Minister Simpson and education leaders hold first in-person meeting since onset of COVID-19

Communiqué

Yellowknife — June 15, 2022

The Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) held a day-long meeting with education leaders on June 8, marking the first such meeting to be held in person since January 2020.

The Minister opened the meeting by acknowledging the significance of meeting in person, and noted the resiliency displayed by education leaders throughout the pandemic. He also welcomed the many education body superintendents who were in attendance.

ECE updated education leaders on how the department is assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on the Northwest Territories (NWT) education system. Education leaders were briefed on how regular monitoring of Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) performance measures may provide insight into the impacts on students and learning. These include graduation and attendance rates, early childhood development and middle development instruments, as well as course completion rates.

There was a presentation on ECE’s continued work to improve student education outcomes in the NWT, including priority items such as recruiting and retaining Indigenous language instructors (ILS) for NWT schools and developing an employment plan to address their needs. The challenges of teacher recruitment and housing were also discussed, as well as delivering speech language pathology programming; ECE will continue to assess these needs and examine the impacts, and these discussions with education leaders will continue.

Education leaders participated in a roundtable discussion which allowed them to highlight issues their respective education bodies are facing, and provided an opportunity to celebrate successful initiatives and positive outcomes in their regions.

The mandate item ‘Improve mental health counselling services to children and youth’ was also on the agenda, including the roll out of Child and Youth Care Counsellors (CYCC) and clinical supervisors in schools. ECE and Health and Social Services are moving toward evaluating the CYCC program to appropriately adjust and provide improvement to services.

ECE and education leaders will meet again in Fall 2022.

Quotes:

“It was wonderful to meet with our education leaders in person once again. Today was an opportunity to reconnect as we shift our focus from responding to the pandemic to planning for the future. The items we discussed today will carry us through the next school year, where important initiatives will continue to improve student outcomes in the Northwest Territories. I hope educators, students and families have a happy and healthy summer break. We look forward to seeing you again in the fall.”

-R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

“We thank Minister Simpson and ECE for today’s meeting. It was an informative day, and a great chance to reconnect with our colleagues in person. We appreciate the discussions around mental health, and the efforts underway to assess the impact of COVID-19 on our schools, students and staff. We wish you all a restful and enjoyable summer.”

-Darlene Gruben, Chair, Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council

 

For more information contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

briony_grabke@gov.nt.ca

Darlene Gruben

Chair, Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council

dargruben@outlook.com