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​Students and staff at Summerhill Elementary School in Oromocto were captivated by the heart wrenching story of Phyllis (Jack) Wedstad, a Canadian residential school survivor and executive director of the Orange Shirt Society, who spoke at a school assembly on Jan. 22.

It was Wedstad's story from her childhood that inspired Orange Shirt Day, the writing of her two children's books, and now her national tour, funded by Heritage Canada, to spread the message that "Every Child Matters." 

"My story is not unique," Wedstad said. "It is the story of residential school survivors across Canada."

Wedstad was six-years-old and living with her grandmother at the Dog Creek Reserve along the Fraser River in British Columbia when she left home on a two-hour drive to attend the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School in 1973-74. She was excited to being going to school and wearing her new orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother. But fear and trepidation set in as soon as she arrived at the door.

"When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, cut my hair and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again," Wedstad explained. "I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared. We were taken from our homes. We did not have a choice but to go to residential school. We called it going to the Mission. If you were a flight risk, you were sent to another school farther from home."

Wedstad said deep loneliness overcame her at the school and she often cried herself to sleep at night in the stark dormitory she shared with other girls. There was no one to console or comfort them. The food was tasteless and colorless​. Clothing was communal and assigned. Students had nothing of their own and no choice of what to wear from day to day. Boys and girls were separated inside and outside at residential school. When they were bused to a public school at Williams Lake for their classes, it was their only time to enjoy being together as First Nations youth.

"We learned to read and write, but were lonely because we had been taken away from our families," she said. "Orange Shirt Day for me and others is a little bit of justice for what we went through at residential school. Unfortunately, some children did die at these schools. We must honour the survivors as well as those who did not make it."

Wedstad said her one year at residential school seemed like an eternity and she was glad to return home to her grandmother "where people cared about me and where I mattered." There may not have been electricity or running water, but it was home and a safe and welcoming place. 

The St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1891-1981. Wedstad's grandchildren are the first in four generations of her family to be able to live at home with their parents. Her mother, brother and grandmother were also residential school survivors from St. Joseph Mission.

Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to integrate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples.

September 30 was chosen as the date to commemorate all the children who attended residential schools as it was also the time of year that children had to leave their homes and communities to attend the schools. This annual campaign began in 2013 after Webstad shared her experience at a reunion with other survivors as part of Truth and Reconciliation. She received an award in 2017 for the impact of her message internationally.

"We know why we are here and why this is so important for our school," Principal Shannon Atherton said at the school assembly with Wedstad. "We've been honoured to be a part of this tour. We are going to keep learning about this and remember what happened (to First Nations children) so that it never happens again."

Drummers and dancers from Ridgeview Middle School in Oromocto performed during the visit at Summmerhill Elementary School where Elder Charles Sewell from Oromocto First Nation offered opening prayer and sang a safe journey song for Wedstad upon her departure. She also visited Cambridge Narrows Community School and Chief Harold Sappier Memorial School at St. Mary's First Nation in Fredericton.

Shown in the photos below are (1) Elder Charles Sewell from Oromocto First Nation with Phyllis Wedstad; (2) Dancers from Ridgeview Middle School performing at the school assembly; (3) Students at Summerhill Elementary School getting ready to hear Wedstad's story about residential schools.


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Last Printed: 1/22/2020 2:00 PM
Posted: Jan 22 2020, 3:15 PM
  

Regional consultations on the Green Paper

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in partnership with Anglophone West School District, is organizing a public consultation session on February 10, 2020 at Fredericton High School in relation to the Minister's Green Paper.

This consultation session will provide an opportunity for parents, school employees and community partners to share their feedback on the ideas presented in the Green Paper. In addition, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Dominic Cardy will meet with groups of students and teachers throughout the day to gather their respective feedback.

