Report of the Panel on the Status of Public Education in NL 2015-16
RECOMMENDATION 1. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with the NLTA, Faculty of Education and other stakeholders develop a plan to increase the number of instructional resource teachers, school counsellors, educational psychologists, speech language pathologists and student assistants. The allocation formula providing supports for students with special needs and challenging needs should be truly a needs-based assessment and generous in application.
RECOMMENDATION 2. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with the NLTA and other stakeholders establish a new class size cap for classes with a composition diversity of greater than 10% in primary, elementary, intermediate and senior high schools.
RECOMMENDATION 3. That the Department of Education and the School District(s) in consultation with stakeholders consider the creation of an alternative path for some children. In such cases this would normally be short term, as the school district would then assess school-based supports and initiate training in preparation for a return to school.
RECOMMENDATION 4. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with schools, the NLTA and Memorial University create training and support programs for parents of learning disabled and autistic children, and others as needed.
RECOMMENDATION 5. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with the Faculty of Education and the NLTA, initiate province-wide professional development, new degree configurations and mediums of delivery to improve the training of current teachers and administrators in autism and learning disabilities. These efforts should have links to credentialing through the university and provincial certification.
RECOMMENDATION 6. That Government give serious consideration to the inclusion of social workers as professional employees within schools to support existing personnel.
RECOMMENDATION 7. That Government, consistent with the practice in other provinces, include occupational therapists as professional employees in schools.
RECOMMENDATION 8. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders take the steps necessary to ensure a greater coordination of services between the education and health sectors.
RECOMMENDATION 9. That Memorial University and the Department of Education support the Faculty of Education in its process of arm’s length research into early learning. This could be in the form of a Canada Research Chair (CRC) or a faculty member as an existing Faculty Research Chair (FRC).
RECOMMENDATION 10. That the Faculty of Education seek to create a model classroom as an early childhood learning centre.
RECOMMENDATION 11. That the Faculty of Education create a path or specialization within the primary-elementary program in early childhood learning.
RECOMMENDATION 12. That the Department of Education assist the Faculty of Education to develop a plan for the Faculty of Education to hire additional faculty or associates to address early learning teacher development.
RECOMMENDATION 13. That the Faculty of Education and Department of Education place more emphasis on teaching in multi-age settings, not just for rural schools, but wherever a school community seeks to embrace the concept.
RECOMMENDATION 14. That the Department of Education in cooperation with stakeholders develop multi-age and multi-grade curriculum documents for various grade level and age configurations.
RECOMMENDATION 15. That the NLTA reestablish a Small Schools Special Interest Council.
RECOMMENDATION 16. That the Department of Education, NLTA, and Nunatsiavut Government negotiate a path of entry for graduates of the IBED program targeted at schools within the Nunatsiavut territory.
RECOMMENDATION 17. That Government seek to create community schools in cooperation with other agencies.
RECOMMENDATION 18. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders review the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District with a view to creating local educational authorities. Failing this, create regional professional growth and development centers in partnership with the Department of Education, district personnel, schools, MUN and NLTA (support for instructional leadership, professional development, technology and literacy/numeracy).
RECOMMENDATION 19. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders delegate more decision-making power to the school level. This includes granting more administrative time to schools and more support and training for school councils.
RECOMMENDATION 20. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders provide more support for a provincial organization of school councils, and perhaps an elected regional affiliation with the school districts.
RECOMMENDATION 21. That the Department of Education and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders embrace the work of the Relationships First Consortium in support of the principles of restorative justice, school discipline, and safe and caring schools.
RECOMMENDATION 22. That Government provide additional resources to address child mental health concerns and in particular embrace the ratio of 1 counsellor to 250 students.
RECOMMENDATION 23. That the Department of Education reevaluate curriculum and learning as being Internet dependent and consider outdoor, experiential, land-based and ocean programs as tools for learning.
RECOMMENDATION 24. That the Faculty of Education support more arts, outdoor, experiential, land-based and ocean programs as part of its teacher development programs in addition to the use of technology.
RECOMMENDATION 25. That the Department of Education and the School District(s) clarify and, if necessary, revise student evaluation and assessment policies and procedures. This should include a communication plan for parents and guardians as to the policy.
RECOMMENDATION 26. That the Department of Education, NLTA, Memorial University and the School District(s) review and improve the supports for numeracy and related mathematics teaching approaches in order to better support the ongoing implementation of the mathematics curriculum. This would include a strategy for informing parents as to their role in this transition.
RECOMMENDATION 27. That the Faculty of Education and the Department of Education jointly research the relative performance of the province’s high school graduates on entering Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, as well as other Canadian universities.
RECOMMENDATION 28. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders encourage regional and local partnerships with schools and other organizations to support common infrastructure and technology needs.
RECOMMENDATION 29. That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with stakeholders ensure that schools that are reliant on the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) have adequate bandwidth to allow for uninterrupted instruction.
RECOMMENDATION 30. That the Faculty of Education and the Department of Education need to consider technology training as part of their respective programing and professional development.
RECOMMENDATION 31. That the Department of Education, the School District(s) and the Faculty of Education work to create a cadre of faculty associates focused on core specializations (e.g., numeracy, technology, literacy, assessment and early learning). These efforts should have links to credentialing through the university and provincial certification.
RECOMMENDATION 32. That Government establish a Royal Commission on the Future of Education in Newfoundland and Labrador.