The success of the Revelstoke school district was highlighted by both the B.C. Minister of Education and the NDP education critic in the legislature Tuesday morning.
In a length exchange between George Abbott, the Minister of Education and NDP education critic Robin Austin, Revelstoke was praised several times for the work being done in early childhood education.
The exchange came during a lengthy discussion about budget estimates. The Revelstoke, Fort Nelson and southeast Kootenay school districts were singled out for their performance during the debate.
“I want to highlight three school districts — Revelstoke, Fort Nelson and southeast Kootenay — which are performing at international leading levels in terms of the results they are producing in those three school districts,” said Abbott, according to a draft Hansard transcript. “What they are doing is what we’ve just been talking about in our discussion, which is identifying barriers to learning at those very early years and then having the culture within the school and within the school district to have a focused remediation of those issues in the early years.
He continued: “The results, I’d say, are spectacular in those districts.”
Abbott also referred to district superintendent Anne Cooper, saying she was doing a “wonderful job in terms of leading education in that school district.”
Austin praised the Early Childhood Development Committee and their work preparing children for school
“Prior to those kids going into the school system, something remarkable has happened in Revelstoke in terms of what they are able to do to identify children and give them the kinds of supports necessary, so when they arrive in kindergarten, they’re already at that level where they are then able to take advantage of it,” he said. “I think what we need to do is go beyond the K-to-12 system here and look at communities that are successful in the early years and figure out what it is that those communities are doing prior to school, and try and replicate that around the province.
In the afternoon session, Abbott talked about learning from Revelstoke’s experience to see if the practices here could be duplicated across the province.
“The success that’s been enjoyed in Fort Nelson, in Revelstoke and in southeast Kootenay is not a product of us dictating it at the ministry level to those school districts,” he said. “They have undertaken to do this through the leadership of their superintendents, through the leadership of principals and vice-principals and teachers.”
The Revelstoke school district has consistently placed at the top of the Human Early Learning Partnership’s Early Development Instrument, which measures a child’s vulnerability when they enter kindergarten.
Anne Cooper, in email relating the news, said it “pretty much made my day, or made my year.”