
“There are 28 boards of education in Saskatchewan and each school division has unique local circumstances,” SSBA President Connie Bailey said. “Our members have identified that building better understandings of local situationsamong boards and with the provincial government as a top priority for improving funding distribution.” .
This year, Saskatchewan’s school boards participated in a new system of evaluating the provincial budget allocations based on how well it reflected the principles set out in the SSBA’s position statement on education finance, which was approved by the membership. The eight principles are: sufficiency, autonomy, equity, engagement, predictability, reciprocal accountability, sustainability and transparency.
“The eight principles carefully take into account the fact that education financing includes far more than just the amount of funding provided,” Bailey said. “We want to identify areas in which our members collectively agree things are working well, as well as areas in which they think there is room for improvement, so that government and boards of education can work together to ensure the needs of our students are best being met.” .
On average, boards provided mid-range grades in all areas, indicating that some expectations are being met, with room for improvement.
Engagement was the top priority for improvement identified by boards. Comments regarding engagement were also received in all areas of the evaluation. Members indicated that increased engagement with individual school divisions in determining how funding is allocated is needed to reflect local considerations. Genuine consultation is desired by members.
Autonomy received the highest grade from boards on average. Although school boards are no longer able to set tax rates, it was clear in comments from members that they appreciate autonomy remains as to how boards are able to spend dollars allocated to them.
Regarding the 2015-16 provincial budget, respondents to the evaluation were pleased that the province made education a priority despite the year’s fiscal challenges. Many comments centered on the change in this year’s funding allocation from using projected enrolment numbers to the previous year’s enrolment numbers, with members reporting that this change had a negative effect in evaluating many of the principle areas.
Members were also pleased with the provincial education minister’s commitment, announced along with the budget, to review the funding formula for education in Saskatchewan. “It’s important that we continue to listen to school boards, both individually and collectively,” said Minister of Education Don Morgan. “That is why we have committed to reviewing the funding model to ensure it meets the needs of our students.”
Bailey said the SSBA and its members are committed to supporting that review.
“School boards firmly believe that all students should have the resources they need to succeed, regardless of where they live in the province or their personal circumstances,” Bailey said.
Click here for the backgrounder on this release
REGINA – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) and The Mosaic Company are today announcing the “SSBA Centennial Nutrition Donation” of $35,000 to support Breakfast for Learning (BFL) in Saskatchewan.
The donation, provided to eligible Saskatchewan BFL school programs, is to be used for capital purchases of equipment for food preparation and storage.
“The SSBA is very proud to be a supporter of Breakfast for Learning,” said the SSBA’s President Connie Bailey. “This donation honours the legacy of trusteeship in the province during the Year of the Trustee and the SSBA centennial, and leaves a gift to school divisions in recognition of the SSBA’s strategic partnership with Mosaic and BFL.”
The “SSBA Centennial Nutrition Donation” that is being announced today is the result of a continued partnership.
“Mosaic is proud to continue to support Breakfast for Learning in Saskatchewan. As a company, we understand the importance of providing children the nourishment they need to learn and grow. Our contribution towards the purchase of equipment will provide a lasting impact for generations to come,” said Sarah Fedorchuk, Mosaic’s Senior Director of Public Affairs.
As Canada’s first, and one of its largest, charities focusing on nourishing children, Breakfast for Learning has been helping to support and sustain school-based breakfast, lunch and snack programs for more than 20 years.
“Our students are our future leaders, and investing in their learning through nutrition programs is vital to their success,” said Breakfast for Learning’s Director of Community and Organizational Development, Kelly Berlinic. “Breakfast for Learning is proud to work with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association and The Mosaic Company to ensure all students have the nourishment they need to succeed at school.”
Since 2004, the SSBA has partnered with Breakfast for Learning to help ensure all students in Saskatchewan are well nourished and ready to learn. The donation will be administered by BFL and schools eligible under BFL criteria will apply for a share of the funding.
SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has eight priorities its membership will be looking to see reflected in the 2015-16 provincial budget, which the government will release next week.
“School boards firmly believe that all students should have the resources they need to succeed, regardless of where they live in the province or their personal circumstances,” said Connie Bailey, president of the SSBA. “Our eight principles carefully take into consideration the fact that education financing includes far more than just the amount of funding provided in any given year.”
The eight principles are: sufficiency, autonomy, equity, engagement, predictability, reciprocal accountability, sustainability and transparency. They were agreed to by all of the province’s 28 school boards. This year, for the first time, boards will use a new report card to evaluate the budget based on those principles.
“We want to collectively identify where things are working well and where there is room for improvement,” Bailey said. “The report card evaluation will gather important information so that both the government and boards of education can work together to ensure the funding formula reflects the eight principles and, most importantly, meets the needs of our students.”
In the weeks following the release of the budget, boards will provide their evaluations of how the principles are reflected and where improvements can be made. This information will be aggregated by the SSBA and the highlights will be released to stakeholders, government and the public in mid-April.
The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee (:GTBC) and the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee have accepted terms of settlement for a new provincial collective bargaining agreement for Saskatchewan teachers following conclusion of conciliation and receipt of the Conciliation Board Report.
“After working through the conciliation process, as a board we saw no possibility of agreement on any terms more favourable to either party,” said Andrew Sims Q.C., Chair Conciliation Board. “We believe the terms in the report represent the best agreement possible given the circumstances and the interests of all parties.”
The terms of settlement include a wage increase of 7.55 per cent over four years and a 0.25 per cent increase in government pension contribution rates to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Retirement Plan effective July 1, 2016.
“After careful deliberations, members of the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee and STF Executive agreed with the conciliation board’s strong and unanimous advice to accept the terms of settlement,” said Randy Cline, STF Vice-President. “We determined that it was in the best interests of teachers to secure the resources leveraged by the conciliation process now.”
“The GTBC listened to teachers, developed a deeper understanding of the issues, and during the conciliation process we were able to respond to some of those concerns,” said Connie Bailey, Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee. “Having an agreement in place is important to the education sector and we are committed to working together for the benefit of all Saskatchewan students.”
The Ministry of Education, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association have also accepted the report from the Joint Committee of Student and Teacher Time that met between October 2014 and January 2015. The report addresses teacher time and workload intensification, however more work needs to be done and at the recommendation of the Conciliation Board the parties have also committed to the creation of a Task Force on Teacher Time.
The parties have also confirmed that, upon the establishment of a new regulatory body for teachers, any associated professional fees will be paid on behalf of teachers and school boards by the Ministry of Education in the first two years.
The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee and the Teachers’ Bargaining Committee will be formalizing the terms of settlement into the new provincial collective bargaining agreement which takes effect immediately.
The parties acknowledged and thanked the members of the Conciliation Board for their commitment to helping the parties reach an agreement.