The Prince Albert Catholic School Division is still finalizing details following two recent pilot project announcements by the provincial government.
The Division was one of eight selected for the Specialized Support Classroom pilot project in January. Later in the month, Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill also announced the Teacher Innovation and Support Fund.
PA Catholic School Division Education Director Lorel Trumier said they are highly engaged in both projects, and working diligently to get them up and running.
The most urgent is the Innovation and Support Fund, where teachers have the opportunity to apply for up to $75,000 to improve their classroom environment, student achievement, and wellness and school safety. The project runs until the end of the 2024-25 school year.
“We encourage that on a regular basis, but this will just also be able to provide some seed money and some opportunity for financing some of the projects that we generally haven’t been able to do in the last few years of budget restraints,” Trumier said. “(We’re) so looking forward to seeing the innovation of teachers.”
With the Specialized Support Classroom pilot project the Government of Saskatchewan is providing a $3.6 million investment to fund the pilot in eight school divisions, which begins this February and runs until the end of the 2024-25 school year.
The pilot will provide a classroom with specialized supports to help students practice self-regulation skills while also addressing the impacts of disruptions in the home classroom. The specialized support classroom setting will be staffed by a minimum of one teacher and two educational assistants.
The space will have capacity for 15 students and may use other supports from staff as needed, such as psychologists and counsellors.
The Catholic Division has submitted a plan and is working with the Ministry to finalize details. Trumier said the division is hiring one teacher and one consultant and advertising internally first, but then externally as well.
The project will need a consultant, teachers, educational assistants.
“We will be having some of our student support services teachers involved and our student support coordinator, our psychologist, our speech and language pathologist, and so we’re developing a program here that we get to pilot and we’re looking to involve many people in the process to make a difference for our students,” Trumier said.
The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation has been using these pilot projects as examples of the Government addressing matters they want at the negotiating table like classroom complexity and other sticking points in their labour action.