Increasing student success and achievement in the classroom is the focus of a discussion paper on student attendance.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is asking for feedback from teachers, parents, students, administrators and employers about key issues and ideas to help improve overall attendance.
“Our teachers and schools do an exceptional job to support students and their families, but there is a need for improvement when it comes to attendance,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey.
“We all have a role to play to better understand the complexities around why some students are missing valuable class time. The new policy will provide a consistent approach in schools and be based on research and what Nova Scotians tell us in response to the discussion paper.”
The department has already started discussing issues around attendance with teachers and administrators and with the Minister’s Advisory Council on Student Issues.
The key issues include:
— looking at why students miss school
–- the best ways to improve attendance, considering incentives, supports and consequences
— what is working in our schools and research on best practices elsewhere
–- the responsibilities of parents, schools, school boards, community partners, and students
–- the importance of flexibility, based on the student’s individual circumstances and the professional judgment of teachers
–- equity and fairness in applying an attendance policy
The Action Plan for Education is designed to help students do better and that includes supporting regular attendance at school through a provincewide student attendance policy.
Recent information shows as many as 28 per cent of all students missed more than 16 days of school in 2014-15. That percentage rose to 37 per cent for students in junior high-middle school.
“By developing good attendance habits students will be in a better position to achieve success at school, in life, and in the workplace,” said Ms. Casey.
Feedback will be received through an online survey, focus groups, and stakeholder consultations. The survey will be open until July 8. Based on that information, the department will develop a new policy that will be implemented in the fall.
The questionnaire is available at novascotia.ca/education .