Succeeding at Home: A Green Paper on Education in New Brunswick was released in the fall of 2019 and contains ideas to make our education system, from birth to graduation, the best in the world. The goal is for education to be at the heart of everything New Brunswick does. The ideas outlined in the Green Paper are based on the foundations established in the province's 10-year education plan.

The session at Fredericton High School will take place in the cafeteria beginning at 7 p.m. Participants are advised to use the parking lot off Priestman Street. The cafeteria is located at the top of the ramp accessed through the high school gym entrance

Last Printed: 1/16/2020 1:00 PM
Posted: Jan 17 2020, 11:21 AM
  

Regional consultation tour on education green paper

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in partnership with the seven school districts, is organizing regional consultations in several New Brunswick communities.

These consultation sessions will provide an opportunity for students, teachers, parents, school employees and community partners to meet with Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy and share their feedback on the ideas presented in Succeeding at Home: A green paper on education in New Brunswick. Ideas in the green paper build upon the foundation of the 10-year education plans to include New Brunswickers in the process of developing new ways to manage the education system.

“Over the past year, I have had discussions with students, educators, parents, and other stakeholders on how we can build a world-class education system,” said Cardy. “I am consistently impressed with the excellent dialogue that has been carried out previously, including through the education summit and green paper. I look forward to the opportunity to hear directly from even more New Brunswickers on how we can improve our education system.”

The consultation sessions will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates in the following communities and in the languages indicated:

  • Jan. 23 – Sackville at the Sackville Town Hall council chambers (in English);
  • Jan. 29 – Edmundston at Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany (in French);
  • Feb. 4 – Saint John at Harbour View High School (in English);
  • Feb. 5 – Riverview at Riverview High School (in English);
  • Feb. 6 – Moncton at École L'Odyssée (in French);
  • Feb. 10 – Fredericton at Fredericton High School (in English);
  • Feb. 11 – Miramichi at Miramichi Valley High School (in English); and
  • Feb. 12 – Tracadie at Polyvalente W.-Arthur-Losier (in French).

In the event of a storm, consultation dates may be rescheduled to either Feb. 13, 18 or 19.

The consultation sessions are open to the public. Stakeholder groups, including the Premier’s Council on Disabilities, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, Dialogue NB, as well as representatives from each political party represented in the legislative assembly, have been invited to participate.

“I encourage everyone to read the green paper, come out and voice their thoughts on the future of education in New Brunswick,” said Cardy.

In Rexton and Fredericton, Cardy will also meet students from aboriginal communities.

Following the publication of the green paper on education last October, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development held a three-day summit in Fredericton, at which teachers, students, parents, early childhood educators, education and business stakeholders shared their views.

“Our education system faces significant challenges, but our government is committed to building a world-class education system,” said Cardy. “Our students and teachers deserve action, based on evidence-based research and best practices, to ensure their well-being and success.”​

Last Printed: 1/17/2020 12:00 PM
Posted: Jan 17 2020, 11:20 AM
  

​Students and staff at Forest Hill Elementary School recently embarked on a journey to create a new school mascot that had meaning and relevance. That's how Forest the Fox was born.

"Students went through a brainstorming process and then democratically voted on on their top mascot ideas," said Principal Tracy Stewart.  "Families also got to have input on this process as the voting was also open to parents and guardians through an online survey.  After this process, all students created a piece of art work on how they envisioned our fox should look and then voted on the top art work they thought would best represent our school.  The vote determined the top four art pieces that became the inspiration for our final digital design." 

Stewart said the next step in the process involved working with teacher Peter Ayer and his digital design students at Oromocto High School who went through the process of creating their idea of Forest the Fox in digital form. 

"The high school students in this course are very talented and our school greatly enjoyed seeing their work," Stewart added. "The project was very engaging and meaningful to everyone involved and the partnership between the two schools is one we hope to continue."

 A final design was decided and the winning graphic artist was announced Jan. 15 to make the new school mascot a reality.

