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Backpacks Banned in Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board

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Hannah Nie

Public Relations Officer

Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC)

hannahn@fcss-fesc.ca

+1 (289) 408-8600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2017


Backpacks Banned in Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board

The banning of backpacks in schools in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board has caused a series of obstacles which impede its students from a suitable learning environment, and is a serious concern in the views of the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC). Without backpacks, students must carry any supplies required in class, including books, binders, pencil cases, laptops, and even medication.

As a result, bringing essential supplies to school has become a struggle for many students. Students are more likely to drop their belongings: a severe issue considering the fact that many students use electronic devices, such as laptops or tablets, which could be easily damaged. Reportedly, the halls have also become more crowded and hectic, with students rushing to lockers to store or retrieve learning materials and often arriving late to class simply because of the inconveniences caused by the ban.

In opposition to the backpack ban at their school, students at Cardinal Ledger Secondary have started an online petition, which will be sent to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board upon reaching 1000 signatories. Describing her experience with the ban, a grade 10 student from Cardinal Ledger says, “It’s a lot of stuff to carry and I often have to go up flights of stairs ... I have tried but I can’t hold on to the railing and opening doors is a struggle, so I have to wait for someone to open it for me. I dropped all my stuff two times. I’m scared of the day I drop my binder and everything falls out.”

The ban on backpacks was introduced to reduce clutter and minimize possible tripping hazards in small classrooms. Other reasons for the ban included the back, shoulder, and neck pain which backpacks can cause, their increasing susceptibility to thievery, and misuse from students who use them to store clothing and avoid wearing school uniforms. While these concerns are valid, backpacks are essential tools which allow students to carry the supplies they need with efficiency and ease.

The FCSS-FESC believes that banning backpacks in school is not only unreasonable, but ultimately detrimental to education. Educational supplies and the means to carry them at school should be readily and easily accessible to students. Having the necessary supplies to be prepared for and successful in class should not be a daily struggle for students.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

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Well-being programmEs in Ontario schools

Contact

Hannah Nie

Public Relations Officer

Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC)

hannahn@fcss-fesc.ca

+1 (289) 408-8600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2017


Well-being programmes in Ontario schools

TORONTO, ONTARIO, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 — A new multi-year plan from Ontario’s Ministry of Education aims to improve the well-being of students, educators, and staff in Ontario’s schools, starting in September 2017. Student well-being and equity are essential components of education that the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) has strived to promote and improve. As such, this development is a welcome change that the Federation believes will benefit students across Ontario.

In the 2016-2017 school year, the ministry gathered input from thousands of students, parents, educators, partners, and community members on student well-being in schools. The feedback collectively emphasized the importance of well-being in the forms of positive relationships, a sense of community, student engagement, safety and inclusivity, mental and physical health, as well as positive sense of self. From this, a plan to promote well-being was formed, and will be executed throughout the next three years. The plan includes the allocation of $49 million to fund system-wide changes integrating well-being in all areas of education. As well, the ministry will provide increased support for initiatives targeting the broad range of factors which affect well-being in schools, whether they are physical, mental, emotional, or social.

One such initiative is School Mental Health ASSIST, a provincial support team that supports, leads, and provides resources for the promotion of student mental health and well-being across Ontario. Funding for this programme will be increased from $1 million to $6 million by the end of the three years. Dr. Kathy Short, director of School Mental Health ASSIST, says this is a “welcome investment in the well-being of all Ontario students”, and will “enhance mental health promotion and prevention efforts in schools across the province.”

Funding will also be provided to support active school transportation — for example, walking school buses and bike to school programmes, which promote physical activity. Well-being programmes in schools, such as breakfast programmes, peer mentoring programmes, and bullying prevention programmes, currently receive $6 million in funding — which is set to be doubled by the 2018-19 school year. Not only is student well-being considered, but staff well-being as well. Efforts will be made to expand and develop programmes supporting staff well-being and violence prevention in school environments. Furthermore, the plan puts a focus on improving the well-being and academic achievement of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, through the Indigenous Education Strategy.

“As we begin this new school year, these new investments and initiatives will strengthen the well-being of all students in our schools,” said Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s Minister of Education. She went on to explain that “students are better able to learn when they feel safe and welcome at school, and have the tools to lead their lives with confidence and resiliency.”

