NOTE: The following is a news release from the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions.
The Council to Improve Classroom Conditions released its report today, April 28. The report contains 40 recommendations including expanding class caps to junior/middle school and high school.
The council has allocated $9.3 million of its year one funding of $10 million to address its initial recommendations. The council expects to make recommendations on its additional $700,000 before the end of the current school year. One recommendation calls for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to match $1 million to assist teachers in priority schools. With this included, a total of $11 million, and at least 139 new teachers, will be available to improve classroom conditions in the 2017-18 school year.
Highlights of the recommendations include:
— implementing a provincewide class cap of 28 students (with flexibility up to 30) for junior high/middle school, requiring the hiring of 49 teachers at a cost of approximately $2.9 million
— implementing a provincewide class cap of 30 students (with flexibility up to 32) for high school, requiring the hiring of 50 teachers at a cost of approximately $3 million
— hiring an additional 40 teachers for a junior high/middle school pilot project to support math and literacy in classrooms that have high numbers of students with special needs at a cost of about $2.4 million
— creating a pilot project to provide $50,000 grants to priority schools with the most complex classrooms at a cost of $1 million
— requesting the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to match $1 million for the priority school grants pilot project, allowing a total of 40 schools to receive grants
Priority schools are defined as those schools where provincial achievement results in literacy and math indicate additional support is required.
Additional recommendations from the council include:
— better engaging teachers, administrators, parents, students, and other stakeholders in the work of the council
— eliminating and streamlining provincial and school board assessments
— developing an assessment policy that respects teachers’ professional judgment on passing and holding back students, deadlines, and marks
— finalizing a draft attendance policy that increases expectations and accountability for attendance
— ensuring teachers have more time to plan and prepare individual program plans and that students on such plans are more evenly distributed across classes
— streamlining data collection and reporting
— scheduling evaluation and administration days before report card due dates
— improving technology and work processes to reduce the time teachers spend on data entry.
The council also put forward a recommendation that the minister of Education and Early Childhood Development explore ways to increase the readiness of children to learn and succeed when they enter Grade Primary.
This report includes recommendations put forward by the council in March.
The council’s full report is available online at www.novascotia.ca/classroomcouncil. The council will next meet on May 17, 18, and 19.