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June 21, 2013
For immediate release
Students and parents can now access the 2013-2014 school calendar online
Education and Early Childhood Development
“The school calendar identifies holidays, key school dates and professional development days for teachers,” said Minister McIsaac. “The total amount of instructional time and professional learning time will remain the same in 2013-2014 as it has in previous years.”
Minister McIsaac advised that considerable effort was put into reviewing the school calendar this year and, specifically, the way that professional learning time is structured.
“The best research tells us that meaningful professional development for teachers is one of the most powerful ways to positively impact student achievement,” said the minister. “We will continue to examine our PD days to ensure that they are providing the best possible support for students and teachers.”
In Prince Edward Island, the structure of the school calendar has not seen significant change in over 30 years.
This year, a school calendar committee was put in place to review the current model and offer recommendations. The committee included representatives from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the English Language School Board, la Commission scolaire de langue française, PEI Home and School Federation, the PEI Teachers Federation and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
One of the main recommendations of the committee was to offer more embedded professional learning time, or time for teachers and staff to learn together at school, with a focus on best practices and the needs of their students.
“Teachers are telling us that the most valuable learning opportunities are ones where they get the chance to come together with their colleagues to collaborate, share ideas, analyze student assessment data and develop teaching strategies,” said Minister McIsaac.” We will be looking at making more of these opportunities available in the future.”
There have been several education reports developed in recent years which recommended restructuring the current school calendar model. Research shows that when staff participate in collaborative learning, there is overwhelming evidence that student learning and engagement increase.
Since the implementation of provincial assessments, literacy coaches, intervention programs and targeted professional learning, there have been consistent positive trends in early literacy. While many gains have been made, there is more work to be done. Investing in teachers through very focused professional learning opportunities is often one of the best ways to improve student achievement.
“Now that we have seen the research and we know the impact that professional learning has on student learning, it will be important to work collaboratively with our stakeholders over the coming months to develop a strategy on how we can implement embedded learning into the school calendar for the following school year,” said Imelda Arsenault, Senior Director of Learning and Early Childhood Development.
The provincial school calendar for the upcoming year is available online for students and parents at gov.pe.ca/schoolcalendar.