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​Representatives of the Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, will be visiting up to eight schools in the Grand Falls area January 14-18 in hopes of launching a RBI baseball league for students in Grades 5-8.

"Jays Care Foundation has seven signature programs which we run across the country from coast to coast," said Alex Mohamed, national program facilitator for the organization. "We use baseball as a tool to teach life skills to youth. We hope to create a program to bring various communities together through the love of sport."

Mohamed said the Jays Care Foundation will partner with schools to create school teams to travel and play games followed by an end-of-year tournament. All of the costs will be covered by the Jays Care Foundation. Each school must designate one school representative to be present at each game and practice, while Jays Care will provide equipment and hire a coach for each team.

The charitable organization believes in a level playing field where all Canadian children and youth have the opportunity to thrive and succeed. The Jays Care Foundation currently works to provide a wide range of programming opportunities for children and youth across Canada. Last year, its programs reached over 40,000 children and youth. 

Mohamed said the goal is to launch​ the program in schools in the Grand Falls region that do not have current baseball programming available to their student population. The program is usually launched in April and runs until June. It involves one practice and one game per week and culminates into a large scale tournament for all participating schools.

John Caldwell School, Saint Mary's Academy, Tobique Valley High School, Perth Andover Middle School, Donald Fraser Memorial School and Andover Elementary School are the participating schools in ASD-W. Each school can select up to 15 players for their RBI team. All players receive a team t-shirt and hat. 

“This is a very exciting opportunity for our six ASD-W schools, but also for the communities of Edmundston, Grand Falls, Plaster Rock and Perth Andover," said Ross Campbell, subject coordinator for health and physical education for ASD-W and president of the New Brunswick Physical Education Society. "Baseball is a fantastic team sport that builds friendships forever and to have the Toronto Blue Jays come into our communities and support the  students of New Brunswick with their CARE program is truly amazing. Grade 5-8 students will have the opportunity to receive  instruction, coaching and practice and game facilitation, as well as receive gear and equipment. Along with a positive learning environment this program will be comprehensive to any student from this age group who wishes to participate.”​

Across the country, coaches and teachers say they notice an improvement in students' health and physical activity, self-esteem and confidence as a result of the Jays Care program.

Last Printed: 1/10/2019 3:00 PM
Posted: Jan 18 2019, 2:14 PM

​McAdam Avenue School received a major cash donation Jan. 18 in support of the school library, thanks to the generosity of the surrounding community and the fundraising efforts of Mike Richard, a retired detective with the Fredericton Police Force.

Richard presented the school with a cheque for $6,000 and a memorial plaque in memory of former student Jackie Clarke, who died tragically in 1995 at the age of eight. Richard began raising money in 2018 through a GoFundMe page set up in memory of Jackie. 

"The funds are to be used for the school library because Jackie had a passion for books," Principal Cynthia Burnett explained.

Shown in the photo below are (left to right) Mike Richard with students Isaac Ranson, Brooklyn Belmore, Teagan Morrison, Gage Hallett, Zach Nicholson and Principal Cynthia Burnett in the library at McAdam Avenue School.

Last Printed: 1/18/2019 12:00 PM
Posted: Jan 18 2019, 11:49 AM

News Release

Auditor general finds New Brunswick education system suffers from a lack of stability

FREDERICTON (GNB) – In her latest report tabled today in the legislative assembly, Auditor General Kim MacPherson identified multiple complex factors that are affecting the academic performance of New Brunswick’s 98,000 students.

“Although we recognize a strong level of commitment throughout the education system, provincial assessment results in reading, math and science have never met targets in 15 years,” said MacPherson.

There have been five different provincial education plans over the last 15 years.

“Political interference is destabilizing the education system,” said MacPherson. “Successive governments have changed priorities too frequently, creating instability and shifting educators’ focus away from teaching New Brunswick’s children.”

She cited the example of the most recent change to the French immersion entry point in the anglophone sector to fulfil a political promise. The rush to implement the change disrupted operations and led to teacher demand exceeding labour market availability which resulted in hiring teachers lacking the required language skills.

