School Boards Impressed with Improved Student Achievement
December 3, 2013
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) is enthused by the improvement in student achievement among Saskatchewan students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.
Saskatchewan students improved their rankings in all three subject areas of the assessment – mathematics, reading and science – in comparison to other Canadian provincial jurisdictions.
“We are very encouraged by the PISA results released today. A shared vision and goal of school boards in the province is to ensure that all Saskatchewan students achieve at the highest level – locally, nationally and globally,” said SSBA President Janet Foord.
Within the data presented, Saskatchewan is among the best in Canada at narrowing the gap between the lowest 10th percentile of performers and highest 90th percentile of performers – ranking first in reading, and tied for third in mathematics and science.
“Improving student achievement requires a shared vision and commitment among all the key education stakeholders – students, parents, communities, locally-elected boards of education, teachers, school division administrators, support staff, the Ministry of Education, First Nations and Métis organizations, and business and industry partners,” said Foord. “In Saskatchewan we are joining together to develop an education sector vision and plan but the real leg work is happening at the local level in 28 school divisions across this province. We invite all media to speak to their local school divisions to learn about the great work that is being undertaken to improve the achievement of all Saskatchewan students.”
PISA is an international assessment tool that compares members and non-members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations by testing 15-year-olds’ skills and knowledge in three subject areas. In Canada, approximately 21,000 students from about 900 schools participated in the assessment. In Saskatchewan, 1,933 students from 86 schools were part of the 2012 assessment.
For more information, contact:
Phone: (306) 569-0750 Ext. 131
SSBA Supports Government’s Anti-Bullying Action Plan
November 14, 2013
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) has issued its support for Saskatchewan’s Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying.
“As Minister Morgan said in his announcement today, school divisions are already doing great work to address bullying across the province,” Foord said. “The safety, well-being and success of all Saskatchewan students are the highest priorities of every school board. The SSBA welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the province to do everything possible to continue to address this issue.
“As the representative body of all school boards in Saskatchewan, the SSBA looks forward to working with government, and our education and community partners to ensure that we are all working together to achieve this goal which is so important to Saskatchewan children, youth, families and communities.”
Chinook Board of Education Receives Premier’s Award
November 13, 2013
On Tuesday, November 12, the Chinook Board of Education received the annual Premier’s Board of Education Award for Innovation and Excellence at the Saskatchewan School Boards Association’s Fall General Assembly.
The Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Education, presented the award on behalf of Premier Brad Wall to Chinook Board Chair Randy Beler for the division’s “Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Program”.
“The board feels that the LLI Program at Chinook truly exemplifies the innovative nature of the award. Our teachers use research-based reading improvement strategies that greatly improve learning at the classroom and individual student level, and we have seen the positive impact LLI has had on both teachers and students,” said Chinook Board of Education Chair Randy Beler. “We are very proud of the results and have seen incredible success. In the first four years, 291 students who were struggling with reading before entering the program were at or above grade level upon completion.”
The $3,000 award is sponsored by Xerox Canada and 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. This year there were eight submissions.
“The Premier’s Award is a great way to shine a spotlight on the great work being done by boards of education throughout Saskatchewan to support student achievement,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “Although there is only one recipient of the award, each submission is worthy of recognition. Boards of education and their staffs develop partnerships, engage in innovative educational pursuits and other are involved in a number of other initiatives that advance the goal we all work to achieve, which is improved outcomes for students in Saskatchewan.”
For more information, contact:
Saskatchewan School Boards Association
Office: (306) 569-0750
Cell: (306) 737-8192
Chinook School Division
Office: (306) 778-9200 Ext. 218
Cell: (306) 741-8109
Boards of Education Pass Resolutions to Support Students and Communities
November 12, 2013
On Tuesday, November 12, the province’s 28 publicly-funded and locally-elected boards of education at the Saskatchewan School Boards Association’s (SSBA) Fall General Assembly – the SSBA’s annual general meeting – passed a number of resolutions important to the students and communities school boards represent.
One resolution that was passed requires the SSBA to lobby the Ministry of Education to allow autonomous boards of education to control the acquisition and installation of portable classrooms. The resolution was passed with 91.9 percent of the membership in favour.
“Many boards of education were experiencing delays and structural flaws with the Ministry of Education’s bulk portable classroom purchasing program this fall and in the past few years, as has been reported extensively in the media,” said Foord. “As locally-elected boards of education, we believe these decisions are best made closest to home by the people who are accountable for the use of portable classrooms by students and staff.”
