Posted on 11/16/2012, 9:41 am, by mySteinbach

The Manitoba government is making significant progress toward reducing class sizes with 79 new teachers hired by school divisions over the last year, ensuring students receive a quality education and the best learning environment possible. This announcement was made by Premier Greg Selinger.

“Today more than ever, success in life depends upon receiving the best-possible education and training. Investing in smaller class sizes is an important step we can take toward ensuring our children have the attention they need to learn and reach their potential,” said Selinger. “Our government understands that smaller classes mean more one-on-one time with teachers and a better quality of education for our students.”

The 79 teachers hired in the first year of the class size initiative are currently working in 31 school divisions and are having a direct impact on class size, resulting in:

• a 20 per cent reduction in kindergarten to Grade 3 classes with 24 or more students,
• 11 per cent more kindergarten to Grade 3 classes that have 23 students or less, and
• 13.7 per cent more kindergarten to Grade 3 that have 20 students or less.

“The Winnipeg School Division’s mission is to provide a learning environment that promotes and fosters the growth of each student’s potential,” said Rita Hildahl, board chair of the division. “Through the class size initiative we will continue to build a strong foundation for the future success of our students.”

The province announced earlier this year that school divisions in Manitoba will be required to cap their kindergarten to Grade 3 classrooms at 20 students by September 2017. While 10 per cent of classrooms per division will be allowed the flexibility to go beyond the cap of 20 students, no classes will be permitted to have more than 23 students in a kindergarten to Grade 3 classroom.

In June, the province provided funding to hire additional teachers, provide professional development or commence planning to support and implement the initiative.

“Our plan for smaller class sizes is ensuring Manitoba students will benefit from more individual attention from teachers in the vital first years. This is a step in the right direction for education in Manitoba,” said Selinger. “Special thanks to the oversight committee which continues to provide valuable advice to government as we move forward.”

The Class Size Oversight Committee includes representatives from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, Manitoba Association of Parent Councils, Manitoba School Boards Association, Manitoba Association of School Superintendents and Manitoba Association of School Business Officials.