The audit also identified socio-economic issues, such as poverty, add to the complexity of the education process and ultimately affect student performance. Teachers must often focus on students’ basic needs, such as hunger and inadequate clothing, before they can focus on teaching.

“System stability and more collaboration with other departments and community-based organizations are required to ensure teachers’ efforts are devoted to educating students,” said MacPherson.

The Education Act outlines a series of plans and reports at various levels to form a complex cycle to improve student performance. The cycle is not operating as intended as deficiencies were identified at each stage. Further, the provincial assessment programs also lack stability which impairs the usefulness of results. As a result, it is difficult to assess and take corrective action to improve student performance.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development along with the anglophone and francophone school districts were included in the audit. MacPherson made 14 recommendations to the department, including to maintain the current 10-year provincial education plans, stabilize the provincial assessment programs, and comply with (or review) the Education Act.

The Improving Student Performance: A New Brunswick Challenge chapter can be found in Volume II of the 2018 Auditor General Report. This volume and the one-page summary for this chapter are available online.​

Last Printed: 1/17/2019 9:00 AM
Posted: Jan 17 2019, 9:01 AM

​More than 50 educators from ASD-W gathered in Fredericton for a professional learning day on Jan. 15 to explore the benefits of physical literacy for preschoolers and kindergarten age students.

The training session was held at Killarney Lake Lodge to help teachers prepare early learners for a smooth transition to public school, making it a place young children are ready for and look forward to spending their time.

Discussions and presentations took place on how purposeful play can be guided by educators through games, groups activities and general fun to keep young children active and engaged in listening, socializing, communicating and problem solving. This kind of purposeful play not only inspires creativity, collaboration and confidence - it allows children to explore their surroundings, make meaning out of their experiences, and forms the foundation of a child's intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills necessary for resiliency and success in school and life, educators were told.

The strong value of outdoor play and how it supports the development of the whole child was a main focus of the day with teachers heading outdoors together to take part in winter group activities with Ian Smith, a retired outdoor educator with Parks NB.

"How powerful it is for like-minded adults who work with children to come together to push their own boundaries and allow themselves to experience the freedom of play both inside and outside, just like their students on any given day," said Nicolle Fleck, assistant regional director for early childhood services at ASD-W. "I know they have been validated in what they are already doing or inspired to find more ways to allow children to move and play throughout the day. The resounding message was teachers want more time to be outside in nature to expand their experience in the learning environment right along with their students."

Nathalie Waddell from Active Kids, Misty Phillips, educational support staff from ASD-E, and Candace Gallagher and Gillian Bateman from the UNB Children's Centre, were also presenters during the day on the positive impact of play on child development.

"The exploring day was an excellent opportunity for teachers and early educators to build skills that allow them to become more comfortable in the play environment," said Joe Crossland, physical education and health lead with ASD-W. "The data and research shows how much movement, activity and play can impact a student's learning, attention and focus and that's what the day touched on. As educators, we need to get outside the pillars of curriculum and see that play or activity encompasses literacy, numeracy, physical education, fine arts, science and connects students to what is going on in their school or community environment. Moving classes away from a traditional environment can create so many different learning experiences."

Anna-Marie Hayes, director of early childhood services for ASD-W, said not only is play important for a child's overall well-being and development, it is their right under the Convention of the Rights of Children, Article 31, which states "a child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts."

Hayes said the professional development day on physical literacy was part of a three-year "bridging project" for educators involved in early learning with the support of school districts, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and community partners.

The ASD-W schools involved in the project this year are Gibson Neill Memorial Elementary School, Gesner Street Elementary School, Forest Hill Elementary School, New Maryland Elementary School, Lincoln Community School and Assiniboine Avenue​ School.

Shown in the photos below are educators from ASD-W taking part in outdoor activities with Ian Smith, reitred outdoor educator with Parks NB, during the professional development day on physical literacy at Killarney Lake Lodge.

Last Printed: 1/16/2019 1:00 PM
Posted: Jan 16 2019, 2:02 PM

Grade 6 students at Devon Middle School were recently honoured for their creative writing skills as part of the Writing on the Walls program, a partnership between the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Fredericton's literary festival, Word Feast. 

