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Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial governments education recovery plans

June 14, 2022

Original Article: https://www.cbc.ca/newsinteractives/features/learningcurve/

CNC asked Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial governments about their education recovery plans. Here’s a summary of what they told the news outlet.

Alberta

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

In fall 2021, Alberta announced support for a literacy and numeracy intervention program, which is ongoing. Starting in September 2022, mandatory literacy and numeracy screening is scheduled for all students from grades 1 to 3 to identify those needing support. A new K-3 math and a new K-3 English-language and literature curriculum — both focusing on core skills — will also debut in September.

The free e-Tutoring Hub for students in grades 4 through 9, which launched in 2021, will expand to cover more grades, subjects and live tutoring. For the 2021-2022 school year, Alberta reduced the weighting of diploma exams from 30 per cent to 10 per cent of a student’s course grade.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

For the 2021-2022 school year, Alberta invested $45 million into the literacy and numeracy intervention program, with school boards able to use the funding as needed. Its 2022 budget also pledged $110 million over three years to address mental health, wellness and COVID-19 learning loss.

How are you addressing other student needs?

Alberta will debut a new K-6 physical education and wellness curriculum in September.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Screening assessments of grades 2 and 3 students that began in fall 2021 are ongoing to gauge the outcome of interventions introduced during the year. The Ministry of Education is also monitoring the outcome from earlier funding supporting at-risk students in grades 1 to 3.

Overall, Alberta relies on its existing Assurance Framework, which reviews a host of provincial data (such as achievement tests, diploma exam results and high school completion rates) and survey information from teachers, parents, school authorities and more to track progress.

What assessments have taken place?

 

See previous answer.

British Columbia

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Keeping schools open for in-person learning and accessible for students needing support has been B.C.’s priority. During the pandemic, school districts and independent schools have developed continuity of learning plans in case of shifts to home-based learning. There is ongoing discussion with education partners about identifying students in need of further support and to address learning impacts from the pandemic.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

In 2020-2021, B.C. earmarked $18 million from its overall pandemic-related education funding to support students with impacted learning (e.g., for assessment, developing resources to address issues and for recovery strategies).

In 2021-2022, it offered a one-time allocation of $5 million for expanded and new mental health programs

How are you addressing other student needs?

The province is relying on school counsellors, teacher psychologists, child and youth workers, as well as online resources (erase.ca and Foundry Virtual) to support students’ mental health.

In partnership with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Education Ministry is also continuing with a $16-million investment over four years to boost mental health and wellness capacity in school districts.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Front-line teachers and support staff assess student learning needs, with ministry staff working with school districts to review information and provide further support.

What assessments have taken place?

The province is monitoring student performance through the grades 4 and 7 Foundation Skills Assessment (literacy and numeracy), as well as its provincial graduation assessments (e.g., Literacy 10, Numeracy 10, Literacy 12). B.C. also has an ongoing multi-phase research study of the impact of the pandemic on students’ learning.

Manitoba

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

In Manitoba, the priorities for the upcoming year are mental health and well-being, re-engaging with students and responding to identified literacy and numeracy needs.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

For the 2022-2023 year, an additional $77 million of one-time funding is slated to help with financial pressures, with $5 million set aside to assess and address pandemic learning impacts (allocated by divisions as per local needs).

How are you addressing other student needs?

School divisions have accessed more than $1.8 million in funding for locally based mental health programs/services (e.g., Safe Schools Fund and Teachers’ Idea Fund). The remote learning support centre also offers lessons/resources to support physical education and mental health.

In September 2021, the provincial Department of Education, along with the Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness, introduced a new mental health strategy for the education sector, with more than $1 million in new investments to provide additional support to students and staff.

The department is also working on a plan to improve student attendance, presence and engagement.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

 

The department is reviewing report cards, provincial assessments and credit attainment data, and is meeting with all divisions to gauge needs and priorities for student learning and well-being. It’s also developing a strategy to measure student achievement and well-being as part of its response to the Commission on K-12 Education and the 2022 auditor general’s report.

What assessments have taken place?

 

In 2021-2022, provincial (summative) assessments resumed for grades 3 and 4, and 7 and 8, while ongoing assessments of report card data and by teachers at the classroom level occurred throughout the pandemic. An analysis of report card data over five years (encompassing the time before and during the pandemic) will be released soon to support planning by school divisions.