Shown in the photo below (left to right) front row: Oromocto High School Vice Principal Darla Day,  high school student Trenna Polchies, who had the winning design, Principal Tracy Stewart. Back row: Jeff Holder, principal at Oromocto High School, Trenna's father, and teacher Peter Ayer.

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Last Printed: 1/17/2020 11:00 AM
Posted: Jan 17 2020, 11:12 AM
  

​Two educators from Saint Mary's Academy in Edmundston are among the recent recipients of Innovation in Education Awards.

Principal Julie Page-Michaud and teacher Aaron McLaughlin received their awards during a ceremony hosted by Brilliant Labs at CCNB Edmundston on Jan. 14. The awards recognized the creative lab projects and initiatives undertaken with their students and the commitment shown to supporting innovation at school. 

Brilliant Labs is a not-for-profit, hands-on technology and experiential learning platform based in Atlantic Canada. Throughout schools in ASD-W, Brilliant Labs supports the integration of creativity, innovation, coding, and an entrepreneurial spirit within classrooms and educational curricula.

Jeff Wilson, spokesperson for Brilliant Labs, congratulated Page-Michaud and McLaughlin noting: "they are receiving this recognition for their tireless efforts in bringing innovation and creativity to the students of Saint Mary's Academy thorugh maker-centred learning."

Innovation in education encourages teachers and students to explore, research and use all the tools to uncover something new. It involves a different way of looking at problems and solving them.  Innovation improves education because it compels students to use a higher level of thinking to solve problems and it prepares students for a digital and innovation-based economy.

Shown in the photo below are (left to right) award winners Danis Michaud, Learning Centre for Haut-Madawaska de Claire; Saint Mary's Academy Principal Julie Page-Michaud and teacher Aaron McLaughlin from ASD-W, Julie Corriveau, Saint-Jacques School, and France Bosse from Carrefour de la Jeunesse.

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Last Printed: 1/16/2020 2:00 PM
Posted: Jan 16 2020, 3:15 PM
  

​Students studying Grade 11 Advanced Biology at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton have been doing some hands on learning about sharks and their role in the animal kingdom.

On January 14, 29 students came to class, while 20 parents and family members joined them in an interesting lab experiment to dissect dogfish sharks, one of the best known species of smaller sharks. To their teacher, the procedure was all part of science.

"It was an excellent way to see, touch and explore the various organs and organ systems of an animal," said teacher Lisa Holyoke-Walsh. "It is so essential for these students to see how dynamic and intricate the various body systems are in these animals and to make connections to similarities and differences in our own bodies."

Biology is the study of living things, organisms and the systems and processes that permit life. Studies include subjects like cell biology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, and plant biology. Sharks are fish and organic in nature. They have existed almost unchanged for 400 million years – long before the dinosaur came into existence.

Holyoke-Walsh said the class on sharks was a "culminating event" for her students as well as an important learning experience for them, their parents, siblings and the one grandmother who attended.

Shown in the photo below are students and family members in biology class with teacher Lisa Holyoke Walsh.






Last Printed: 1/15/2020 3:00 PM
Posted: Jan 15 2020, 3:33 PM
  

​Dear School Community,

Research supports the practice of early, frequent, and positive communication between parents and their children as an important determinant in the development of healthy sexuality. Through an extensive literature review and consultation with many community partners, Horizon and Vitalité Public Health Departments, in collaboration with the Horizon Research Department, are conducting a research survey.

This research survey, available in both official languages, will explore the current sexual health education practices and need for resources, of parents, step parents, and guardians of children18 years of age and younger from across New Brunswick. The results of the survey will help to inform the development of resources to meet the needs of “today’s parents” to support them in their role as the primary sexual health educators of their children.

If you are a parent, step-parent or guardian of a child 18 years or younger, Horizon and Vitalité Public Health want to hear from you!! Thank you for your assistance.