The SSBA’s Executive, with a recommendation from the SSBA’s Aboriginal Council, also saw the passing of its proposed resolution to encourage school boards to place the federal government’s 2008 statement of apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools in each of Saskatchewan’s more than 700 schools. The resolution was passed with 77.3 percent of the membership in favour.
“Last year, we had Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, speak at one of our events and this was a recommendation he had for us,” said Foord. “We must recognize these injustices as a society and by placing this apology in schools it’s a symbolic gesture that will assist in the truth and reconciliation for all Canadians.”
The membership of the SSBA also urges the Ministry of Education, with support from the SSBA and other stakeholders, to develop appropriate policy and procedures to address the needs of students and staff with anaphylactic allergic reactions. The resolution was passed with 73.9 percent of the membership in favour.
“We thank the Regina Public and Greater Saskatoon Catholic boards of education for their leadership in proposing the resolution regarding an anaphylactic policy in schools,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “This policy is supported by the Canadian School Boards Association and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; however, there is recognition that autonomous boards of education should have the flexibility to implement appropriate policy and procedures in its schools to adapt to unique needs.”
Among other resolutions passed, the membership seeks to have the SSBA work with the Ministries of Education and Health, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, and other stakeholders to develop a provincial health action plan for schools to assist boards of education.
Media Advisory: School Boards to Gather for the Fall General Assembly
November 8, 2013
On Monday, November 11 to Wednesday, November 13, the province’s 28 publicly-funded and locally-elected boards of education will gather for the Saskatchewan School Boards Association’s (SSBA) Fall General Assembly – the 98th annual general meeting of the SSBA. An agenda is available on the SSBA website.
On Monday afternoon, Dr. James Daschuk will be presenting his research on the effect Old World diseases had on Aboriginal peoples and “the present disparity in health and economic well-being between First Nations and non-Native populations” chronicled in his book Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. On Monday evening, SSBA President Janet Foord will address delegates for her President’s Address. Treaty Commissioner George E. Lafond will also deliver a keynote address.
On Tuesday morning, Foord and Deputy Minister of Education Dan Florizone will provide an update on the education sector planning process, as well as how the Student First initiative will inform the planning process.
On Tuesday afternoon, the membership of the SSBA will vote on this year’s proposed resolutions (also available on the SSBA website) including, but not limited to:
- A resolution by the SSBA Executive, endorsed by the SSBA’s Aboriginal Council, to place the federal government’s 2008 statement of apology to former students of Indian residential schools in a prominent location in every Saskatchewan school.
- A resolution by the Regina Public Board of Education to lobby the Ministry of Education to restore the autonomy of boards of education regarding the acquisition and installation of portable classrooms.
- A joint resolution between the Regina Public Board of Education and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Board of Education for the SSBA “to lead a process to develop provincial policy…to effectively address the needs of students and staff with anaphylactic allergic reactions.”
- A resolution by the Conseil scolaire Fransaskois to lobby the Ministries of Education and Government Relations to amend the Lloydminster Charter to include the Conseil scolaire Fransaskois.
- A resolution by the Saskatchewan Rivers Board of Education to lobby the Ministry of Education to allow for student representation on school boards.
On Wednesday morning, the Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Education, will address the SSBA membership, including a question and answer session. This is followed by a keynote presentation by Dr. Marie Wilson, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
School Boards Continue to Advocate for Long-Term Capital Asset Plan
October 22, 2013
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association welcomed the announcement of funding for new school facilities in the province, but remains concerned that there isn’t an education sector plan to address long-term needs for “The Children’s Infrastructure”.
“Today’s announcement is good for some boards of education that are struggling with growth pressures,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “However, we can’t continue to react to growth pressures in the province and must become more proactive by developing a long-term plan to ensure students have safe, healthy and vibrant learning communities now and into the future.”
The need for a long-term capital asset plan to address “The Children’s Infrastructure” was supported by the Office of the Provincial Auditor in its report to the Ministry of Education in June. Data the SSBA has collected indicates that, beyond the need for new school facilities, approximately 75 percent of the roofing systems in Saskatchewan schools will fail within the next five years. Furthermore, the average age of Saskatchewan schools is approximately 50 years.