New Brunswick

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is gathering feedback from educators and partners to assess current learning gaps and how to address them, with additional summer learning opportunities being explored. The current focus is on the return to normal routines and administering of provincial assessments, which will guide interventions and supports.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

See below.

How are you addressing other student needs?

About $1.9 million is earmarked to increase access to and awareness of early childhood intervention services. After a review, $5.8 million and $2.2 million will go to the anglophone and francophone systems, respectively, to increase inclusive education resources (e.g., speech pathologists, social workers, behaviour intervention mentors, guidance counsellors, resource specialists).

In 2021-2022, New Brunswick spent $2.3 million on mental health initiatives, including integrating mental health into the school curriculum and training for educators in areas such as suicide prevention, trauma-informed practice, non-violent crisis intervention, mental health literacy, etc.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

See below.

What assessments have taken place?

Though some assessments were paused during the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic, provincial assessments have returned as usual in 2021-2022. This year’s data will be published in fall 2022.

Newfoundland and Labrador

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

In 2020-2021, the Department of Education enacted a curriculum prioritization/core content plan in light of pandemic disruptions to classes.

With federal funding in 2021-2022, the department hired 70 substitute teachers on term contracts, 15 administrators and 25 guidance counsellors. The latter two will be maintained. Since the release of the Education Action Plan in 2018, the department has hired 104 reading specialists, 200 learning assistants, 39 learning resource teachers and 12 English-as-an-additional language teachers.

The province invested $20 million for laptops for teachers, junior high and high school students to allow for online learning both during and after the pandemic.

The department added educators to expand junior high curriculum resources in the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

No reply offered.

How are you addressing other student needs?

No reply offered.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Moving forward, the department is working to create a symposium with K-12 and post-secondary stakeholders to discuss the impact on students and to identify solutions.

What assessments have taken place?

Provincial assessments in grades 3, 6 and 9, as well as high school exams, were suspended earlier during the pandemic. There have been no standardized assessments since January 2019. Provincial assessments in reading resumed for grades 3, 6 and 9 in May 2022.

Northwest Territories

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

The Education Department will monitor student needs using existing wellness data collection, referrals for school-based services and progress reports. That the existing system supports students up to 21 years of age completing their K-12 education could help those who need more time to recover from pandemic-impacted schooling.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

The department is focusing on enhancing programs and services. It expanded its Northern Distance Learning program to 19 schools during the 2020-2021 year. Also that school year, the Career and Education Adviser program expanded and hired five more advisers. Beginning in January 2022, the territory launched a pilot program to boost training of support assistants.

How are you addressing other student needs?

The department is relying on existing resources to help address challenges, including child and youth care counsellors, career and post-secondary advisers, the territory’s inclusive schooling policy (which includes supports such as accommodations, modifications or individualized programming and plans), the territorial-based classroom reintegration team and the Northern Distance Learning program.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Resuming regular assessments and data collection will inform the department’s understanding of the impact on students, as will its upcoming publication of the 2019-2020 JK-12 Education Performance Measures Technical Report.

What assessments have taken place?

The department is monitoring data, such as early years “on-track” rates, “thriving rates” for grades 4 and 7 students, attendance rates, core subject completion and high school graduation rates, and percentages of students moving on to post-secondary.

NWT also reinstated the Alberta Achievement Tests and Grade 12 diploma exams for June 2022. A survey of the children’s health will be administered in November 2022.

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Nova Scotia is relying on teachers to adapt and adjust the curriculum to ensure that students meet outcomes, with the support of the regional centres of education and the Department of Education.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

Federal funding has gone toward additional literacy software to support reading and writing development. Additional teaching resources were added to allow classroom teachers time to implement targeted literacy strategies.

How are you addressing other student needs?

In September 2022, the province will debut a new physical activity framework. Each school has also received the first of an annual healthy living grant to fund outdoor and cultural learning experiences.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

The province touts continuous monitoring at the classroom, regional and provincial levels, including looking at grades 1 to 4 and grades 10 to 12 report card trends for English and math to get a sense of possible pandemic impacts on learning. Teachers must respond with targeted interventions for literacy, supported by additional professional development and online resources.

What assessments have taken place?

Nova Scotia reinstated the Grade 6 provincial assessment in literacy and math in fall 2021 and in grades 3 and 8 in spring 2022. Grade 10 provincial exams in English- or French-language arts took place in January 2022 and spring 2022, with Grade 10 provincial exams in math also completed.

Nunavut

Note: We received no response from Nunavut’s Education Department. The information below reflects priorities and guidance offered to educators for the 2021-2022 school year.