 Please click the following link to access the survey.  Thank you for your participation!

http://bit.ly/askmeanythingsurvey

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Last Printed: 1/13/2020 11:00 AM
Posted: Jan 13 2020, 10:36 AM
  

​Don't settle for good enough. Strive for excellence, work for change.

Those were some of the thoughts of guest speaker Gaetan Thomas, chief executive officer for NB Power, as he addressed school and district staff at ASD-W's leaders' lounge held at Planet Hatch in Fredericton's Knowledge Park on Dec. 17.

Thomas outlined four key principles to effective leadership, beginning with (1) having a vision for your organization. This vision must be "crisp, compelling and inspiring" to draw people in and have them follow you. 

Next, (2) "enthuse people by being the best you can be yourself." When people speak to you, listen. Don't try to do the job of others or tell them how to do their jobs.

"Let them grow and learn to trust you and they will respect you and come to you for advice," Thomas explained. "Leaders get to know people and let them grow -- like fish swimming together."

Thomas said the old style leadership of command and control, micro-management and blaming others does not motivate people or boost morale. In fact, it discourages people, creativity and ideas and promotes unhappiness and stagnation in the workplace.

"Leadership is about pulling people together toward a common goal," he noted. "It may take a change of culture over a long period of time to create the right environment. The bottom line is the journey and what you create in the dynamic."

Next, (3) be ready to take risks and inspire people to create the resources​ needed to fulfill your vision. Once they have the knowledge and the tools, it's time to (4) "give the baby away," he said. "Let it go, if you hear good news - applaud."

To get the best from people, you must engage both their hearts and minds. Be resourceful, innovate and try new things to reach your goals. Ask your followers for their ideas.  

"Generally, we do not like change," Thomas stated. "Most decisions made with the heart can take a long time to get the head following it. People don't care what you think until they know you care."

Thomas noted 80 per cent of cultural transformations do not work because there are no guiding principles or change management plans in place to help people get onboard and work for success. It's sink or swim - like a ship without a rudder. 

"It's easy to be good. It's not easy to be great. You have to help others realize why change is important. Leadership is also about growing future leaders. You want to create a culture of excellence that will continue. It is your best legacy. If you give trust, you will earn trust. Giving is receiving. If we all support each other, we all grow."

In education, Thomas said there is "no more noble responsibility than to be a leader for youth because what you teach or model may influence the rest of their lives."

He emphasized that schools are growing the province's future leaders and education is the key to the economy and prosperity of New Brunswick.

Thomas was introduced by ASD-W's leadership leads Jackie Hay and Laurie Pearson. Hundreds of educators from around the province tuned in via the Internet.










Last Printed: 12/19/2019 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 19 2019, 3:58 PM
  

Kindergarten students from Upper Miramichi Elementary School went carolling on December 17 throughout the Village of Boiestown to spread some Christmas cheer.

Led by their teacher Erica Stymiest, the students visited the village office and surprised folks at the local  Canada Post Office, Irving gas station, Boiestown Heath Centre, Central NB Nursing Home, Senior’s Complex, McCloskey’s General Store and Central New Brunswick Academy, a neighbouring school in ASD-W.

"People were delighted to see the students spreading the holiday spirit!​" said Principal Daphne O'Donnell.

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Last Printed: 12/19/2019 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 19 2019, 1:37 PM
  

For the past few weeks, ​students across ASD-W have been busy preparing and performing for their annual school Christmas concert, heralding in the magic and excitement of the holiday season.

Families arrive for a glimpse of their star student on stage as the music and carols ring out to an appreciative audience. Great pride takes over at what the students have accomplished with the help of their amazing teachers.

"The school concert honours the Christmas tradition and allows students to showcase their talents, abilities and hard work," said Wayne Annis, Director of Schools for ASD-W. "It brings families and friends together to enjoy the spirit of peace and goodwill, while allowing us to re-focus on the needs of others and the importance of sharing." 

Shown in the photos below are students performing at New Maryland Elementary School's Christmas concert held on December 18.