Camryn Brennan had the winning entry, capturing first place, followed by Libby Waugh in second place, while Owen McLaggan and Gabrielle Burgess-Gallant tied for third. A total of 144 student entries were submitted.

"We had short stories, some emotional responses to the artwork, some beautiful free verse and rhyming poetry, a little nonsense – a few students even did some research and wrote about the artists themselves," said Zach Hapeman, director of children's programming for the Word Feast Literary Festival. "The writing was very good – a credit to the teachers and staff and their wonderfully creative students."

Hapeman said the festival's committee shortlisted the entries and local author and the Beaverbrook’s current Artist-in-Residence Wendy McLeod-MacKnight of Fredericton selected the four finalists who were invited to read during the opening of the art gallery exhibit on Dec. 9.​

The goal of the Writing on the Walls program is to support the development of student literacy skills through creative writing and an increased exposure to fine art. The program combines student compositions (prose and poetry) with artwork that inspired the writing in a special exhibit at the gallery.

The gallery provided images of 10 pieces of artwork from its permanent collection. Each student among participating classrooms choose one of these pieces and created a written response. Student writings could be in the form of a poem, a short essay, or a piece of fiction (up to 400 words for prose submissions, or up to 30 lines for poetry). Student submissions were reviewed by the Word Feast Festival committee and shortlisted for a prize. Student submissions were then incorporated into a “Writing on the Walls” exhibit hosted at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Teachers Shawna Bryden and Colleen Kennedy introduced the program to their students the first week of October. Students were provided access to the works of art (via gallery handouts) and class time was reserved to enable students to develop and revise their creative responses. The deadline for submissions was the end of October. Students were encouraged to submit as many responses as they liked, although first draft materials were not accepted. Teachers were encouraged to emphasize the value of a disciplined writing process, having students review and revise their compositions multiple times.

The Writing on the Walls exhibit of student compositions will run from December through January at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Students (and classes and families) are encouraged to visit the gallery to view the collected works and experience art-inspiring-art first hand, Hapeman said.

Shown in the photos below are local author Wendy McLeod-McKnight with third place finalist Owen McLaggan (1); Camryn Brennan, first place winner (2); Libby Waugh, second place winner (3); and third place finalist Gabrielle Burgess-Gallant with McLeod-McKnight(4). 


Last Printed: 12/21/2018 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 21 2018, 2:23 PM

​Two classes of Grade 1 students at Nashwaaksis Memorial School took part in a "Toys for Joy" drive this Christmas, together bringing in $300 in toy donations for the children of the pediatric unit at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. 

Teachers Katie Lyons and Caroline Nolin are proud of their students' efforts to spread the happiness of the holiday season with other children.

Shown in the photo below are teacher Katie Lyons with her Grade 1 students at Nashwaaksis Memorial School.

Last Printed: 12/17/2018 11:00 AM
Posted: Dec 17 2018, 10:49 AM

Parents at Connaught Street Elementary School in Fredericton are back in school for an hour a week to learn about strengthening their families.

Facilitators from the John Howard Society of Fredericton, in partnership with the school, are teaching parents the same social and emotional language and strategies their kids are learning in school to express their feelings.  

The eight-week program called, “Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities,” is designed to teach and encourage families to become more aware of their emotions and to be able to communicate and respect how each family member is feeling. The school takes the mental health of their students very seriously and parents, impressed with what their children were learning, asked how they could get the same tools to use at home. 

Justin Young, program facilitator at The John Howard Society, reached out Principal Barb Corbett to create the partnership.

“The children were already learning these great tools to help them to clearly express their emotions”, said Young. “Teaching the parents the same language and tools allows families to better communicate amongst themselves and parents can better understand how their children are feeling.”

“Parents see the tremendous benefit of the program,” Corbett explained.  “We’ve had nothing but a positive response and parents who took the program last spring are encouraging other parents to participate.” 

Ten families participated in the program this past spring and 12 more families are enrolled in the current program. 

Parents attend a one-hour session each week at Grace Memorial Baptist Church, located across the street from Connaught Street School.  The church administration generously donates the space for the program.  The session is facilitated by Young, and parents learn about a variety of topics including family meetings, the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, Size of the Problem, how emotions are connected to the five senses, and zones of regulation — a tool that their children use in school to identify their feelings, understand how their behaviour impacts those around them, and learn what tools they can use to manage their feelings.

