Province purchases 10,000 new Chromebook laptops for students, announces focus on outdoor learning

NS Government release:

Nova Scotia is delivering new Chromebooks, new courses and a new focus on outdoor learning as the province’s 130,000 students and pre-primary children return to public schools this week.

“This can be an exciting time of year for families and students, and I want you all to know that everyone in the school community is working together, committed to delivering excellence in both student achievement and well-being,” said Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We continue to invest in our education system so that it meets the learning and social needs of our students.”

The Province has purchased more than 10,000 new computers and other devices for schools across Nova Scotia. Students in higher grades will have access to individual computers, and younger students will use technology as needed for group and classroom projects.

Schools will ensure students receive school supplies if needed. In addition to Nova Scotia’s universal breakfast program, any student who needs food at school will receive it. Mental health supports are also available.

There are a number of new initiatives and courses for students this year. New teacher-inspired pilot projects under Ideas for Education include:
— creating elementary math specialists (either individual teachers like there are for physical education and music, or implement as a team-teaching model)
— expanding existing junior high school support group models
— expanding programs like GuysWork to promote healthy masculinity in schools.

Additionally, this year will see:
— a new pilot course called Netukulimk and the Environment 11, which blends Mi’kmaw and Indigenous knowledge and western science using land-based experiences
— a new physical activity framework intended to increase active learning and reduce sedentary behaviour
— more term substitutes hired throughout the province
— reinstatement of all elements of the Student Attendance and Engagement Policy to encourage and support students in attending school.

The Province has also introduced Life 11, a new course that allows students to ask and answer important life questions like: Is it better to lease or purchase a car? When should I get a credit card, and what is a credit rating? How does government work? How do I cook a balanced meal?

The Province’s skilled trades team is also introducing a new certificate program for high school students who want to combine industry-related learning and focused course selection. Implementation of the High Skills Major Program will begin in a small number of schools; program details will be released in the fall.

Nova Scotia is also moving ahead with a new literacy strategy with a clear focus on phonics and phonological awareness. Details will be shared later this month.

The Province continues to invest in school capital repairs and new buildings. The new West Bedford High School, which includes a skilled trades centre, and West Bedford School are opening to students this week.

Outcomes from the consultation on strengthening local voices in the school system, launched last December, are being finalized and will be shared with schools, school advisory councils, students and families this fall.

Quick Facts:
— children return to school on Wednesday, September 6, across the province and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, except Halifax Regional Centre for Education, (HRCE), which returns on Thursday, September 7
— students attending West Bedford School, West Bedford High School and Bedford and Forsyth Education Centres in HRCE start on Friday, September 8
— there are about 130,000 students and 10,000 teachers in Nova Scotia’s public school system
— over the last few years, the Province has facilitated the purchase of more than 50,000 new devices, including computers, to support learning in schools and at home

Additional Resources:
This year’s projects under the Nova Scotia School Capital Plan, which include $30 million for energy efficiency improvements, elevator upgrades, new windows, repairs to roofs and more are available at:

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