“We have heard from students and staff over the past few years that the growth pressures in some areas of the province have caused overcrowded classrooms. Thankfully, announcements such as this one will alleviate some of those concerns,” said Foord. “But there’s more to do across the province and working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and other sector partners is necessary to address the long-term concerns. The expertise of boards of education and their staffs will be crucial to develop creative solutions that are close to home, which will benefit students and communities.”
Included among the topics that the education sector must have a shared understanding of in the development of a long-term capital asset plan are: the public-private partnership (P3) approach to new facilities; the building of joint-use facilities between public and separate school divisions; an updated policy on the use of portables; the financing of major capital projects; and ongoing maintenance of existing facilities.
New program promotes entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business success
October 3, 2013
Today the Saskatchewan School Boards Association and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada announced the launch of the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) across the province of Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Métis Nation Saskatchewan, and the support of corporate sponsor PotashCorp.
Under AYEP, teachers will use innovative, hands-on learning techniques to help Aboriginal students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school, business and life, while respecting their cultural heritage.
Canada’s 21st Prime Minister and MAEI President and Founder, The Right Honourable Paul Martin, along with Janet Foord, President of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Anna Fontaine, Regional Director General for the Saskatchewan Region of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and Leanne Bellegarde, Director of Aboriginal Affairs at PotashCorp, were joined by Vice Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, President Doucette of the Métis Nation Saskatchewan, local community leaders and education officials, at Oskayak High School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
“This initiative started as a challenge in Saskatchewan education, it became an opportunity and now it’s become reality,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “However, we will continue to work with boards of education to grow this program across Saskatchewan to further engage Aboriginal youth in education and future employment opportunities.”
Vice Chief Bobby Cameron, Education and Training portfolio holder for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is pleased that the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative’s entrepreneurship program is now available for First Nations on the reserved lands. “To have the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) expanded to reach our youth who attend school on First Nations is a good step forward. First Nations people have historically been entrepreneurs in order to take care of their families and communities. It is a natural fit to include this education in our schools as the Elders tell us, ‘Life-long learning is the key to self-sufficiency’.”
“The future of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan will be realized if Métis Nation and First Nation youth are engaged in the developing economy. As Métis and First Nation youth are future tax payers, individuals with buying power and potential business owners the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) is another opportunity to help empower Métis Nation and First Nation youth. It’s simple,” said Métis Nation Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette “empower Métis Nation and First Nation youth now, ensure future growth and prosperity for all Canadians.”
“This partnership demonstrates our Government’s commitment to work with First Nations on shared goals, to ensure that First Nation students have access to the same quality educational opportunities as all Canadians,” said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. “Our Government has focused on supporting Aboriginal entrepreneurs through programs like the Aboriginal Business Development Program (ABDP), which provides financial assistance, business information and services to majority-owned Aboriginal entrepreneurs for a range of activities, including business start-ups, acquisitions, expansions and marketing. Through initiatives like the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, and the Strategic Partnership Initiative (SPI) our Government also continues to focus on strategic partnership building between Aboriginal groups, the private sector, and other levels of government to increase development opportunities in some of the most important economic and energy projects in the country.”
“Aboriginal Canadians are the fastest-growing segment of our population and will be key drivers of Canada’s economy.” said The Right Honourable Paul Martin. “The Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program is dedicated to ensuring that Aboriginal students are empowered with the background necessary to pursue an interest in business and entrepreneurship. We are particularly proud that our program’s textbooks are the first to be set within an Indigenous context.”
AYEP will help ensure that Aboriginal students across Saskatchewan have the skills and experience they need to fully participate in Canada’s growing economy, to enjoy greater economic self-reliance and a better quality of life.
“The AYEP prepares youth to be the future business leaders in this province and perhaps future suppliers to PotashCorp,” said Mike Hogan, President of PCS Potash at PotashCorp. “The program will ensure that our young people have essential skills like financial literacy, marketing, and communication, which will enhance their ability to participate in the bright economic future of this province, whether as business leaders, employees, political leaders or otherwise.”
At the program launch, students had the opportunity to meet Mr. Martin, who took part in a school assembly and discussions with community members, Aboriginal leaders, students, government, funders and educational leaders.
About Saskatchewan School Boards Association:
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to excellence in public education by providing leadership, coordination and services to Saskatchewan’s 28 locally-elected school boards. As part of the desired outcomes in its Vision 2025 strategic plan, the SSBA is committed to eliminating the achievement gap for all students in the province.