At the same time, their children are attending their own session at the school with Katharine Palmer, a Connaught Street School guidance counseller, and a John Howard staff facilitator. 

At the end of their respective sessions, the children join their parents at the church to share a healthy family meal and a brief presentation. 

Parents are enthusiastic about the benefits of the program.  

The Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Program to date has been funded through grants from the Fredericton Community Foundation. The John Howard Society is looking for additional, sustainable funding to allow the program not only to continue, but to expand to other schools in Fredericton. 

“Principals, teachers and parents at other schools have heard about the program and are asking for us to bring it into their schools as well,” says Young.  “We want to be able to provide this important program to them, but we need the funding to do so.”

The John Howard Society of Fredericton is a registered charity that provides a wide variety of community programs, including community adult learning, soft skills development, general support services, outreach services, intensive case management services and affordable housing for the homeless.​

Last Printed: 12/14/2018 10:00 AM
Posted: Dec 14 2018, 10:21 AM

​​Traditional school Christmas concerts bring the magic and anticipation of the holiday season to life with excited students and proud teachers, parents and grandparents fully engaged in the celebrations each year. 

Across ASD-W, Christmas concerts are now underway displaying the hard work and talent of students, teachers and school staff who organize and make these events possible for families to enjoy. All concerts in 2018 are being held on or before Dec. 20. The last day of school for students before the two-week holiday break is Dec. 21.

Click on the document below for a full schedule of Christmas concerts in the district. 

  ASDW Holiday Concert Schedule1.pdfASDW Holiday Concert Schedule1.pdf

Shown in the photo below are Grade 4 students performing in New Maryland Elementary School's Christmas concert on Dec. 12.

Last Printed: 12/13/2018 11:00 AM
Posted: Dec 13 2018, 10:52 AM

​Students taking part in culinary classes at Fredericton High School's Future Chefs Cafe had the chance to share their talent for fine cuisine when they prepared and served a delicious Christmas feast 

for district staff after school on Dec. 6. Festive treats, fancy horderves, and tasty appetizers were all part of the menu which the students made from scratch for their guests. 

"The students learn food needs to be visual as much as it needs to be edible, that functions are about creating  atmosphere, and the devil is in the details," said teacher Amy Wood. "What I love, and I feel the students love, is the ability to be creative. There are really no limits when it

comes to creativity in the kitchen. Often school work is structured, so it is nice that students are allowed to step outside the box and fuel their creative juices."

Wood said the beauty of kitchen work is it teaches students life skills as well as team work, organization, consistency, time management, and interacting with adults, such as when serving the dishes they prepared. 

There are three culinary classes at FHS with 60 students enrolled and 20 at a time working in the Future Chefs Cafe. Plans are the cafe will be in full operation by late February once all students are comfortable in the kitchen and safety trained.

 For now, they have been preparing​ take home meals including soups, salads, shepherds pie, lasagna, fresh biscuits and bread rolls. Desserts are also prepared as part of the cooking experience. 

Coffee is brewed and served to staff, so there's almost always a fresh pot on for teachers, Wood said. Some food items are sold to staff with funds raised going toward buying groceries to make more dishes or meals in the Future Chefs Cafe. 

"It is part of the curriculum to understand food cost, so often we discuss together what they feel would be a good price for an item and look at what the ingredients are, but also consider what the client will pay and the size of the item being sold," Wood added.

The students take a recipe and begin cooking, checking with Wood to see if they are on task for the right results in terms of flavour and the visual aspect.

"We stress the importance of being organized before they start and that they have an apron, hair net or hat and wash their hands. This is part of the food sanitation process that we follow. 

"They also go about and check the temperatures of all the fridges, do dishes and laundry and clean as I cannot stand a messy kitchen!"

Wood said when the cooking is finished and the work is done, she looks at the teaching opportunity as "40-40-40.....will they remember it in 40 hours time, 40 days time or 40 years time."  She aims for the 40 years. 

