FREDERICTON (GNB) – Key features of the new school district structure, including more support for school principals, were announced today by Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr.

"We are announcing a completely new model and innovative structure designed to provide the best education possible for our children," said Carr.

This was the first of three announcements that will be made during the next few weeks to improve education in New Brunswick. The others will focus on early childhood development and inclusion and student support services.

"We are implementing an organization that puts the focus where it belongs – on the students, staff and schools in an environment designed to enhance learning," said Carr. "The reorganization was created first and foremost to put the right supports in the right places to best serve students, teachers, principals and our schools. This was not a traditional cost-cutting measure – rather, an examination of what the system is and what it could be."

The new model is the result of extensive consultation that included more than 500 submissions from around the province as well as meetings with stakeholders, including district education councils, teachers, principals, parents and academics with expertise in school reform. This collaboration further extended to having district and departmental staff work together, in anglophone and francophone transition teams, to develop the models for each sector.

"Our grassroots approach to engagement allowed us to reflect the specific needs of both linguistic communities into our model," said Carr. "I thank staff and stakeholders for their commitment to this process and their creativity."

The reorganization will entail staff reductions, but Carr said every effort is being made to minimize the effects on those who will be directly affected. Sixty-five positions will be displaced, mainly in administration, but none in the classroom. The provincial government confirmed that the savings of $2.4 million in 2012-13 will be reinvested in schools.

Following are the locations of the seven new school district offices and education centres, including superintendents:

Anglophone South school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Saint John.
●    Location of education support centres: St. Stephen, Saint John, Hampton.
●    Superintendent: Zoë Watson.
 
Anglophone East school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Moncton.
●    Location of education support centres: Riverview, Sackville.
●    Superintendent: Gregg Ingersoll.
 
Anglophone West school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Fredericton.
●    Location of education support centres: Woodstock, Fredericton, Oromocto.
●    Superintendent: David McTimoney.

Anglophone North school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Miramichi.
●    Location of education support centres: Bathurst-Dalhousie, Miramichi.
●    Superintendent: Nancy Boucher.
 
Francophone South school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Dieppe.
●    Location of education support centres: Saint John-Fredericton, Dieppe, Shediac, Bouctouche, Saint-Louis-de-Kent.
●    Superintendent: Gérald Richard.
 
Francophone Northeast school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Tracadie-Sheila.
●    Location of education support centres: Campbellton, Bathurst, Caraquet-Shippagan, Tracadie-Sheila.
●    Superintendent: Jean-Guy Levesque.
 
Francophone Northwest school district:
●    Location of the office of the superintendent: Edmundston.
●    Location of education support centres: Edmundston, Grand Falls.
●    Superintendent: Bertrand Beaulieu.
 
"I congratulate and thank each of these individuals for accepting this new challenge of positioning education for the future, providing more support for principals, teachers and staff, and helping to raise the achievement bar and close the gaps," Carr said.
    
Following are some of the key changes being made to provide a system that will make the best use of education resources by keeping the focus on students and schools:  

●    Principals will see much of their administrative duties reduced so they can focus on dealing with education issues. They will be empowered as educational leaders to effect positive change for students, parents, schools, teachers, staff and communities.

●    Schools will be organized into clusters composed of four to 12 schools. Teams of principals will work within these clusters to identify and share best practices and resources, problem-solve and contribute to continuous improvement in all schools.

●    A network of education support centres will be created to ensure that principals and teachers have access to the resources and services they need. Educational leadership, coaching, advice, support and supervision and overall management will be assured through senior educational staff assigned to the clusters and support centres.

●    Administrative services co-ordinators and administrative services clerks will be assigned to principals within the clusters. They will take over the administrative duties that traditionally prevented principals from focusing on education, freeing them up to do just that.

●    The Office of the Superintendent will have a mandate to act as a champion of change and educational leader within each district. Superintendents will be directly accountable for student achievement, budget and policy development, supporting district education council governance and engaging the community as partners in education. They will also be responsible for ensuring all schools receive the support they need to meet their specific goals and challenges.

●    A new position – director of education support services – will be responsible for providing leadership and co-ordination of programs and services that support inclusive education and intervention.

"Hand-in-hand with the focus on students and schools, and changes to various roles within the system, the reorganization includes the creation of a culture of accountability based on staff buy-in, clear expectations and the support needed to help teachers and staff meet their objectives," said Carr.

He added, "I will provide leadership to ensure the system focuses on the right things – the students and the schools."

LINK:

●    Department of Education and Early Childhood Development: www.gnb.ca/education