Welcoming students back to school
Thousands of new and returning students across the province will benefit from greater access to programs, staff resources and renewed curriculum this year.
Staffing for schools across the province has increased by 159 FTE frontline positions – including 59.5 FTE teachers, 92 FTE educational assistants, 2 FTE Speech Language Pathologists, 3.5 FTE school counsellors, and 2 FTE bus drivers.
“The start of a new school year is always an exciting time for students and families! We have listened to the needs of our school communities and are adding additional resources to support our students and staff. Our aim is to set our students up for success both emotionally and academically.”
- Education and Early Years Minister Natalie Jameson
The 2023/24 school year will start for teachers on September 1, with students starting on September 7. The province is providing free school supplies for all students from kindergarten to grade nine, as well as new equipment for our trades classes and added supports to address both academic and behavioral needs of students.
"We have heard from parents of the need for more resources and staffing, so we are pleased that the province is responding to those needs and adding over 150 positions. It is great that the province is providing school supplies for our kindergarten to Grade 9 students, which will be a financial weight lifted off parent's shoulders this year. It is also comforting to know that students will start on an even level and will be able to focus on learning, studying, growing, and connecting," said Dionne Tuplin, President of the Home and School Federation.
School curriculum is designed to articulate what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. Reviewing and modernizing curriculum is an essential part of the work happening within the Department of Education and Early Years. This year renewed and pilot curriculum programs will be rolled out elementary, intermediate and high school levels (see Backgrounder for full details).
With the return to the full curriculum, the Department will be implementing a renewed Provincial Assessment Program. The assessments will cover all levels (international, national, provincial and school-based) with an emphasis on school-based assessments. Provincial assessments in writing and mathematics will be administered at grades six and nine on a rotational basis, every other year and will be based on a statistical sample. With the exception of program evaluations, there are no scheduled provincial assessments at grade three.
“I want to wish our students, teachers and school staff a school year filled with learning, fun and success,” added Minister Jameson.
Department of Education and Early Years
In elementary school, grade two classrooms will continue to rollout the FUNdations program across the Public School Board (PSB), providing best practices in reading instruction for young students.
The French language school board (CSLF) will be launching its new initiative to enhance French-language oral competencies in students from K-12.
Integrated curriculum will be piloted in grades five and six classrooms. This is an inquiry-based and experiential learning approach, which draws from outcomes of various curricula and incorporates Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. Language Arts and Mathematics will continue to be taught as stand-alone subjects with direct teaching during the school day.
Curriculum renewal at grades seven to nine reflects best practices of teaching and learning for this age group. Exploratory Clusters will expand beyond the traditional curriculum of foods, clothing, woods, metals, technology, art and music. Schools will be able to offer a variety of modules including, financial literacy, STEAM (stop-motion animation, game makers, interactive art), digital photography, Genius Hour, Mi'kmaq Language and Culture (pilot), community service learning and locally developed modules that focus on the development of competencies.
A grade 10 Civics course has been added to the High School Program of Studies, meeting Government’s commitment to provide a dedicated course. The Essential Skills Achievement Pathway (ESAP) is a unique combination of coursework and competency development that is project-based focusing on a student’s interests and aspirations. The ESAP Program pilot will be expanded to Kinkora High school, with Montague and Colonel Gray High Schools piloting year two.
The Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, Social Emotional Learning Consultant and Diversity Consultant continue to provide direction and input on curriculum renewal.