"We have mistakes, but those are learning moments. We also have a lot of success. The students rose to the task (of cooking for district staff) in such a fantastic manner.

I could not be prouder of them and all they have achieved." 

Shown in the photos below are (1) Students Chris Zhang and Rebecca Cotton serving their food with district staff Carol Clark-Caterini on the right; (2) Wayne Annis, Director of Schools for the Fredericton Education Centre, congratulates students 

Rebecca Cotton, Sam Tingley, teacher Amy Wood, and students Julia Hudson, Chris Zhang and Isaiah Bryden for their great work in the kitchen, with district staff Claire Allen (far right). Absent are Ethan Stairs and Jacob Kranat. 

(3) Future Chef Cafe students Emma Langille and Grace Nevers.


Last Printed: 12/11/2018 3:00 PM
Posted: Dec 12 2018, 9:24 AM

​Communities in the Grand Falls area will be hosting the 2019 Acadian Games from June 26-30 next year and students at John Caldwell School will be involved.

"As far as New Brunswick is concerned, many students of Acadian descent, for one reason or another, do not attend francophone school and therefore do not qualify for Jeux de l'Acadie," said Bertrand Beaulieu, president of the organizing committee for the games. "We want to allow some of these students to discover and reconnect with their Acadian heritage. That's why New Brunswick will be represented in this guest delegation by students attending John Caldwell School in Grand Falls."

Together participants from Quebec, Maine and New Brunswick will take part in the games. The event will attract more than 1,000 athletes and 800 volunteers and is expected to generate over $1.5 million for the local economy. The host communities for the 2019 Acadian Games are Grand Falls, Drummond, Saint-Andre and Saint Leonard.

Besides athletics, Beaulieu said the event also enables French and Atlantic youth to meet, share experiences and strengthen their French language skills. Students from John Caldwell School will be welcomed as a visiting delegation, lodged, fed and treated in the same way as the other athletes, but their participation will stand out and the results will not be counted in official statistics. As for the competitions for the visiting athletes, they will be determined as the planning for the games progresses.

The invited delegation will be led by a team composed of Dr. Caroline Rioux, organizing committee member for the games, Cathy Pelletier, core leadership team and New Brunswick representative, Jean-Marc Belzile, core leadership team and Quebec representative, Vincent Frallicciardi, vice-president of the team and acting representative for Maine, Gilles Michaud, teacher at John Caldwell School, and Alexandre Parks, mission leader for the invited delegation.

The four-day event in Grand Falls is a follow-up to the Acadian Congress held in the region in 2014. Fundraising for the games is still ongoing toward a goal of $350,000. 

Shown in the photo below are (left to right) front row: Cathy Pelletier, Dr. Caroline Rioux, Kevin Harding, principal at John Caldwell School; back row: Vincent Frallicciardi, Acajou, the games Mascot, Jean-Marc Belzile, and Bertrand Beaulieu.

Last Printed: 12/6/2018 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 06 2018, 2:36 PM

​Are you interested in joining a crossing guard program to help children get to and from school safely? Can you be available on short notice?

Fredericton City Police are looking for people interested in joining the program on a casual part-time basis to help fill in for permanent crossing guards in locations across Fredericton North and Fredericton South. 

Interested individuals will be required to work on short notice at various locations in the city for up to three hours per day (one hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon).

Salary: $11.25 per hour

Applications may be made in person at 311 Queen Street or by calling the Fredericton Police Force at 506-460-2300.

More information about the Crossing Guard Program can be found on the following website: 


Last Printed: 12/6/2018 11:00 AM
Posted: Dec 06 2018, 10:46 AM

Education and Early Childhood Development

School nutrition policy updated

05 December 2018

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has revised its public school nutrition policy.

“We have heard from New Brunswickers who have expressed concerns about the level of restrictions included in the previous nutrition policy,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “These changes will provide flexibility and empower local school communities to make informed decisions about the health and well-being of their students.”

Policy 711, Healthier School Food Environment, sets the minimum requirements for creating a healthier food environment in public schools.

As part of the new standards, flavoured milk and 100-per cent fruit juice may be sold in schools.

