Plan set out

A presentation and discussion of the framework for a new provincial education plan for 2020-2030 took place during a regular Chinook School Division board meeting, Jan. 13.

Director of Education Kyle McIntyre made a presentation about the framework, which will be used by the Ministry of Education to create a new action plan for the education of students during the next decade.

The new provincial education plan for the prekindergarten to Grade 12 school system will replace the five-year Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), the first-ever province-wide plan that provided outcome goals for education for the period 2015-2020.

“This is a very different structure than the last Education Sector Strategic Plan,” he said during the presentation. “That sector plan was based on a Hoshin Kanri, which is from Lean Japanese methodology that was implemented by the Deputy Minister Dan Florizone. Probably the piece that was different in the last plan to this plan was some of the different groups and partners that have been involved and will be involved in this planning process.”

This framework for a new education plan is the result of a year-long engagement process with various stakeholders. A provincial education summit took place in October 2018. There was an online survey during April and May 2019, and in-person engagement sessions in the spring of 2019.

This framework for the new provincial education plan is based on four pillars. These pillars are skills and knowledge, mental health and well-being, connections among people and relationships between systems and structures, and the creation of inclusive, safe and welcoming learning environments.

The framework outlines various structures and processes that will be followed by education sector partners during the development of the new plan.

McIntyre noted that the Minister of Education will work back and forth with the council of school board chairs. There will also be an education council, which will consist of representatives from key education partner organizations.

The operational structure for the plan will include senior ministry officials, directors of education from the different school divisions, and First Nations and Métis education organizations. This group will operationalize the new plan through the creation of outcomes, measures and key actions.

“That’s going to be work that’s going to start to occur in January and February,” he said. “Much like our Education Sector Strategic Plan now, a level one plan is set by the province. There will be the expectation that every school division will have a level two plan, so that’s the division and educational organization plan, and the idea being that there will be school plans. … The divisions will get some feedback from staff and SCC's and then they'll implement these plans for the fall of 2020. So the timeline is extremely ambitious.”

According to McIntyre it is too early to know what will change or remain the same between the current ESSP and the new education plan.

“I'm wondering whether we will continue to focus on graduation rates, whether we will continue to focus on early intervention and intervention in literacy and math,” he said. “I hope so, but that's going to come off as we add some new responsibilities.”

He is confident the Chinook School Division will be ready to implement the new education plan in September.

“I'm confident that we have the skilled and caring staff in our division to implement whatever the ministry decides we're going to implement,” he said. “The expectation is that we are aligned with that and we’ll certainly be good teammates and we’ll continue to do what’s best for the kids.”

Board members made a few remarks about the framework for the new plan after the presentation. Al Bridal felt the basic principles of education will remain the same.

“No matter what happens with this, we still want our kids to read, to write, to be able to do math, and to graduate,” he said.

Tim Weinbender wondered about the cost to implement the new education plan and what that will mean for the school division.

“Whatever direction they go, it's going to end up costing us money, and at the end of the day that's the one thing we don't have,” he said.

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