About the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations:
Many of the cultures and traditions of First Nations people in Saskatchewan flow from the teachings and practices of our forefathers and Elders of today. Our forefathers, who entered into Treaties with the Crown, did so with the intention of establishing mutually beneficial arrangements between the Crown and First Nations. The Chiefs and Headsmen who negotiated the Treaties also had the wisdom and forethought to provide for our generation and those yet to come. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the Spirit and Intent of the Treaties as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of Treaties that were made with the First Nations more than a century ago.
About Métis Nation Saskatchewan:
Métis Nation Saskatchewan represents the province of Saskatchewan’s more than 100,000 Métis citizens. The organization is led by a democratically elected leadership.
About Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships::
The Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) supports Aboriginal participation in the economy, with a particular focus on the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and the agriculture sectors. SPI enables more than a dozen partnering federal departments and agencies to provide a coordinated federal response to existing and emerging Aboriginal economic development opportunities. SPI builds partnerships among federal departments, Aboriginal communities, provincial and territorial governments and the private sector to help Aboriginal Canadians take advantage of complex market-driven opportunities in key sectors of the economy. The initiative’s funding is intended to fill gaps that cannot be addressed by existing programs. SPI fosters a whole-of-government approach to Aboriginal economic development by enabling federal partners to align investments and resources around shared objectives.
As the world’s largest crop nutrient company, PotashCorp plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. With global population rising and diets improving in developing countries, crop nutrients such as potash, phosphates and nitrogen offer a responsible and practical solution to help produce the food we need, from the land we have.
About The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative:
The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) was established in 2008 in order to initiate a variety of educational projects designed to provide Aboriginal Canadians with the opportunities they need to succeed. MAEI brings together Aboriginal organizations, the business community, post-secondary institutions, First Nation schools and provincially and territorially-funded school boards to implement programs to support Aboriginal students. Their goal is to implement initiatives that improve education at the elementary and secondary school levels for Aboriginal Canadians. MAEI believes that the development of knowledge and skills will provide Aboriginal youth with an incentive to continue their education. Projects are chosen in discussion with the pertinent Aboriginal leadership, provincial and territorial education authorities, and local business communities.
For further information please contact:
- The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative/The Right Honourable Paul Martin
- Saskatchewan School Boards Association
Scott Sibbald – Communications Consultant
- Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations
Mervin Brass – Director of Communications
(306) 956-1026 Ext. 131
- Métis Nation – Saskatchewan
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development – Saskatchewan Region
Rod Desnomie – Communications Advisor
Rhonda Speiss – Manager, Corporate Philanthropy
Media Advisory: Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program Expanding Across Province of Saskatchewan
October 1, 2013
On October 3, 2013, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and PotashCorp, together with the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan invite you to attend the groundbreaking provincial launch of MAEI’s Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The program is currently being taught in schools across Canada, including two Saskatchewan schools: Scott Collegiate in Regina and Oskayak High School in Saskatoon. Saskatchewan will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to coordinate a provincial roll out of the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP). The partnership represents a pivotal step forward in making the unique Aboriginal-focused entrepreneurship course more accessible to Indigenous students across Saskatchewan.
Under AYEP, Aboriginal students in grades 11 and 12 will gain entrepreneurial experience through the mentorship of local business leaders, while developing a range of skills through studying financial literacy, banking, and marketing. The innovative course seeks to empower students with the expertise to pursue their passions in business and entrepreneurship.
The Right Honorable Paul Martin, Canada’s 21st Prime Minister, along with Janet Foord of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Anna Fontaine, Regional Director General for the Saskatchewan Region of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Mike Hogan, President, PCS Potash at PotashCorp, Vice Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette, and local community leaders will be present for the announcement of the new initiative.
School Boards Look Forward to New Direction of Ministry of Education
August 8, 2013
After discussions earlier this month with Minister of Education Russ Marchuk and new Deputy Minister of Education Dan Florizone, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association is encouraged and excited about the new direction for education in this province.
“What we have heard is a direction that promises to be collaborative and cohesive in terms of developing strategic plans that will support the government’s and school boards’ mutual goals to improve student achievement in Saskatchewan,” said SSBA President Janet Foord.
Highlights of the discussions with Marchuk and Florizone included the assurance that boards of education will continue to be locally-elected and accountable to their electorate and that “education sector” strategic plans will be developed collaboratively as opposed to being Ministry-driven.