In addition, given the unique challenges associated with breakfast programming and the vulnerable students served by the programs, school districts will be allowed some flexibility while they work to provide the healthiest food options possible. Schools and districts will also be empowered to organize fundraisers and special events that respond to their unique needs.

“I am pleased that we have found a way to protect the integrity of the nutrition policy and will continue to promote and model healthy choices for our students while allowing for some flexibility where it makes sense,” said Robert Fowler, chair of the Anglophone South school district education council and chair of the a​nglophone provincial council of district education council chairs. “It is especially important that we have ensured our breakfast and lunch programs will continue to provide a much-needed service in our schools.”

While much of the focus has been on school food criteria, the policy’s main goals are to promote optimal health and well-being through nutritional literacy and educational programming, consistent with the government’s 10-year education plans.

District education councils may also develop policies that are consistent with or more comprehensive than the provincial policy.

The policy is available online.

Last Printed: 12/5/2018 2:00 PM
Posted: Dec 05 2018, 1:08 PM

​Woodstock High School students screamed with delight as Principal Bill Hogan had his head and beard shaved in front of the entire student body on Dec. 3. The students exceeded his challenge to raise funds $1,500 for lung cancer awareness and research, bringing in over $4,000 in donations. It only took a few minutes for local hair stylist Mary Ann Walker to do the honours.

"This is because of your work," Hogan told the students. "You worked phenomenally to raise this amount of money."

November is Lung Cancer Awareness​ Month. Hogan issued the challenge at a school assembly earlier in the fall, telling the students he would shave his head and beard and do the "baby shark dance" if they could raise the funds. Hogan's wife, Heather, a member of the  ASD-W District Education Council, has been a lung cancer survivor since 2012 and sat in the audience taking photos of her husband's celebrated hair appointment. 

The Hogans have been working to raise awareness about lung cancer in partnership with Lung Cancer Canada, Dalhousie University, UNB Saint John, and Lungevity in the United States. They want the public to know you don't have to be a smoker to get lung cancer and hope to reduce the stigma attached to the disease. Lung cancer remains one of the leading cancers diagnosed in Canada with one in 12 Canadians expected to develop the disease in their lifetime.

The Dec. 3 event was held as part of a school wide pep rally with Vice-Principals Derrick O'Leary and Nicole Giberson joining Hogan in costume to do the "baby shark dance."  Several other school activities took place throughout the afternoon.

Shown in the photos below are (1) & (2) WHS Principal Bill Hogan gets his head and beard shaved by local hairstylist Mary Ann Walker; (3) Vice-principal Derrick O'Leary, Principal Bill Hogan, and Vice-Principal Nicole Giberson do the "baby shark dance" in costume as part of the school fundraiser for lung cancer awareness and research.

Last Printed: 12/3/2018 6:00 PM
Posted: Dec 03 2018, 6:33 PM

​Twenty-five Grade 9 students at Fredericton High School are involved in a special writing project that involves collecting and sharing the stories of seniors in their community. 

On Nov. 29, they got together with 11 seniors from Ste. Anne's Court in the school library to hear about the seniors' lives and careers, precious memories and cherished keepsakes from historic photographs, medals and awards, to an old school yearbook and even a favourite teacup. 

The students plan to write stories from the interviews and then publish them in a book during this school year. Each senior who participated will be presented with a copy of the book and another copy will also be placed in the school library.

"There were so many smiling faces and the comments we heard were so heartwarming," said Katie Prescott, literacy lead coach for ASD-W, after the event.  "I overheard one girl say to the lady she was interviewing: 'thank you so much for this experience. I lost my grandparents, so this isn't something I get to do.' "

The intergenerational project is being led by FHS teacher Val Marshall who welcomed the seniors to the school and invited them to join the students at stations set up around the library.  

"The goal of this intergenerational project is focused on storytelling and citizenship," Val Marshall said. "We hope this initiative will break down age barriers and pre-conceived ideas, encourage empathy, and provide the seniors and the students with a sense of value and community. We believe in the power of stories as a way to connect and understand ourselves and others. We were overjoyed with all of the smiles we saw on everyone's faces this morning!"

"I love working with young people," said senior Ian Stewart, a former teacher. "The stories I can tell - they think I'm pulling their leg!" 