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Last Printed: 12/18/2019 3:00 PM
Posted: Dec 18 2019, 3:12 PM
  

A gift giving campaign for students at Nackawic Elementary School has surpassed this year's expectations, thanks to the generosity and support of a local business, AV Group Nackawic, a long-time supporter of the school at Christmas time.

"Once again, this year, they (the mill) reached out to us, and we provided them with the names of 37 students," said Vice-Principal Holly Jones. "They were able to buy gifts for all of these children. This is my very first Christmas at the school as vice-principal and I was overwhelmed with what they bought."

Rachael Gauthier and Mary Thompson were the two contacts organizing the project on behalf of AV Group Nackawic. Staff at the mill did all of the shopping and wrapping .

"We just had to provide them with the information and then go and pick up the gifts. It couldn’t have gone any smoother," Jones added. "We were expecting a gift or two for each child, but were pleasantly surprised when there was more than that – the gifts filled two vehicles!"

As with any community, there are families who struggle this time of year and it’s nice to be able to give these families a little extra boost, Jones stated.

"We are all very appreciative of the support. The staff and families of Nackawic Elementary School would like to say thank you to AV Group Nackawic!​"

Shown in the photo below are Nackawic Elementary School teacher Nicole Priest and Vice-Principal Holly Jones picking up the gifts purchased by the mill for the students.

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Last Printed: 12/17/2019 11:00 AM
Posted: Dec 17 2019, 11:13 AM
  

Grade 2 students at Centreville Community School are learning to be green thumbs by growing lettuce in their classroom for the school cafeteria. 

"Students care for the plants from seed to harvest and learn about life cycles and care of the plants," said teacher Angie Debertin. "They also monitor nutrients and pH in the hydroponic system for optimal growth. The mature lettuce is harvested and given to the school cafeteria to be used in salads, providing a healthy food choice for our students and staff."

Debertin said lettuce is grown at three different stages so that fresh produce is always available. 

"Students learn about how food is grown and their efforts provide an important service to our school community," she noted.

Similar gardening projects are taking place in other schools in ASD-W as part of global competency and experiental learning, as well as group skills development.

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Last Printed: 12/12/2019 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 12 2019, 2:06 PM
  

Students at Nackawic Middle School are working to make their community and the world a better place through acts of charity.

On Dec. 6, leadership students and those in the Meals on Wheels club, led by Principal Kathy Anderson, decided to bake homemade cookies and distribute a selection to local seniors for Christmas.  Students gathered various kinds of cookies and bagged them together to pass out out to seniors in the community.

"A great time of carolling and sharing cookies brightened the day of many a senior in Nackawic and it was a great time for our Grade 7-8 middle school students, Anderson said.

Earlier this fall, the students were also challenged to raise funds as part of the WE charity. A Grade 8 leadership team decided they would like to support a clean water system for a school. So, they began selling treats and holding a couple of sock hops at noon. Funding began to grow and they began to research what part of the world they would like to invest the proceeds.

"Being a WE charity school in the past, the students wanted to help those who did not have access to clean water and decided on the WE Villages, a proven model of holistic and sustainable development.," Anderson explained. 

It is estimated that 1,000 children die every day around the globe due to illness caused by drinking contaminated water, she said.

Supporting a clean water system for an entire school was a lofty goal for the students, totalling $5,000. Once their fundraising was held, the We Charity took whatever was donated and matched it 10 times over. 

"The students were so excited to see their gift grow from $500 to $5,000," Anderson stated. "The gift will bring clean water to an entire school and ensure girls in Kenya can collect safe water for their families on their way home from class."

The clean water system will also help irrigate vegetable gardens to supplement student lunches as well. 

Anderson said the fundraising experience was a unique opportunity for the entire middle school student population to get involved and impact a sustainable change for students in a school in a faraway country.