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Nunavut schools operated at rotating capacity levels during the 2021-2022 school year, depending on COVID-19 cases in the community and other factors. However, education officials aimed to mitigate infection risk with the potential harms of long-term school closures on students’ physical and mental health, along with possible learning gaps.

For 2021-2022, the department recommended a recovery learning approach when returning to class after breaks or disruptions, plus attention paid to students’ mental and physical well-being. Core curriculum outcomes for kindergarten through Grade 9 were identified to provide guidance to teachers. Noted priorities included literacy, numeracy and wellness, along with skills development over content-based knowledge.

It also encouraged educators to be guided by Inuit principles, such as Inuuqatigiitsiarniq (respect for every individual as important to the community) and Tunnganarniq (connection through being welcoming and inclusive), in their interactions with students, parents, school community members and each other when navigating emotional well-being.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

Unknown.

How are you addressing other student needs?

Nunavut emphasized that education support services — such as the oral health program, counselling and wellness programs and school-based occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech language therapy programs — should continue, while following pandemic protocols to reduce risks of transmission. It also encouraged the continuation of food and nutrition programs, physical education classes, sports, outdoor learning and play.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Nunavut recommended to educators that assessment should identify student assets rather than highlight deficits, and involve short interactions to determine next steps or needs in students’ learning. As well, assessment does not need to involve formalized tests or measures. Formative (ongoing) assessments were also recommended.

What assessments have taken place?

See above.

Ontario

Note: We received no response from Ontario’s Education Ministry. A provincial election campaign began May 4, with the Progressive Conservative Party re-elected on June 2. The information below reflects education funding the government had earlier pledged for 2022-2023 and its learning recovery plan, announced in February 2022.

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Ontario’s plan aims to address pandemic impacts on students with investment in four areas: assessment, tutoring, resilience and mental well-being, and numeracy and literacy.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

In February 2022, the ministry announced $176 million to expand tutoring supports, with $175 million for school boards’ immediate use to implement programs through December 2022. Mandated to be in place by April 1, 2022, these programs could be during, before or after school hours, and occur during summer and/or offered by local organizations. Funding was also pledged to expand online math and reading tutoring services from Mathify and Eureka.

The ministry announced an additional $10 million for student resilience and mental well-being, with a plan to launch consultations in summer 2022 to develop a provincewide student mental health strategy alongside the Ministry of Health. Of this funding, $5 million was allocated for evidence-based programs and resources.

Ontario pledged $40 million to learning supports in math and reading, including $25 million for reading assessment and intervention programs for struggling readers. It planned to expand existing summer learning programs with $10 million for students with special needs, $130,000 for provincial and demonstration schools and $5 million for programs by third parties. School board summer learning programs for First Nation students living on reserve were to receive $120,000 for 2022 and 2023, with Eureka to get $100,000 to develop French-language virtual summer programming.

How are you addressing other student needs?

Mental health components of the recovery plan include looking at mandatory professional development on mental health and exploring a potential graduation requirement on resilience and mental well-being.

The ministry also announced a time-limited staffing support fund of $304 million. This would go toward hiring teachers, early childhood educators and other workers to address learning recovery plus staff to implement de-streamed Grade 9, special education needs, remote learning (a required option for the 2022-2023 school year) and enhanced cleaning.

Learning recovery was also flagged as a priority area for Ontario’s three mandatory professional activity days for educators during the next school year.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Unknown.

What assessments have taken place?

After pausing during the pandemic, Ontario planned to resume grades 3 and 6 EQAO provincial testing in spring 2022. The results were expected in fall 2022, when the ministry aimed to engage education officials, teaching experts and at-risk communities to identify interventions and set targets for improvement.

Prince Edward Island

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

P.E.I.‘s Department of Education is working with its English- and French-language school boards, the P.E.I. Teachers’ Federation and other community stakeholders on its educational recovery plan. The province says class-based data has been collected, but the plan has not yet been finalized.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

No reply offered.

How are you addressing other student needs?

No reply offered.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

No reply offered.

What assessments have taken place?

No reply offered.

Quebec

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Quebec’s educational recovery plan aims to support students both academically and psychosocially, with funding for areas such as closing learning gaps, tutoring and supporting student well-being.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

Quebec’s recovery plan includes $110 million in investments. The province invested $22 million in 2021 and $60 million in 2021-2022 toward a large-scale tutoring program, which saw 15,000 tutors support 163,000 students last year. Other details below.

