Sackville Schools 2020 has had a busy start to 2016. We have been working on crafting our recommendation to the local District Education Council (DEC), as well as meeting with principals and students, our local MLA, and other stakeholders. We'll be reaching out to many parties across the province and beyond who have a role to play in the education system.
A summary of what's been done to-date:
• The working group came together in July of 2015 to set a goal of creating a 21st century learning environment in the Sackville school system
• The group informed the DEC of our formation and goals in September via a written submission and followed up with personal contacts
• Stuart Baker, Organizational Transformation specialist, facilitated a planning session for the working group on how to structure the larger community effort
• Collaboration Café 1.0 was held on October 18th, with 35 community members coming out to address three main questions: What does a 21st century learning environment look like physically? What happens within a 21stcentury learning environment? How do we make a 21st century learning environment a reality in Sackville? From this session came a number of action items.
• We reached out to a series of Advocates and Advisors to help us move forward:
◦ Bernard Leblanc, MLA
◦ Bob Berry, Mayor of Sackville
◦ Robert Campbell, President, Mount Allison University
◦ Mike Wilson, CEO of AIL Industries
◦ David Hawkins, President of XYZ Stratacom
◦ Robert Paterson, early childhood development advocate
• On October 29th, we met with Karen Power, co-secretariat of the Engage-NB Education Consultation committee, at a specially-‐convened meeting requested by Sackville Schools 2020. Over 25 people attended the meeting, including members of the general public and our working group.
• A Sackville Schools 2020 Facebook page was launched to share 21st century educational strategies that we came across, as well as to publicize events.
• On November 2nd, the working group and one of our school principals made a presentation to Sackville Town Council to inform them about Sackville Schools 2020’s work and that we would keep them informed of our progress
• Meetings were held with students in all three schools to determine what they would like to see from their school environments, as well with all three principals.
• In January, we had a conference call with David Roberts, CEO of C21, a national organization focused on delivering 21st century learning environments across the country . David has offered to lend his experience and advice to our work.
• We met with Adrienne O'Pray, President & CEO of the New Brunswick Business Council, on Jan 21st. In addition to her role with the NBBC, Adrienne has been involved in community movement-‐building and co-‐founded a private school in Moncton that focuses on students who sometimes struggle in the public system. Adrienne offered up a number of referrals and connections that we are pursuing at this time.
• Group member, Dr. Mike Fox, was invited to a wrap-up event in Fredericton for the Premier's 10-Year Strategic Planning for Education on January 28th as one of about 45 attendees, mostly from the Provincial government. There was lots of attention paid to "21st Century Learning" and "Collective Impact". Mike felt the timing appears right for Sackville to make the jump to this new educational approach.
• The same day, Brian Gallant gave his State of the Province speech and mentioned education is key to the province's long-‐term sustainability and prosperity 51 times.
• We had a meeting with the Chair of Mount Allison’s President's Strategic Planning Committee in January. This was followed up with a meeting with the Experiential Learning subcommittee, with whom we expect to be working as we move forward.
• We visited two of the province's newer rural schools in the Fredericton area to understand how the planning and execution processes happened in those communities. We learned that in both cases, local, community-driven projects were endorsed by the Department of Education and things moved quite quickly thereafter.
• Sackville Schools 2020’s website was launched, describing the goals of the group, our findings to-date, and a host of reference materials we have come across.
Letter sent to DEC
On March 2, 2016, Sackville Schools 2020 sent the ASD-E DEC a letter outlining our wish to be involved in the process of moving forward to provide the best learning environment we can to students in Sackville. You can view the complete letter and, below, read some of the main points:
[W]e would like to be a part of the review and planning process for the Sackville area schools. We were delighted to receive the committee’s confirmation that it would be looking for involvement and engagement from the community.
Based on what we have learned, we strongly believe it will not be possible to provide productive 21st century learning spaces if [Marshview and TRHS] are combined into the TRHS facility. TRHS’s building has serious infrastructure issues and many of the rooms previously considered as available classroom spaces are not suitable for instruction (no windows, inconsistent heating/cooling). Nor does the facility meet current school design principles or updated safety codes for a public building. This is to be expected – the school was designed using principles that are now almost 50 years old and outdated.
We strongly believe the primary outcome of the upcoming review of the Sackville area schools should be to create an effective and inspiring 21st century learning infrastructure for our students and teachers. Beyond reflecting the desires of our community, this goal is consistent with the Province’s 10‐Year Educational plan and the vision laid out by the Premier in his recent State of the Province address.
Sackville Schools 2020 looks forward to hearing the response from the DEC to the letter sent on March 2.