School boards launch Lead & Achieve Phase II: Achieving Better

School boards in Nova Scotia will launch Phase II of their Lead & Achieve Education Action Plan at a news conference Monday, December 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Nova Scotia School Boards Association (NSSBA) office at 95 Victoria Road in Dartmouth. Phase II: Achieving Better
Classrooms consists of a second Progress Report and plans for a second round of public consultation.
The Second Progress Report highlights school boards’ top three priorities from the conclusions contained in the boards’ 2004 Education Position Paper. In the Report, boards outline examples of programs and initiatives they have implemented to help students achieve success. The Second Progress Report will be available on the Association website (www.nssba.ednet.ns.ca) following its release. The Education Position Paper and the 2004 Progress Report are already available online.
The top three priorities identified by boards relate to 1) providing curriculum and programs to meet the diverse learning styles and needs of all students, from the gifted to the special needs; 2) developing additional programs at the grade 9 -12 levels that would provide students with hands-on, trade-related skills and experiences; and 3) delivering services to students with greater coordination between the Departments of Health, Community Services, Justice and Recreation, and the local school. Boards also stress the importance of having sufficient education funding to maintain and improve current initiatives, and to continue to develop other programs to meet students’ needs.
“School boards, in consultation with their community, have the unique ability to determine the most important needs for students in their area, and to allocate their education dollars accordingly,” says Association President Ron Marks. “This Progress Report illustrates the creative ways in which boards and their employees are working together and cooperating with partners to provide innovative and much needed programs for students.”
School boards feel it is crucial to work with parents and other community members, teachers, students and all partners, to make positive change. While school boards regularly communicate and consult with their community members and partners, the last provincial public consultation hosted by school boards was held in 2003. Boards will be seeking further input from the public on improving public education in early 2006. Each board will determine the most effective manner of gathering opinions and suggestions from their respective
community. Consultation may take a variety of forms, including forums, focus groups, School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings and workshops, partner discussions and online surveys.
School board members are the only people in Canada who are elected by the public solely to serve students and their education. They are the body through which members of the public can most directly influence decisions about schools and the formulation of local education objectives.

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