Parrsboro schools reach milestone

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Education minister joins ceremony recognizing first accredited school under new provincial program

School improvement was celebrated here today, as Parrsboros elementary and high schools became the first in the province awarded accreditation under a new provincial program.

School improvement was celebrated here today, as Parrsboros elementary and high schools became the first in the province awarded accreditation under a new provincial program.

For the past five years the rural schools have been working towards the goal by setting higher standards, increasing student achievement and improving the schools overall performance, and education minister Karen Casey was among the many dignitaries on hand to celebrate the achievement on Monday, May 28.

I am extremely proud of staff, students and community members who have put so much effort into meeting their goals, said Casey. This is a school that has successfully pioneered a school-improvement strategy that leads to a model for other schools across Nova Scotia.

Parrsboro was one of eight schools successfully selected in 2002 to pilot the Nova Scotia Accreditation Program, a province-wide school improvement process. Parrsboro focused its efforts on improving student achievement in mathematics and language arts, and demonstrated progress.

Grade 6 writing results are above the provincial average and 11 per cent of the schools students improved reading levels between 2003 and 2006. At the high school level, academic performance improved by 17 per cent, and results for students taking the English 12 and English Communications 12 provincial exams were at or above the provincial average.

Our entire school community put a great deal of time and effort into this plan, said principal Pam Hoar. We set our sights high for the sake of our students, and we are proud of the growth we have seen. The accreditation program has helped us foster a culture of continuous improvement.

The Nova Scotia Accreditation Program requires schools meet a standard of excellence based on goals that are specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-based and timely (SMART).

Under the program, schools establish internal review teams to collect and evaluate data to identify both strengths and areas needing improvement. Based on those areas needing improvement, schools develop goals and a five-year school-improvement plan. An external review team of independent educators and administrators approves the plan before it is implemented. Schools receive accreditation after they show progress in their improvement plans.

This acknowledgement validates the dedication and commitment of our educators, assuring the community that our children are receiving the highest quality of education available, said Kyle Hebb, chairman of the schools advisory council. As we now move forward, it is time to savour and reflect on this great recognition and achievement, yet use what has been learned throughout this experience to accomplish even greater successes for the future.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: English Communications

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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