"I learned seniors can be pretty fun," student Will Thornton replied after hearing Stewart's eye-opening stories.

Matthew PremKumar, executive director of Ste. Anne's Court retirement residence, said stories connect people and help to start a conversation among new friends. He told students Sophia Kean and Ryan Landry of his journey from India 17 years ago and how grateful he is to be living in such a blessed country as Canada. He showed them a bracelet from Nigeria which he has carried with him through the years as a reminder of his trip from the other side of the world.

"My story is a reminder of how thankful we should be for the things we have in Canada, things we can take for granted," PremKumar said.  "I am really thankful to be able to share my story of coming to Canada."

"I looked forward to this all week," added senior Joanne Ward, who shared her family history book and told student Colbie Campbell and Keith Wells, supply teacher, about growing up along the Tobique River. "I was excited to do it."

Shown in the photos below are (1) Matthew PremKumar (centre) sharing his story with students Ryan Landry (left) and Sophie Kean; (2) Joanne Ward (centre) sharing her story with Keith Wells, supply teacher, (left) and student Colbie Campbell.

Last Printed: 11/29/2018 3:00 PM
Posted: Nov 29 2018, 3:46 PM

​Teresa Griffin and Mary Byrne from the National Council on Special Education in Dublin, Ireland travelled all the way from the Emerald Isle to visit three ASD-W schools as part of an international study tour on inclusion. 

They are visiting George Street Middle School, Garden Creek Elementary School and Nashwaaksis Middle School from Nov. 26-28  to observe inclusion in action and learn about how the province's delivers education in a fully integrated classroom.

"What I loved was the full openness of the school, the engagement and how the amount of work done by everyone seems effortless when it really must be immense," Teresa Griffin said after visiting George Street Middle School in Fredericton. 

"I really wanted to see how inclusion works on the ground," added Mary Byrne, a former teacher. "I saw all children taking part from those who need support to those who can be stretched in their learning. It is really amazing. You have so much space and so much diversity."

In Ireland, two per cent of students have disabilities or learning challenges with one per cent attending mainstream schools and one per cent attending specialized schools. Griffin and Byrne are preparing a report about how all students are learning together in an inclusionary school environment in New Brunswick.

The two Irish educators heard about the importance of having the proper resources and classroom supports in place for diverse learners within the school system as well as support and core training for teachers and administrators. Administrators, classroom teachers, resource teachers, guidance counsellors, support resources, and educational assistants must all work together to deliver education as students present with more diverse or complex needs. 

At George Street Middle School, Griffin and Byrne experienced inclusion from a couple of new perspectives including First Nations students sharing their Indigenous heritage and different cultures from around the world coming together in one room called the Global Minds club where students experience cultural diversity while learning from one another. George Street Middle School has many newcomer students and the Global Minds club represents 10 different nationalities. Griffin and Byrne also visited the school's Makerspace where students engage in hands-on learning by designing and creating their own homemade projects, as well as the Brilliant​ Labs studio where cutting edge technology like a 3-D printer can turn a student's mindful invention into total reality.

Principal Pierre Plourde led the tour and explained inclusion in public school has been a journey over many years, becoming an evolution of sorts where students, teachers, and school staff connect, interact and build relationships regardless of specific challenges or differences. Students come to school to learn together on a level playing field and get the support they need along the way in cooperation with parents and families.

"Inclusion at our school is working so that you often can't pick out the students who have challenges," Plourde said, a sure sign that acceptance and understanding are cemented and the learning process is unfolding naturally for all.

Shown in the photo below are (left to right) (1) Irish educators Teresa Griffin and Mary Byrne with George Street Middle School Principal Pierre Plourde and teacher Amanda Collicott inside the school's Global Minds club room; (2) Griffin and Byrne speaking with Jacob Lingley (far left) of Brilliant Labs at George Street Middle School; (3) Grade 7 students Hannah Alexander, Olivia Thomson, Tori Fairweather and Clarie Chaplin working on their projects in the school's Makerspace.

Last Printed: 11/27/2018 10:00 AM
Posted: Nov 27 2018, 12:11 PM
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