The Manitoba government has released a new policy directive and action plan to enhance student presence and engagement and is launching a new public awareness campaign to provide students and parents with more information about the benefits of regular school attendance, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.
“Schools are key to lifelong success by engaging students in learning through both classroom and extracurricular activities and supporting them through their individual education path. Students who attend school regularly are more confident and engaged, have a greater sense of community belonging and are more likely to obtain a high school diploma,” said Ewasko. “No single attendance strategy will work for all students and schools, which is why we’re focusing on student presence and engagement, and building on the important work already happening in our classrooms and schools to support students.”
The policy directive outlines guidelines for:
- common terminology;
- proactive/preventative practices;
- monitoring, analyzing and reporting data;
- responding to chronic absenteeism;
- co-ordinated services; and
- defining roles and responsibilities.
School divisions will be updating policies in accordance with this directive by the end of the school year, the minister noted.
“Personally, I believe it is the most important initiative I have ever been involved in.” said Sel Burrows, community advocate and task force member. “If we manage to even get half the chronically absent students attending regularly, we will have made a huge contribution to reducing poverty rates.”
The minister noted Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan sets out the implementation of a provincial attendance policy and action plan. The directive and accompanying action plan also incorporates recommendations from the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education as well as consultations with education stakeholders and the Attendance Task Force.
“We thank the Attendance Task Force members, as they were instrumental in the development of the attendance action plan, policy directive for student presence and engagement, and public education campaign to increase awareness and public discourse around roles and responsibilities,” said Ewasko.
The minister noted that feedback from students, parents, teachers and others is vital in identifying elements of the policy that are working well and areas that may require additional focus. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the policy and its implementation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the province is launching a targeted public awareness campaign called “School. Keep Going.” The campaign focuses on how school can help students develop friendships, increase confidence and build a better future, one day at a time. The minister thanked youth who helped design the campaign, as well as Kildonan East Collegiate and Daniel McIntyre Collegiate for accommodating the campaign development.
In the coming weeks, Manitobans will see the campaign on billboards, in movie theatres, on digital and social media and in schools. For more information on student attendance visit: https://manitoba.ca/keepgoing.
For more information on Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan visit: https://edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/action_plan/index.html.
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