Nova Scotia hires professors to evaluate changes to bolster inclusive classrooms



HALIFAX—Nova Scotia has hired two University of Ottawa professors at a cost of nearly $458,000 over three years, to evaluate changes aimed at improving services and programs for students with special needs in the classroom.The Education Department says the goal is to gain a deeper understanding of what is working in inclusive education and what may need to be adjusted to better support students.The hiring of the evaluators was promised by Education Minister Zach Churchill earlier this month when he announced another $15 million for year two of a five-year rollout of changes for inclusive education.Jessica Whitley, an associate professor of inclusive education, and visiting professor Andy Hargreaves, who is also a research professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, will begin their work immediately.They will work with education and early childhood education staff, Regional Centres for Education and the Acadian School Board, and will consult with teachers, inclusive education staff, families and students.The province is adding 173 more inclusive education specialists for the upcoming school year bringing the total to 364 positions as it works to meet recommendations made by the Commission for Inclusive Education, which released a report in March 2018.The report called for a five-year plan to implement recommendations that included the addition of up to 700 new education specialists to assist students.The commission estimated about a third of the province’s 118,000 students need some form of support.

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