How are you addressing other student needs?

Guidance has been created for educators to target core knowledge in the curriculum and adapt lesson planning. Online educational resources for distance (ecoleouverte.ca) and in-class learning (Télé-Québec) were created, training offered for teaching remotely and $150 million invested into boosting devices and internet access.

Quebec also invested in external partners for additional supports, including $7.2 million to online homework helper service Alloprof to target students with learning difficulties or who are at risk of academic failure and $4.6 million to Tel-jeunes, a student help-line.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Since the start of the pandemic, the Ministry of Education has commissioned or carried out investigations, research and studies into the impact of COVID-19 on student learning and education, including an ongoing examination into primary students and others analyzing pandemic impacts on student success, progress, and school dropout and graduation rates.

What assessments have taken place?

The province is awaiting the outcome from provincial and international surveys, including Quebec’s survey on the development of children in kindergarten (EQDEM), the International Program for Research in Reading Literacy (PIRLS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
The ministry has also been comparing student report card data in certain subjects across different grade levels: the third and sixth years of elementary and fourth and fifth years of secondary school.

Saskatchewan

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

Key tenets of Saskatchewan’s interim education plan covering 2021 through 2023 — which the government developed with the education sector — include mental health and well-being, reading, numeracy and student engagement.

One section of the plan, for example, centres on targeted support and interventions for struggling readers in grades 1 to 5. The province is relying on teachers and administrators to measure any impact of pandemic learning on students.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

More than $155 million in prior pandemic funding went to remote learning, sanitation and PPE, mental health and other supports for students, equipment, IT and other needs. In 2021-2022, pandemic funding largely focussed on recovery activities, such as supporting grade 1 students who may not have attended kindergarten, reading support for grades 1 to 5 and hiring to address student mental health and engage with those who had low attendance in 2020-2021.

For 2022-2023, school divisions will receive $1.99 billion in school operating funding, which includes $6 million toward adding learning supports (such as psychologists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and more). Also, $7 million is earmarked for hiring new educational assistants.

How are you addressing other student needs?

In fall 2021, Saskatchewan invested $500,000 into mental health first-aid training with the goal of having a minimum of one staff member trained per school. During the school year, divisions could also access grant funding for staff training related to student safety and mental wellness.

The Ministry of Education also works with Kids Help Phone to promote its mental health services and resources database.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

No reply offered.

What assessments have taken place?

No reply offered.

Yukon

What’s your plan to address learning loss?

In 2020, Yukon’s Department of Education created learning continuity requirements to guide educators early in the pandemic and adapted its approach over the two years since, including creating online resources and a digital collaboration space for teachers.

Ongoing priorities include staff and student health and safety, learning continuity and support for those with additional needs or requiring flexible learning. The department is also working longer term on literacy, numeracy and how to manage learning gaps.

The territory’s kindergarten to Grade 12 Education Recovery Plan clarifies learning expectations, guides educators in identifying and addressing impacted student learning and well-being, and offers information on available resources. Summer school fees have also been waived for 2022, while summer literacy camps will be expanded.

How much funding is going to the recovery plan and how will it be allocated?

Yukon created an additional 23 teaching positions in the 2020-2021 school year to support students and existing staff. The department also earmarked $150,000 for tutoring programs.

How are you addressing other student needs?

Schools are adapting to student needs, including access to devices or Wi-Fi, resource programs for students with diverse needs and in-person and online tutoring.

In 2022-2023, the department is budgeting an additional $400,000 for mental health support and service needs after consulting with school councils, boards, First Nation governments and other partners. The department also created a pilot position to boost physical literacy and physical education, has prioritized in-person learning and is exploring interventions and supports for earlier grades to improve long-term outcomes and graduation rates.

How have you been monitoring the impact on students?

Yukon’s Education Department has adjusted its pandemic approach amid continual feedback from stakeholders, such as students, parents, educators, bus drivers, school councils, First Nation and other communities). Over the past two years, three surveys have helped inform the system’s approach.

What assessments have taken place?

System-wide assessments were postponed at the start of the pandemic but resumed their usual fall and spring schedule in 2020-2021. Yukon monitors these assessments, plus student learning data gathered at both system and school levels, with a plan to modernize the processes of the latter.

Amid the pandemic, the territory is also increasing focus on students needing additional support, as well as prioritizing core literacy and numeracy, social-emotional development and mental health.

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