REGINA – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) recognizes that the provincial government has committed to supporting schools financially, considering the pandemic context and challenges to fiscal capacity, with today’s 2020-21 budget announcement.
“We will continue working closely with government and all of our sector partners to ensure safety during the pandemic and supports for the education system going forward,” said SSBA President Dr. Shawn Davidson. “The SSBA is appreciative of the commitment to education represented in the operating and capital funding re-iterated in today’s budget announcement.”
Davidson said the budget provides some assurance to school boards about their operations, which remain in a state of pandemic response, and removes an element of uncertainty going forward.
“The government has taken a step toward addressing calls for predictability, with an allocation of operating funding that reflects pressures of enrolment and inflation,” he said. “Capital investment is also significant. Operating funding levels for 2020-21 will enable boards to continue doing what they need to do at a base level, though fall short of the significant investment we hoped for to help address some of the challenges in classrooms.”
The full effects of the budget will be better understood going forward as pandemic response and planning for the fall continues, Davidson noted.
REGINA – Ten schools in Saskatchewan will each receive a $10,000 grant to support student nutrition after being selected to win this year’s Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge.
“The success of this program grows year over year, thanks in large part to the commitment from educators in our province,” said Sarah Fedorchuk, The Mosaic Company’s Vice President, Public Affairs & Government Relations, North America. “Now, in its 14th year, Mosaic remains committed to funding the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge to ensure 10 more schools can provide healthier school environments for their students.”
The grants will support winning projects that have goals including building or renovating kitchen, garden and other indoor and outdoor facilities; enhancing, through courses, clubs and other efforts, the learning opportunities available for students, families and communities about topics including nutrition, cooking, Indigenous traditional knowledge and environmental sustainability; promoting reconciliation and celebrating cultures; and, implementing or increasing breakfast, lunch and other programs.
Schools from across the province submitted their projects to compete for the total of $100,000 in prizes, provided by Mosaic. Schools receiving grants this year are part of the Good Spirit, Greater Saskatoon Catholic, Horizon, North East, Prairie South, Regina Catholic, Saskatchewan Rivers, Saskatoon Public and South East Cornerstone school divisions and the Muskoday First Nation.
To encourage grassroots initiatives to help improve student nutrition, the Mosaic Challenge began in 2006. Mosaic and the SSBA have continued to partner for the initiative since then.
“Mosaic has been a very generous partner in support of improved nutrition environments for the students of our province and we are pleased to continue this program during these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the SSBA. “Saskatchewan’s 27 school boards are thankful for Mosaic’s ongoing commitment.”
Backgrounder: Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge 2020 Winners
REGINA – Saskatchewan Rivers Public Board of Education and Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change have received the 2019 Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education for the submission of “Empowering Students and Responding to Student Voice: A Student-led Pathway to Improve Student Outcomes.”
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) co-ordinates the Premier’s Award each year. The award was presented on behalf of Premier Scott Moe during the SSBA Annual General Assembly on Monday evening in Regina.
“Congratulations to Saskatchewan Rivers School Division for winning this year’s award,” Honourable Lori Carr, Minister of Government Relations and MLA for Estevan, said on behalf of Premier Moe. “The Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change council will give students valuable leadership skills and an opportunity to have their voice heard by the board of trustees. This experience will benefit them well beyond high school.”
In its application for the award, Saskatchewan Rivers said its board, along with a team of students, implemented a division-wide council known as the Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change, which regularly discusses challenges and opportunities, takes part in leadership and learning, plans actions and events and advocates for student learning and well-being. The council provides advice and perspective directly to the board through elected student trustees.
“School board trustees work to ensure that the students in their schools get a good education and have positive experiences as they learn,” said Barry Hollick, Saskatchewan Rivers chair. “We are so pleased that this initiative to involve students in the governance of our school division provides them the opportunity to lead change and affect student achievement and outcomes. It has also enhanced the board’s awareness of student concerns and issues.”
The $3,000 award has been sponsored by Xerox Canada since its development in 1999, making this year the 20th anniversary of the award program. The award recipient is recommended by a panel of education sector partners.
“Xerox is proud to again sponsor the Premier’s Award,” said Karl Boissonneault, Vice President, Canadian Channel Operations, Xerox Canada. “Xerox has seen many changes over the 113 years of our existence and also made fundamental contributions to how work gets done every day. In celebrating the 20th anniversary of our partnership, we are excited that we can once again do our part to support school boards to bring innovation to the forefront and ensure that we continue to invest in and improve the future education of our young people.”
The Premier’s Award recognizes educational innovations and improvements focused on student achievement that have been advanced or directed by school boards. The prize is used to support or extend the innovation or project.
“Upon the 20th anniversary of this program, we are very appreciative of Xerox Canada for highlighting the great work being done by school boards throughout the province,” said SSBA President Dr. Shawn Davidson. “Each submission is worthy of recognition for promoting efforts to help ensure success for all students. Congratulations to the recipients.”
At its assembly, the SSBA also recognized Bernie Howe (Prairie Spirit Board of Education) with a life membership.
To raise awareness and engagement in local democracy, Local Government Week has again been officially proclaimed in the province of Saskatchewan, at the joint request of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), Métis Nation Saskatchewan (MN-S), the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) and the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA).
