Students, parents and educators are working together to develop a focused direction for excellence in the education system through district advisory councils, says Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie.
“Government is committed to drawing on the expertise of Islanders to help shape an education system that will truly support Island learners, through a new model of collaboration and shared leadership in learning,” said Minister Currie. “The district advisory councils provide a stronger voice for students and parents in shaping public policy in K-12 education.”
Eight district advisory councils met from early February to early March. The councils include 20 students, 55 school council representatives, including 12 teachers and eight regional representatives from the PEI Home and School Federation.
One common theme was the need to support student wellness with more integrated services across government to address mental health and other challenges. Councils also wanted to ensure that assessment results are used to improve academic achievement. There were also concerns about the ever changing nature of Island classrooms and the demands that class composition place on students and teachers.
“With the first DAC meetings completed, I believe the education system on Prince Edward Island is heading in a positive direction,” said Charlottetown Rural student and District Advisory Council member Taylor MacBeath. “I believe that having students all across the province be part of this process will have many positive outcomes, as it will be students in the end who are directly affected by these decisions.”
Student representatives brought forward suggestions to improve programs and services for high achieving students, so that successful students feel challenged to reach their full potential. Students shared concerns about how anxiety issues affect their peers, coupled with their concerns about being properly prepared for post-secondary education. Many students felt they would benefit from more project-based learning and 21st century instructional techniques.
“The rich dialogue has shown that our council members have a deep hope that we can revisit our current practices, re-assessing the status quo, all with the shared goal of helping Island students fulfill their potential,” said Pat Campbell, District Advisory Council Engagement Officer. “Now that we have begun to identify the challenges our students, teachers and parents face, we will work towards developing shared solutions at our next round of meetings in April.”
Along with the district advisory councils, as part of government’s new model of collaboration and shared leadership in learning, the Learning Partners Advisory Council and the Principals Council also met in February and will meet again in the coming months.
Highlights from the meetings are now available online at http://www.gov.pe.ca/eecd/DAC