The WE Charity is an international charity that partners with communities through a holistic, sustainable development model that equips families with the tools and skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty.​

Shown in the photos below are (1) Nackawic Middle School students delivering cookies and carolling for local seniors for Christmas; (2) the Grade 8 leadersip team with Principal Kathy Anderson following their successful efforts to raise funds for a clean water system for a school in Kenya.









Last Printed: 12/11/2019 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 11 2019, 2:07 PM
  

News Release

Education and Early Childhood Development

$70.5 million to be invested in school system

11 December 2019

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $70.5 million in fiscal 2020-21 to help build a world-class education system, a $10 million increase from last year.

In tabling his department’s capital budget today, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy said that the process for choosing school infrastructure projects will be transparent. He said the provincial government will ensure that community needs are carefully considered in the decision-making process.

“Our government is making the capital budget process for education fully transparent, and protecting it from political influence and interference,” said Cardy. “From now on communities will know where their schools stand on this priority list. Also, New Brunswickers can support their schools as part of broader government and community-led initiatives, projects like the Saint John community school which has shown the best of our province: government, community, and the business community working together.”

In the coming weeks, the department will make public a provincial priority list of capital projects to provide communities with transparent and objective information on asset management.

“Making this list public will ensure that communities are aware of the priorities for life upgrades, school additions, new schools or school rationalization projects, all while removing the opportunities for subjective or partisan perspectives,” said Cardy.

The list is established annually with the participation of school districts and is based on a data-driven analysis process that provides a provincial perspective to long-term planning regarding infrastructure projects in education.

The government is allocating $44.1 million to support construction projects already underway. In addition, $23.5 million dollars will go towards repairs, upgrades, equipment and the dust collector program to ensure schools remain safe for students.

The current construction projects already underway are:

·         École Arc-en-Ciel (K-8) in Oromocto;

·         École secondaire Assomption in Rogersville;

·         the K-8 school in Hanwell;

·         the K-8 francophone school in Moncton; and

·         the 6-8 anglophone school in the northern part of Moncton.

“We have a responsibility to work together and ensure that our province’s budget allows us to support New Brunswickers while living within our means,” said Cardy. “I believe our budget achieves an important balance of providing for the needs of our students and educators while ensuring we are making prudent, informed and data-driven decisions with taxpayer funds.”​

Last Printed: 12/11/2019 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 11 2019, 1:11 PM
  

News Release

Education and Early Childhood Development

Assessment process for school infrastructure projects made public

10 December 2019

FREDERICTON (GNB) – In an effort to ensure transparency, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development made public today an analysis tool used to establish the priority ranking for school infrastructure projects.

“New Brunswick has limited resources and it is important to have an objective process when it comes to setting priorities and making decisions,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “This tool allows the department to respect the role of the district education councils while providing a provincial perspective to long-term capital planning.”

The Quadruple Bottom Line Multi-Criteria analysis process provides an unbiased, data-driven analysis which is used annually to evaluate major capital school infrastructure projects that have been requested by the school districts. These projects are over $1 million and include renovations to existing schools as well as new construction projects. An overview of the tool is now available online.

The tool was developed in 2014 with the assistance of school districts and experts at Ernst & Young. It includes 15 indicators divided into four quadrants: economy, environment, social, and cultural.

“Before this tool was introduced, the department did not have a comprehensive, analytical, evidence-based tool to support the priority setting process,” said Cardy. “Therefore, it was susceptible to subjective or partisan considerations.”

Every year, school districts evaluate their regional needs based on factors such as demographics and age or condition of existing infrastructure and submit a list of major capital project requests to the department. The department uses the tool to assess and prioritize all submissions in order to create a provincial priority list of capital projects based on a high to low ranking. The evaluation process for all projects is undertaken by the same team of knowledgeable staff to ensure a consistent analysis of all projects.

10-12-19

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Last Printed: 12/10/2019 3:00 PM
Posted: Dec 10 2019, 2:50 PM
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