The week runs from Nov. 11 to 17 this year and was officially designated by Lori Carr, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Government Relations and Minister Responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs. This is the second year that Local Government Week has been proclaimed. The call to recognize the week with a provincial proclamation emerged through discussions between the partner organizations as an excellent opportunity to recognize and raise awareness about Saskatchewan’s systems of local governance.
The work of local governments affects the lives of Saskatchewan residents every day. Local governments are responsible for everything from educating the province’s youth to building and maintaining the local roads residents use. To provide the many services offered, Saskatchewan’s local governments collectively employ more than 38,000 people. Locally elected governments represent the voices of the people they serve and provide connections and accountability to their communities.
“Our province recognizes the important work leaders of all communities and local government organizations do each and every day. Chiefs, mayors, reeves, councillors, trustees and administrative officials all play roles that contribute to the quality of life for all who share this great land called Saskatchewan. When neighbouring communities work together with other government partners on common goals, resources can go farther and relationships can grow stronger to help improve the lives of everyone,” said Carr.
“The FSIN Executive welcomes the celebration of Local Government Week in Saskatchewan, as it highlights and recognizes the tireless work of the many leaders in all of our communities,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “Our Chiefs and Councils represent thousands of First Nations people across the province and we want to recognize their efforts to create a better tomorrow for our future generations. Our Executive ensures that our Inherent and Treaty Rights and the exertion of First Nations jurisdiction remain at the forefront of our relationships with other local governments. We are thankful for the partnerships we have created and will continue to create in the future.”
“The self-government agreement we recently signed with the federal government recognizes the Métis Nation Saskatchewan as a government, which represents the Métis in the province,” said MN-S Minister of Education (Northern Region 1) Earl Cook. “It is only fitting that we celebrate our successes in Local Government Week.”
“Elected officials are instrumental in ensuring our communities remain strong and vibrant,” said SARM President Ray Orb. “SARM is committed to building capacity at the local level and it starts with recognizing the important role of municipal government through Local Government Week.”
“School boards are locally elected to bring community voice to publicly funded education,” said SSBA President Shawn Davidson. “Local Government Week helps to highlight the importance of grassroots-level decision-making.”
“Our hometown governments are responsible for everything from wastewater collection to fire and protective services,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “Local Government Week is a chance to highlight the role local governments play in shaping our communities.”
For more information: https://saskschoolboards.ca/advocacy/local-government-week/
REGINA – In a submission released today, Saskatchewan’s school boards are sharing that they consistently heard about the importance of Connections for education during local public engagements conducted earlier this year.
The report from boards to the Minister of Education highlights the need to enhance and expand Connections for education in three categories of main findings: Connections Among People and Relationships; Connections Between Systems and Structures; and, Connections to the Future and Navigating Technology.
“Taken together, our analysis of the themes can be summed up in one word: Connections,” said SSBA President Dr. Shawn Davidson. “This thread runs through the many ideas about the education system in the province that were identified and explored by thousands of people who engaged with this process. More specifically, all the themes identified from the engagements support the three categories of main findings.”
The findings resulted from more than 300 engagements school boards conducted across the province, involving more than 10,500 people. Many engagements took place in-person, while some divisions also used surveys and other tools to consult with students, families, communities and other stakeholders. In total, more than 36,500 comments were received.
“Our sincere thanks to all of the many diverse voices from across this province who engaged with this process and shared their views on the future of education,” said Davidson. “We are presenting this report to the Minister of Education as our submission as a partner involved in co-constructing a vision and a plan for education in the province beyond 2020, the last year covered by the current Education Sector Strategic Plan. This is our input into this process on behalf of the local voices we represent.”
In addition to the engagements, a review of documents related to education that have been produced in recent decades found there are ongoing similarities and consistency with the Connections findings.
“Seeing repetition of themes over some time presents both challenge and opportunity,” Davidson said. “The challenge is to identify the barriers that impede the sector from successfully attending to these themes. The opportunity is to learn from previous attempts and develop and adapt strategies that will focus Saskatchewan’s education sector in ways to successfully address the necessary Connections.”
In their report, school boards also present recommendations (see attached Backgrounder) aligned with the Connections findings, for the education sector to consider in moving forward toward co-construction of a new vision and plan.
“School boards are committed to continuing to improve education in the interests of all students,” Davidson said. “We want to ensure we are creating an environment for success and working together. We value and respect the role of all education and community partners and strongly believe that the path forward is about listening to what we have heard and working together to adapt and change for the benefit of all students.”
Backgrounder: Connections Recommendations
REGINA – The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) is encouraging residents of the province to participate in “Orange Shirt Day” by wearing orange and reflecting on residential schools.
“This annually proclaimed day is an opportunity for all of us to take time to think about residential schools and grow in our understanding of this history,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, SSBA president.
Orange Shirt Day is officially proclaimed on Sept. 30 each year and is part of a larger movement in the country to provide opportunity for First Nations, governments, schools and communities to unite in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.
“Learning about our shared history by recognizing the truths about the past and advocating for understanding is vital,” Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said. “Everyone has a role to play in reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day provides an opportunity for our province to recognize the history and impact of residential schools as we continue on the path to healing.”
The Orange Shirt Day movement is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, B.C., in 2013. It grew out of the account of a young girl having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the mission.
Orange Shirt Day was first proclaimed in Saskatchewan in 2016, in response to a resolution passed by the province’s trustees at the SSBA Spring General Assembly.