NWT Education Leadership Collaborates on Instructional Practices

YELLOWKNIFE (January 23, 2017) – The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association (NWTTA) and the Northwest Territories Superintendents’ Association (NWTSA) today announced their collaboration on strengthening teacher instructional practices (STIP) across the NWT.

Teacher wellness and professional development fall under the banner of the Education Renewal strategy (2013), to ensure that educators have access to experiences and resources that enhance their wellness in order for them to focus on excellence in teaching.

Currently, the NWT has the highest number of instructional hours in Canada for upper secondary, at 1045. Most other jurisdictions fall between 880 and 1000 hours. Despite having the highest number of required instructional hours across Canada, the NWT education system is not meeting the needs of learners. Attendance, graduation rates, the Early Development Instrument (EDI), the Alberta Achievement Tests (AAT), Functional Grade Levels (FGL) and the Healthy Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) provide data that indicates education leadership must take a different approach to engage with and help students succeed.

The STIP initiative will provide education boards across the territory the option to redirect up to 100 hours to allow for improved teacher planning, assessment, collaborative practice and ongoing professional development. Globally, research and implementation of this practice is one of the most powerful factors in improving student outcomes.

Pilot projects will be conducted in the 2017-18 school year, to determine where improvements can be made and focus on the training and resources that will assist teachers with their teaching practices. The STIP initiative is not mandatory for participation. 


“When we began to develop the Education Renewal strategy, research was conducted across the NWT, Canada and globally, to ensure we were aware of best practices already in place. This research and practice underpinned our approach and what emerged was a resounding need to do things differently in education in the North. We have already begun to see successes from our approach, and working with our critical partners, the NWT Teachers’ Association and the NWT Superintendents’ Association, I am confident that investing in our teachers will positively affect student engagement and outcomes.”
-Alfred Moses, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

“Much time over many years has gone into reducing NWT teacher workload to allow teachers to focus on teaching. It has been a positive experience working collaboratively with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and the NWT Superintendents’ Association towards a common goal that will lead to increasing student achievement and teacher wellness. I believe we have a positive solution that will lead to significant improvements in these two interconnected areas. Increases in teacher wellness has a positive impact on student achievement.”
-Fraser Oliver, President of the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association

“The NWT Superintendents collectively value the collaboration, innovation, and shared leadership necessary to promote and champion continuous improvement in our schools to achieve the highest quality of education for all NWT students. We believe excellence in teaching results from having systems in place that support both the learner and the teacher to thrive. We are optimistic that the STIP initiative will support the collaborative work necessary to strengthen the professional teaching and learning techniques necessary to more positively impact student learning. This collaboratively developed initiative will also enable teachers to more effectively engage in the many professional responsibilities, including improvement of skills and practice that go beyond classroom instruction, but which are essential to providing an excellent, well-balanced, educational experience.”
-Shannon Barnett-Aikman, Director of Education, Tłįchǫ Community Services Agency, and Metro Huculak, Superintendent, Yellowknife Education District No. 1, Representatives for Northwest Territories Superintendents’ Association

Quick Facts

  • Research from around the world reflects that increasing a teacher’s professional learning and strengthening a teacher’s instructional practices are the most powerful factors in improving student outcomes.
  • As Canadian provinces and countries such as Finland have shown, better prepared teachers provide higher quality instruction that results in some of the best student achievement outcomes in the world.
  • Teachers in the NWT (and Nunavut) have the highest levels of instructional hours in Canada. NWT teachers have some of the most diverse and challenging school environments when compared to the rest of Canada.
  • NWT teachers work approximately 52 hours per week, including planning, assessing, teaching and preparing to meet daily student needs.

Media Contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager | Communications & Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
Phone: (867) 767-9352 x 71073
Email: jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca