NOTE: The following is a news release from the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions.
The Council to Improve Classroom Conditions is investing $1.9 million over the next two years to implement 14 pilot projects aimed at improving student attendance across the province.
Funding will be used to hire 14 attendance support workers, assigned to families of schools, feeder schools, or individual schools within each school board. Each pilot project will be supported by a fund for attendance programming and supports, based on the needs of the students and schools being served.
“The attendance support worker will work with students, families, and schools to understand why students are missing time, and connect them with supports and services within the school, school board and community,” said Jennifer Bruce, council member and teacher at E.B. Chandler Junior High in Amherst. “This pilot is also about sharing responsibility for improving attendance, so it is not left on the shoulders of teachers alone.”
School boards will nominate schools to take part in the pilot projects, to be reviewed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. The pilot, which will run until June 2019, will begin as soon as staff are hired. The pilot will also be evaluated to inform plans to expand attendance support workers to more schools.
In addition to this funding, the 14-member Council has already invested $9.3 million of its year-one funding of $10 million to hire 139 new teachers, implement provincewide class caps in junior high and high school, and provide grants to schools with complex classroom needs.
The Attendance Support Worker Pilot Project supports and builds on the Student Attendance and Engagement Policy that was released and came into effect on Oct. 1.
The council will next meet on Dec. 4-6.