Minister Responds to Attendance Report

first_imgEducation Minister Marilyn More has outlined steps to get students to spend more time in class and focus on learning in her response today, Nov. 2, to a report on student engagement. The minister accepted 10 of 13 recommendations made by the Working Committee on Absenteeism and Classroom Climate who examined ways to improve student attendance and better motivate students in their learning. The committee, chaired by former deputy minister Howard Windsor, consisted of teachers, students, parents and principals. “In order to effectively address this complex issue, we must work together to improve attendance and break the cycle of low student engagement,” said Ms. More. “I have spent a lot of time considering the advice of the working group, and the thousands of Nova Scotians who participated in the consultation process, and I am confident that the accepted recommendations will work to get more students back in class and interested in what they are learning.” Over the past year, the minister, along with members of the working committee held a series of meetings with parents, principals, students, and other education partners to get feedback on why students are missing class. The discussions determined that engaging students more in the learning process has a positive affect on attendance as opposed to only strengthening policies and regulations. Key actions in the minister’s response include: strengthen lines of communication with parents and students establish structures to monitor attendance at the school board level speed up the development of the student information system develop clear policies for staged interventions on attendance issues strengthen in-school suspension and learning support opportunities develop guidelines for students to recover credits for missed courses require attendance as a pre-requisite for receiving credit for a course. A 2-year trial basis will begin in September where students who miss more than 20 per cent of class time will not be eligible to receive credit for that course. “The minister has taken the time to listen, question and understand the issues involved in our schools in regard to absenteeism and school climate,” said Gary Walker, principal of Halifax West High School. “The supports the minister is recommending confirm the belief that school attendance and active participation will lead to a positive learning environment.” “I want to thank the committee for their work, and the many Nova Scotian’s who participated in the consultation process,” said Ms. More. “Your insights and comments have been invaluable in the preparation of my response, and look forward to working with you to bring these recommendations to life.” The minister’s response can be viewed at www.ednet.ns.calast_img

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