The New Frontiers School Board has published its renewed Commitment to Success Plan, which sets out the orientations and priorities for the institution to follow over the next four years.
“It is about each student and what each student’s needs are,” says NFSB director general Michael Helm. He notes that this philosophy plays a significant role in the Commitment to Success Plan, which was developed following a series of extensive public consultations that took place between November 2022 and September 2023.
The revised plan was adopted during the regular meeting of the Council of Commissioners in October and was submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval. The Ministry accepted the plan officially on October 26, and Helm says they are now working with the document to develop objectives that will eventually become an action plan.
A roadmap for the way forward
This was the first time the NFSB has consulted on the wording of its vision, which now centres on fostering success for each student. The board’s mission revolves around engaging students, staff, parents, and the community as educational partners, while the values of the NFSB include community, adaptability, responsibility, and equality/inclusion.
“We are very pleased with the outcome,” says Helm, who suggests that as a school board, “We are going to see some significant gains for our students.”
To better encourage student success, the NFSB will be looking at increasing access to specialized programs while also considering the learning environment and the importance of listening to students. The Plan outlines a series of Ministry of Education orientations and the NFSB’s commitments to achieve these objectives, which include making student success a top priority for Quebec society, making vocational education truly attractive, and making schools and centres welcoming spaces. The board does not shy away from admitting there will be challenges in meeting these targets over the next few years.
For example, the NFSB acknowledges it has seen a three- to six-per cent increase in employee turnover, especially in terms of teachers. High absenteeism rates and the level of student engagement are also areas of concern. To help, the board will be providing increased support to new teachers as well as mentoring and coaching initiatives for all employees. Students will see an increased focus on extracurricular activities and specialty programs.
The success rate of students with special needs is well above the provincial average, as is the proportion of students scoring between 70 and 100 per cent on the grade 6 compulsory mathematics exam; however, graduation rates and success rates for boys are currently below the provincial average. The participation rate in special educational projects by secondary students is also below the average across Quebec. The NFSB has committed to improving these areas, with the goal of achieving results above current provincial averages by 2027.
When it comes to adult learners and vocational programs, the graduation rate among NFSB students is slightly below the Quebec average. Here, the board has committed to being as flexible as possible to accommodate adult learners in their work/life balance. The board is hoping to attain permanent authorization for the Health Assistance and Nursing program, while looking to offer new programs that support the needs of the community.
In tandem with the ministerial orientations, the NFSB has developed its own orientations in consultation with students, staff, families, and the community. These objectives revolve around strengthening employee engagement, leveraging the power of data to make informed decisions, and fostering relationships and partnerships that will lead to collaborative and inclusive educational environments.
The NFSB has just launched its registration period for its kindergarten programs. Interested parents can access the Commitment to Success Plan to learn more about the Board’s engagements, as well as its bilingual programs, online at nfsb.qc.ca.