Local school divisions embrace new provincial directive

Nathan Liewicki
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Education Sector Strategic Plan to enhance student support

Saskatchewan’s education ministry recently announced a historic Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) initiative.

Prairie South School Division Superintendent of Learning Lori Meyer.

The initiative, which will provide both short and long-term outcome goals between now and 2020, is something Lori Meyer, superintendent of learning for the Prairie South School Division (PSSD), said is a tremendous idea.

“I think the beauty of this Education Sector Strategic Plan is that it allows us to have access to more resources provincially,” said Meyer. “We are not recreating the wheel in 28 school divisions.”

“We’ll actually know what things have worked in other places, or will be able to share with other divisions what has worked for us.”

She added that the ESSP initiative will give PSSD greater access to a lot more resources and help all of the province’s school division’s to align under one directive.

The sector priorities for this coming school year are reading and First Nations and Métis learning outcomes.

According to Meyer, PSSD has had First Nations goals in their learning plans for the last five or six years. She said the division will work on tweaking those long-term goals and ensuring they align with the provincial plans that are in place.

Geri Hall, superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division (HTCSD), noted that HTCSD has also focused on First Nations and Métis learning.

“We have had a First Nations and Métis teacher on special assignment for the last number of years, and we are always interested in tracking the achievement levels of all of our students, including First Nations and Metis,” Hall told the Times-Herald.

She added that because self-declaration, the number of First Nations and Métis students in HTCSD schools has steadily increased for the last eight or nine years.

This, Hall said, has allowed the teacher on special assignment to provide enhanced support for teachers to understand how to teach culturally sensitive issues, such as residential school and treaty teaching.

As for reading goals, Hall said HTCSD has an excellent process of supporting children to learn to read, and using those skills in upper grades.

“When the province is looking at reading goals, we believe that we’re on a very good path because we have been putting in the resources to support children when it comes to one of the greatest gifts we could give them – reading,” said Hall. “And we’ll continue to do that.”

While both local school divisions said they have and will continue to develop short and long-term plans in reading and First Nations and Métis learning, there are other areas the divisions will expand under the ESSP.

For HTCSD, mathematics is a priority. For PSSD, math is also a priority, as are graduation rates and early learning. 

“We’ll put our Prairie South stamp on it with some of the particular activities that we’ll undertake, but we are all walking together towards the same larger outcome, which is fabulous,” said Meyer. “It’s something I’m really excited about.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Prairie South School Division, First Nations, Holy Trinity Catholic School Division Times-Herald

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