News Release Archive

EDUCATION/CULTURE--Successes Shared Through Junior High Network
Junior high schools are joining forces to share ideas and support
for students during the critical middle years.

The Junior High School Network is being established after an
overwhelming response from teachers, administrators and
communities, Education and Culture Minister Robbie Harrison
announced today, Tuesday, Nov. 25.

"School boards and schools are bringing forward exciting and
innovative projects that promote student success during these
challenging and important years," said Mr. Harrison. "We have a
wealth of expertise and ideas in our schools, and the network is
a unique way to share success stories and reach more students in
more schools across the province."

Fifty-seven schools submitted proposals to form the network. A
wide range of projects were presented, including new approaches
to teaching and learning, opening school doors to the community,
and providing support for all areas of student life. Sixteen
schools will be part of the network to start, but all 57 will
take part by September 1998.

In the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, Sherwood Park
Education Centre will share its experiences with a range of
projects, including the use of "thematic teaching" to improve
student interest and motivation. Using this method, teachers
identify a theme --Fortress Louisbourg, for example --likely to
appeal to junior high students. This theme becomes the focus of
their research and study in several subjects such as language
arts, science, music and geography.

In the Halifax Regional School Board, John Martin Junior High
School will share the success of a wide variety of programs
directed at improving all areas of student life and learning. A
"team teaching" approach means teachers see fewer students in
more subject areas, allowing teachers to come to know individual
students better as learners.

John Martin principal Shelagh Fowler sees the network as an
opportunity to share success while learning from other schools.

"This project will allow us to share the dynamic experiences
which have occurred in John Martin and to collaborate on other
exciting initiatives around Nova Scotia," she said. "An
acknowledgement of the special needs of adolescents through
school changes will have a dramatic effect in our classrooms."

In the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, East Pictou Rural
High School will bring information on several current and planned
initiatives to the network. For example, an Advisor-Advisee
program that links each student with a teacher or school staff
partner who meet in small groups regularly. The forms healthy
bonds with teachers and staff, resulting in better learning and
better prepared students.

In the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, improving
students' problem-solving skills is the goal of the Windsor
Regional Middle School proposal. By injecting real-world
activities into the curriculum, learning is improved through an
expanded knowledge of ways to approach and solve problems.

In the Strait Regional School Board, St. Andrew Junior High in
Antigonish is developing a school intranet. The project will
improve the computer literacy of teachers, students and even
parents, allowing greater access to the school's technological

St. Andrew principal Philip Hall sees the network as an
opportunity to share success while learning from other schools.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students here at
St. Andrew," he said. "Our participation will allow us to
initiate a host of school improvement initiatives for the benefit
of students and parents in our community."

Technology is also on the minds of education partners at Centre
Consolidated School in the Southwest Regional School Board. A
comprehensive technology integration plan has been developed with
the school advisory council, and various partners are providing
hardware, software and professional development for teachers.

The 16 co-operating schools announced Nov. 25 were: 

--Annapolis Valley Regional School Board: Hants West Regional
Middle School, Windsor Regional High School, Coldbrook and
District School

--Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board: Sherwood Park
Education Centre, Thompson Junior High School

--Chignecto-Central Regional School Board: East Pictou Rural High
School, West Pictou Consolidated School, Truro Junior High School

--Halifax Regional School Board: Elizabeth Sutherland School,
Ross Road School, John Martin Junior High School

--Southwest Regional School Board: Centre Consolidated School,
Mahone Bay, Barrington Municipal High School

--Strait Regional School Board: St. Andrew Junior School

--Conseil scolaire acadien provincial: Ecole Petit-de-Grat

A junior high school co-ordinator is now working in the
department to develop partnerships, create electronic links for
information sharing, and work with schools, school boards and
other education partners in supporting middle-junior high

Over the next three years, a series of provincial conferences
will be organized, with the first scheduled for Dec. 4-5 in
Halifax. This two-day symposium will bring leadership teams from
all 57 co-operating schools to share their projects and develop
school and personal contacts.

A paper on current and emerging research in successful junior
high schools was released by the Education Department in
September. Further research will also be carried out to add to
what schools are "learning by doing," and classroom-based
research will be conducted to support a plan that brings
successful middle-junior high practices to more schools.


Contact: Catherine MacIsaac
         Education and Culture

NOTE TO EDITORS: To arrange an interview with a school principal
from the network, please contact Catherine MacIsaac at the above
phone number or e-mail address.

ngr                  Nov. 25, 1997                3:35 p.m.