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Equal Access to Extra-curricular Educational Experiences

Resolution Number: 2010-05
Submitted by: Merritt E. Callaghan Home and School Association

WHEREAS all partners in the school community recognize that valuable educational experiences can occur outside of the classroom, and

WHEREAS all students in the province should have equal access to these experiences regardless of the student’s location in the province or the location of the event, and

WHEREAS some students were not allowed to attend a show at the Confederation Center of the Arts with the rationale given that it was not worth travelling all the way to Charlottetown for a one hour event, and

WHEREAS due to geographic and socio-economic factors, all students do not have equal opportunity to be enriched by these experiences;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEIHSF request the Western School Board, and Eastern School District to ensure that all students in PEI have equal access to extra – curricular educational experiences regardless of the location of the students or the event.

Status: Passed
Saturday, April 17, 2010

Destination:Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
English Language School Board
French Language School Board

Education and Early Childhood Development:  I could not agree more with this resolution.  In my experience, boards and schools in particular make a concentrated effort to include all students in activities.  In my own experience in various schools, we always considered what we could do to be as inclusive as possible.

Eastern School District:  The Eastern School District recognizes that valuable educational experiences can and do occure outside the classroom.  We encourage curriclulum-related field trips, participation in extra curricular sports, various festivals, science and heritage fairs, drama, and much more.  We have always strived to give all students equal access to these, regardless of geographic and/or socio-economic factors.  However, we believe strongly that for some events the decisions to attend must reside with the Superintendent and/or Principal of the school.  Factors such as time out of the classroom versus the educational value of the event must be conisdered.  Administrators have to decide if attending a one-hour event which keeps students out of the classroom for most or all of a day has the educational value to support attending.  For example, occasionally a decision may have to be made as to whether an event outside the classroom is curriclulum related or simply entertainment.  However, we feel good decisions are being made that do not deprive students of educational opportunities outside the classroom – regardless of geographic location.  We have travel budgets for schools that reflect their geographic location and every effort is made to grant requests that schools make to attend events.

Western School Board:  There is no dispute that educational experiences may occur outside the classroom and occur in a variety of venues and throught a variety of activities.  In fact, all schools regularly include such experiences as an integral component of their programs.  The issue is not one of access based on geographic location of the school and the proposed event as much as the type of activity and its relative worth in comparison to the amount of time missing from classroom instruction.  In terms of approving participation by students and staff in such events and activities, the Superintendent / Director / Principal is expected to make his/her decision on the educational value of said activity, the amount of instructional time lost to allow participation in the event, and, as part of this decision, an assessment of whether it is an educational experience connected to learning outcomes or merely entertainment.  We have schools that would be geographically distant from a number of activities within our own Board or in other parts of the Province; for example, we routinely see schools from all areas of the board participating in events and activities at many locations both near and far (ex. Tignish, Summerside, Charlottetown, Eastern PEI, and including off-Island).  These trips occur on a regular basis.  The approval is based on their educational merit, not distance.