P.E.I.’s education minister says focus placed on both academic success and well-being of students
The Guardian (Charlottetown)21 Jul 2017BY JIM DAY
JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN
Doug Currie, minister of education, early learning and culture, chaired the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CEMEC) during meetings in Charlottetown Wednesday and Thursday. Currie says the emotional and social well-being of students is “top of mind’’ for the ministers.
P.E.I.’s education minister says the social and emotional well-being of Island students is “pivotal’’ for their success in learning.
“That’s a significant focus on new curriculum – curriculum that will respond to the needs of our children in our elementary and our intermediate schools,’’ says Doug Currie.
He says the social and emotional well-being of students was “top of mind’’ for education ministers who met in Charlottetown this week.
Ministers from all provinces and territories gathered for the 106th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), chaired by Currie, to discuss initiatives, programs and approaches related to student well-being in their respective jurisdictions.
They paid particular attention to mental health, safe, accepting and healthy learning environments and equitable and inclusive education.
Currie told The Guardian after the meeting concluded early Thursday afternoon that his department is putting a priority on the social and emotional well-being of Island students.
He noted a new student well-being support team, consisting of school health nurses, a social worker, occupational therapist and youth outreach workers, will begin in the fall in the Westisle family of schools.
Student well-being teams will be established in 2018-2019 in the Colonel Gray, Souris and Morell and Bluefield families of schools, followed in 2019-2020 in the Charlottetown Rural, Kinkora and Kensington and Three Oaks families.
“If students are struggling, they are not going to reach their potential,’’ says Currie.
“So to have resources that are accessible, on the ground, as opposed to calling someone to get an appointment to see someone a month down the road — this is timely access.’’
He feels Prince Edward Island is on the right track but has more work to do.
“It’s about investment in our youth,’’ he says.
“The needs of schools and children and families is changing dramatically.’’
The education ministers released a framework, which includes shared perspectives on transitioning successfully from secondary school to post-secondary education.
The framework provides a benchmarking tool and an action plan template intended to provide guidance based on good practices identified through pan-Canadian and international scans.
Each province and territory will be able to use the elements of the framework that best suit its specific objectives and context.
Currie says P.E.I. and other provinces and territories have long championed the importance of effective transition mechanisms.
“Our new framework will be a useful tool for ensuring that a student’s journey through school, and from school to work, is a successful one,’’ he says.
The discussed the importance of ensuring students are equipped for the digital world.
They also shared measures taken to foster improved math performance, they agreed to begin work on the development of a pan-Canadian strategy for assessing global competencies and they discussed measures taken to foster improved math performance in their respective jurisdictions.
“We’re making gains and improvements and we’re trying to be strategic in responding to the needs of the learner, not only from an academic perspective but from a digital perspective and from a social and emotional perspective,’’ says Currie.
“So we’re trying to respond to the whole learner.’’