A total of 130 delegates from around the province attended the District Education Council Fall Symposium in Fredericton from Nov. 2-4.
District Education Council (DEC) and Parent School Support Committee (PSSC) members gathered to discuss governance and key topics in education during the weekend event.
Canadian School Boards Association President Laurie French spoke to the audience at a discussion dinner on Saturday night. French said she was impressed with the numbers and how people from across New Brunswick had gathered for the event, noting DEC members and PSSCs represent a commitment to local voice and all stakeholders having a say in education.
Workshops were held on a variety of topics including student mental health, early learning, using technology for teacher professional development, community engagement, nutrition and learning, how education funding is allocated, supporting newcomer students and their families, how the province is working to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for First Nations, and how data can be used to inform school improvement plans.
During one presentation by a group of high school students from Miramichi, PSSC and DEC members heard about student suicide and how more mental health services are needed in schools such as more guidance counsellors, school psychologists and suicide prevention training for teachers. More funding and strength for the Integrated Service Delivery program was also recommended.
Deputy Minister John McLaughlin said he would put the students in touch with government staff at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) to bring their concerns forward.
During another session on community engagement, Chris Treadwell, assistant deputy minister at EECD, noted "schools can't be successful unless society around them supports their school. It takes a community to raise a child. It's not just teachers. Education is everybody's business."
Stacey Brown, manager for District Education Councils at EECD, said the success of the annual symposium showed a real commitment to making an impact on the lives of students as dedicated DEC and PSSC members gave of their time for learning and professional development.
Shown in the photo below is Canadian School Boards Association President Laurie French during her remarks at the symposium's discussion dinner.