“As opposed to health boards who are appointed, we have been assured that the best decisions for education will continue to be made by locally-elected leaders,” said Foord. “Our reason for existence has always been to put students first, and we’re excited that we will continue to do that work with our partners in education and be accountable to our communities.”
School Boards Applaud the Provincial Auditor’s Analysis of Capital Asset Planning
June 20, 2013
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association appreciates the Office of the Provincial Auditor’s oversight and recommendations to the Ministry of Education regarding capital asset planning.
For many years, boards of education have advocated on behalf of “The Children’s Infrastructure” to ensure the safety and well-being of Saskatchewan’s Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, yet there continues to be an approximate $735 million backlog in approved capital projects, as stated in the Provincial Auditor’s report.
“Having the support of the Provincial Auditor regarding the development of a strategic long-term capital asset plan is helpful to us as boards,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “We need to ensure our facilities are conducive to meeting the provincial student achievement targets, which we are supportive of, and a long-term plan to address ‘The Children’s Infrastructure’ is necessary to ensure students have healthy and vibrant spaces to learn and grow.”
As stated in the report, approximately 70 percent of the 603 school buildings in the province are more than 40 years old. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada estimates the service life of education buildings at about 40 years old. Furthermore, in data the SSBA has collected, approximately 75 percent of roof systems in schools will fail in the next five years.
“These statistics are startling and only magnify the need for boards of education and the Ministry of Education to work together to develop a capital asset plan that will support ‘The Children’s Infrastructure’ now and into the future,” said Foord. “It’s a focus that we must share to ensure our students can meet the targets and strategic goals for education in the province.”
The Office of the Provincial Auditor may have said it best in the report, “The overall vision (direction) of the Government of Saskatchewan is ‘Saskatchewan will be the best place in Canada – to live, to work, to start a business, to get an education, to raise a family and to build a life.’ This direction should drive the Ministry’s strategic plan, which then should drive capital asset planning and decision-making. However, this is currently not the case.”
Provincial Budget Fails to Recognize Education’s Role in Continued Prosperity
March 20, 2013
Today’s provincial budget represents at best “status quo” for boards of education in Saskatchewan.
“As a result of the government’s decision to fully fund PreK-12 education in Saskatchewan, school boards are on a fixed income determined by the province and individual school boards have little flexibility to respond to challenges within school divisions,” said SSBA President Janet Foord.
In response to unprecedented student growth in the province, the government committed to increased funding.
“What this means, though, is that the government at best is maintaining funding not adding more resources to meet all students’ achievement needs. The targets for which boards are accountable have been mandated by the government this budget does not provide the resources required to achieve those targets,” said Foord.
The Government’s Plan for Growth sets out targets for school divisions to improve student achievement and to close the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.
“Currently, only 30 percent of Aboriginal students graduate from high school in Saskatchewan,” said Foord. “Today, the government announced a $3 million investment in First Nations and Métis education – that amounts to 0.0016 percent of the total PreK-12 education budget. This is simply unacceptable if the goal of eliminating the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student achievement gap is to be realized.”
As well, as the government has stated, with growth comes increased infrastructure and maintenance costs, with which school boards must also contend. Boards will continue to work with the government to develop a long-term sustainable capital plan.
“Education is the foundation for the continued growth and prosperity of this province,” said Foord. “Locally-elected school boards are held accountable for achieving the goals set out in the Plan for Growth. We expect and rely on the government to share in that accountability with continued investment in our children’s future.”
School Boards Look to Province for Funding Increases to Reflect Saskatchewan’s Growth
March 15, 2013
On Budget Day, March 20, school boards across Saskatchewan will be watching closely to see whether the government of Saskatchewan keeps its promises to Saskatchewan’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
The Premier has indicated that his government is committed to the “Growth Agenda” and improving student achievement in Saskatchewan. School boards will be looking for evidence of that commitment in next week’s provincial budget.
If Saskatchewan is to continue to grow, our students must form the basis of a skilled and professional workforce. Eliminating the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students is critical and must be addressed. By 2016, 45 percent of students entering Kindergarten in Saskatchewan’s provincial schools will be Aboriginal. As well, some areas of our province are experiencing unprecedented student growth, particularly among immigrant students who need additional supports, such as English as an Additional Language instruction.
The Premier has stated that this budget will involve “difficult choices”. Having taken sole responsibility for education funding, it is our sincere hope that Saskatchewan students will not be asked to shoulder the burden of the choices the government makes. School boards no longer have the option of turning to their local communities to make up for provincial operating funding shortfalls.
