Caught up in day-to-day life, it’s easy to lose sight of how much we’ve accomplished this year. At the District, I’m inspired by how much our staff – teachers, support and exempt staff, custodians and maintenance workers – accomplish in the service of children.
So, as 2016 draws to a close, let me share a few of the District’s key achievements and how we intend to help even more of our students reach their best next year and beyond.
Our role in students’ lives doesn’t begin on the first day of Kindergarten and end with graduation. We’re always looking for more ways we can help young learners get ready for school and for high school students to find continued success after Grade 12.
To that end, we’re expanding our Pre-Kindergarten Program for English language learners and children who have mild, moderate or severe developmental delays. Working with these little ones early increases their chances of reaching key learning milestones when they start Grade 1. (We’ll be publishing more information about the program on epsb.ca at the end of January).
Likewise, our K-12 classrooms are now far more complex than ever before. District staff will continue to refine existing specialized tools, and create new ones, to help English language learners and students with special needs, while developing supports for specific areas, including literacy and numeracy.
Our Math Intervention Programming Instrument (MIPI) - a tool created by District teachers to help identify students who may need extra support in math - is a case in point. Introduced three years ago, MIPI continues to inform how we can improve student success in mathematics.
The District has also worked hard to improve results for students who self-identify as First Nations, Métis and Inuit. While we are encouraged by increased graduation rates over time, we acknowledge there is much more to be done to close the achievement gap.
In addition to equity in educational opportunities, the District is supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work by equipping staff to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit teaching and learning. And we will continue to make reconciliation part of our everyday school lives, engaging students, families and community members to ensure schools are safe and welcoming environments.
Long committed to ensuring success beyond school, we will also continue supporting students seeking to earn credits towards university courses and trades qualifications while still at school – ensuring they enter post-secondary education and training at an advantage wherever possible.
Of course, our end goal is to help more students complete high school with the skills to live a life of dignity and fulfilment, whether that means further academic study, starting an apprenticeship, entering the workforce or moving toward independent living. But we know the District will only succeed through collaboration. Educating children is a collective responsibility, and we can’t do it without your participation and partnership.
So, I’d like to take this opportunity not only to wish you a very happy 2017, but also to thank you for everything you do each day to support the success of our kids.