The FCSS-FESC firmly believes that student well-being is central to academic success and future development. In past years, the Federation’s committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) has worked tirelessly towards improving student well-being, with a focus on mental health during the 2016-2017 school year. The FCSS-FESC commends the integration of education with mental and physical health, and will continue to actively promote healthy, positive learning environments for all Canadian students.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

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Self-Governed Education for Anishinabek Nation to Support Student Success

Contact

Hannah Nie

Public Relations Officer

Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada

hannahn@fcss-fesc.ca

+1 (289) 408-8600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2017


Self-Governed Education for Anishinabek Nation to Support Student Success

TORONTO, ONTARIO, AUGUST 17, 2017 - A recent agreement between the federal government and the Anishinabek Nation of Ontario will allow 23 Anishinabek reserves to self-govern their education system. As an advocate for student empowerment, success, and equity, the FCSS-FESC is in full support of this decision.

According to the agreement, the Anishinabek communities involved will be able to control the education of students in kindergarten to grade 12 on reserves. This will allow for the creation of a curriculum that incorporates the instruction of Anishinabek culture, history, and language. Ultimately, the agreement seeks to improve the academic success of Anishinabek students and reduce dropout rates. Regarding the agreement, Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee emphasized the importance of education to the First Nations people, stating “the impacts of colonialism [with regards to] Indigenous people kept us uneducated and in poverty”. He went on to explain that “education is the key to our future, where we build capacity and we take over and run our own lives”.

According to Tracey O’Donnell, the Anishinabek Nation’s education negotiator, about 8 percent of Anishinabek students attend on-reserve schools. However, the majority of Anishinabek students attend provincial schools due to a lack of facilities on reserve, or because their families live off-reserve. Thus, the agreement will also include collaboration between Anishinabek communities and the provincial government to develop programmes supporting Anishinabek students off-reserve. For example, this could consist of changes in Ontario’s curriculum to include Anishinabek history and culture. “What we’re trying to do is create a new reality so our students achieve the same level or even higher level of success than other Ontario students,” O’Donnell said.

The agreement will affect about 25 000 Anishinabek people, and is the largest self-governing agreement to be signed in Canadian history. All 40 of the Anishinabek Nation’s member First Nations communities are allowed to join the agreement.

The Anishinabek Nation’s self-governed education system is in line with the FCSS-FESC’s goal to empower all Canadian students with the opportunities and resources needed to succeed in school and beyond. Anishinabek students will be able to receive a well-rounded education that does not diminish the importance of their unique cultural identity and heritage. The FCSS-FESC believes that this agreement will help provide Ontario’s Anishinabek students with opportunities and resources, and is an important development with regards to the Federation’s own mission of ensuring equitable education for students across Canada.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

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Looking to the Future of Education

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Looking to the Future of Education

Study on the Current State and Future of Blended Learning | FCSS-FESC

For the past several months, the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students-Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) has been working to collect, compile, and tabulate data for its Study on how blended learning has been received by students, its adoption by school boards to facilitate learning, and overall sentiments from both teachers and students on the current state and direction of blended learning courses for secondary students/

Today, we are proud to announce that through the dedication of the Federation's Research Chair, Katherine Gotovsky, and the Standing Committee on Policy, the FCSS-FESC can publish its findings.

The full 13-page publication in its entirety contains background information, summaries of statistics, and in-depth analyses on the effects of blended learning and how it compares to other distance education delivery methods, including pure eLearning or massive open online courses (MOOCs). This is then compared to how well these options facilitate student success and engagement in secondary school. The study can be accessed, viewed, and downloaded below. For questions or to obtain publication and reproduction right, please email contact@fcss-fesc.ca

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Vicky Chang - Statement of Public Disassociation

This notice is available only to Members of the Federation under executive directive 17-06A issued by Husayn Jamal, Executive Director on 2017/06/10. An archived copy of the original is available on request by Members.


Any questions pertaining to the Notice of Termination or the statement of Public Disassociation should be directed to the Code of Conduct Committee who oversaw the investigation into the above enumerated acts. Disclosure permitted under the Code of Conduct, the Member Agreement, and the consent of the concerned parties.