We acknowledge that since being elected in 2007, this government has consistently increased funding for K-12 education. If the growth of our province and the achievement of students are key priorities, this trend must continue.
School boards continue to advocate for children, youth, families and communities in our province. A strong and successful education system is critical to Saskatchewan’s future.
Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Janet Foord will be available in the Legislature’s rotunda to speak to the media following the delivery of the budget on March 20.
SSBA Explains That Standardized Testing is a Very Small Part of Student Assessment
February 14, 2013
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association is supportive of standardized testing for students, but explains that it is only a very small part of student assessment.
“The majority of a student’s assessment should and does take place in the classroom. That’s where real change happens to impact a student’s outcomes,” said SSBA President Janet Foord. “Standardized testing data is used to provide policy direction in determining where funding and supports are needed to ensure there are no gaps in learning in this province. It’s a snapshot in time and not a reflection of an individual student’s outcomes.”
It’s important to understand that standardized testing doesn’t identify students individually but provides an overview of data. This overview is crucial to locally-elected school boards to be accountable to the public in responding to local educational needs.
“We value the data that standardized testing provides because it allows us to analyze what policies or programs are providing successful outcomes on a system-wide level and what needs improvement,” said Foord.
Students in Saskatchewan now compete globally and standardized testing provides a glimpse at where students are in comparison to their counterparts provincially, nationally and internationally.
“The standardized testing helps provide clarity on a system-wide level,” said Foord. “However, it’s the individual work done with students in the classroom that is the most important factor in assessing student success.”
For more information contact:
Phone: (306) 569-0750
School Boards Fully Support Minimum 950 Instructional Hours for Students
January 24, 2013
School boards in Saskatchewan fully support the province’s move to regulate a minimum of 950 instructional hours for students, says the President of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.
“This is one of many measures schools boards in Saskatchewan see as necessary for improving student achievement in Saskatchewan,” said Janet Foord, President of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). “In fact, it was a recommendation of the SSBA and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) that led to this change.
“Currently, the achievement levels of Saskatchewan students rank seventh out of the ten Canadian provinces. This is not acceptable. Together with the government, school boards are committed to improving this result. Those who make the argument that it is ‘quality of instruction’ versus ‘quantity of instruction’ are mistaken. The two are not mutually exclusive. Our question is, ‘Why can we not have MORE hours of QUALITY instruction?’ We know that our parents, families, communities and province want our kids to do better.”
Local school boards with their professional staffs, parents and communities have been in the process for some time of working through the implications of this decision and arriving at a school calendar that will enable students to receive this increased direct instructional time within the post-Labour Day – June 30 school year and are confident that this can be achieved for the 2013-2014 school year.
“This announcement by the provincial government did not come as a surprise but as a welcome response to locally-elected school boards and their educational staff,” said Foord. “We are pleased that collaborative steps are being taken to help all Saskatchewan students succeed.”
Study Shows That School Boards Are a Successful and Effective Model for Governance of the Public School System
January 10, 2013
The Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) is pleased to endorse an important and comprehensive study launched January 10, 2013 entitled School Boards Matter: A Pan-Canadian Study of School District Governance by Bruce Sheppard, Gerald Galway, Jean Brown and John Wiens.
This important and timely study on school district governance deals head on with political trends affecting public education across Canada. At the heart of the study, the authors provide convincing evidence that, in fact, effective and successful school boards are important bodies in the education of our children.
“Boards of education use a wealth of research to strengthen their education practices and decisions. This report gives school boards data that will help strengthen school board governance and, as a result, student success,” said Sandi Urban-Hall, President of CSBA.
The study draws a strong correlation between effective school boards and successful public school systems and states that “strong and effective school boards are essential to maintaining a meaningful and sustainable public school system.” They provide clear answers to the question, “What are the attributes of effective schools boards in Canada?”
“This report is a valuable resource to back up what we’ve been saying – locally-elected school boards matter,” said Janet Foord, President of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association. “The attributes detailed in the report are crucial in understanding where school boards may have opportunities to improve student achievement and become more accountable to the communities they serve.”
This document will be an important resource to local school board trustees/commissioners across Canada, provincial school board associations and members of the CSBA Board of Directors.
The Canadian School Boards Association represents eight provincial associations throughout Canada.
For more information contact:
Managing Director, Canadian School Boards Association