Elementary school strategy vows to level playing field

News Jun 11, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

A proposed new program strategy for Hamilton public elementary students is promising the quality of their education won’t depend on their school’s location or ability to raise money for things like musical instruments.

Yet it could also spell the end for junior and middle schools by striving to have all schools offer kindergarten to Grade 8.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said the strategy seeks to make “all schools great schools” by setting common standards for programs, building design, classroom resources and access to specialized learning such as French immersion.

She said the need for the initiative has become evident as the board closes schools and finds some have musical instruments and bands, for instance, while others have neither.

The strategy vows to provide instruments to all Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 and middle schools, a goal dependent on finding or training teachers to teach music, she said.

“If we believe as a system that the arts are an important element of education, then every school should have the arts,” Reinholdt said in a presentation to trustees.

Expected to go out for public consultation this fall, the multi-year strategy sets out seven core beliefs.

These include that all schools should be Kindergarten to Grade 8, physically accessible, have wireless Internet access and include specialized rooms for the arts, special education, science and physical education.

Schools should be safe, inclusive and welcoming, responsive to parents, guardians and caregivers as partners, and allow students to help determine which extracurricular activities are offered.

In the classroom, students should be taught a balanced curriculum with a wide range of subjects, one based on evidence-based instructional practices that incorporate digital technology to accelerate and engage learning.

Reinholdt said the strategy proposes to maintain programs of choice like sports and hockey academies but not expand them.

For French immersion, she said the goal is to offer the program in every cluster, or geographic area, while balancing English and French enrolment where possible so students can attend their local school.

Despite agreeing to recommend the strategy go out for public consultation, Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison said he’d like to see research to support a preference for Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools.

Thirty-nine of the board’s 90 regular elementary schools don’t fit that model, although pending closures and consolidations will cut that number by 11.

“The research really isn’t definitive,” Reinholdt said, but benefits include fewer transitions, which is especially helpful for students needing special supports, and leadership roles for senior students.

Elementary school strategy vows to level playing field

Program offerings to no longer to be hit-and-miss

News Jun 11, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

A proposed new program strategy for Hamilton public elementary students is promising the quality of their education won’t depend on their school’s location or ability to raise money for things like musical instruments.

Yet it could also spell the end for junior and middle schools by striving to have all schools offer kindergarten to Grade 8.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said the strategy seeks to make “all schools great schools” by setting common standards for programs, building design, classroom resources and access to specialized learning such as French immersion.

She said the need for the initiative has become evident as the board closes schools and finds some have musical instruments and bands, for instance, while others have neither.

“If we believe as a system that the arts are an important element of education, then every school should have the arts.”

The strategy vows to provide instruments to all Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 and middle schools, a goal dependent on finding or training teachers to teach music, she said.

“If we believe as a system that the arts are an important element of education, then every school should have the arts,” Reinholdt said in a presentation to trustees.

Expected to go out for public consultation this fall, the multi-year strategy sets out seven core beliefs.

These include that all schools should be Kindergarten to Grade 8, physically accessible, have wireless Internet access and include specialized rooms for the arts, special education, science and physical education.

Schools should be safe, inclusive and welcoming, responsive to parents, guardians and caregivers as partners, and allow students to help determine which extracurricular activities are offered.

In the classroom, students should be taught a balanced curriculum with a wide range of subjects, one based on evidence-based instructional practices that incorporate digital technology to accelerate and engage learning.

Reinholdt said the strategy proposes to maintain programs of choice like sports and hockey academies but not expand them.

For French immersion, she said the goal is to offer the program in every cluster, or geographic area, while balancing English and French enrolment where possible so students can attend their local school.

Despite agreeing to recommend the strategy go out for public consultation, Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison said he’d like to see research to support a preference for Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools.

Thirty-nine of the board’s 90 regular elementary schools don’t fit that model, although pending closures and consolidations will cut that number by 11.

“The research really isn’t definitive,” Reinholdt said, but benefits include fewer transitions, which is especially helpful for students needing special supports, and leadership roles for senior students.

Elementary school strategy vows to level playing field

Program offerings to no longer to be hit-and-miss

News Jun 11, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

A proposed new program strategy for Hamilton public elementary students is promising the quality of their education won’t depend on their school’s location or ability to raise money for things like musical instruments.

Yet it could also spell the end for junior and middle schools by striving to have all schools offer kindergarten to Grade 8.

Interim education director Pam Reinholdt said the strategy seeks to make “all schools great schools” by setting common standards for programs, building design, classroom resources and access to specialized learning such as French immersion.

She said the need for the initiative has become evident as the board closes schools and finds some have musical instruments and bands, for instance, while others have neither.

“If we believe as a system that the arts are an important element of education, then every school should have the arts.”

The strategy vows to provide instruments to all Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 and middle schools, a goal dependent on finding or training teachers to teach music, she said.

“If we believe as a system that the arts are an important element of education, then every school should have the arts,” Reinholdt said in a presentation to trustees.

Expected to go out for public consultation this fall, the multi-year strategy sets out seven core beliefs.

These include that all schools should be Kindergarten to Grade 8, physically accessible, have wireless Internet access and include specialized rooms for the arts, special education, science and physical education.

Schools should be safe, inclusive and welcoming, responsive to parents, guardians and caregivers as partners, and allow students to help determine which extracurricular activities are offered.

In the classroom, students should be taught a balanced curriculum with a wide range of subjects, one based on evidence-based instructional practices that incorporate digital technology to accelerate and engage learning.

Reinholdt said the strategy proposes to maintain programs of choice like sports and hockey academies but not expand them.

For French immersion, she said the goal is to offer the program in every cluster, or geographic area, while balancing English and French enrolment where possible so students can attend their local school.

Despite agreeing to recommend the strategy go out for public consultation, Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison said he’d like to see research to support a preference for Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools.

Thirty-nine of the board’s 90 regular elementary schools don’t fit that model, although pending closures and consolidations will cut that number by 11.

“The research really isn’t definitive,” Reinholdt said, but benefits include fewer transitions, which is especially helpful for students needing special supports, and leadership roles for senior students.