The 2018-19 school year is fast approaching. School supplies are on sale, harvest is in full swing and teachers are getting ready for the first day of classes.

Lynn Little, Director of Education for South East Cornerstone Public Schools, said there are some new programs that parents may want to know about.

"Last year all the schools across the province engaged in a writing assessment for students in grade four, seven and nine. That will be repeated again this year. As well there will be a provincial mathematics assessment and number strand that will be completed at grades two, five and eight. The results from those assessments help us to determine how to best support students moving forward," Little said.

A big project in the works for this school year will be new mental health initiatives. With mental health being brought to the forefront these days, Little believes it will be a good addition to schools.

"There are a number of initiatives that we're going to be undertaking in terms of supporting improved mental health. Some are training for staff and some engage students in recognizing supports may be beneficial and when to request support," she said. "We do have councillors available to students when needed. We are also undertaking a program through EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) that would have councillors available for staff. We are also working on some programs with our interagency partners. Teen Mental Health and some mental health capacity building. It's really helping to recognize the various different needs students may have and when to require support."

Little also provided a few updates on points of interest. The previously announced new student data system has been delayed by a year by the Ministry of Education. Students will use the same access they have in previous years on HomeLogic. Bussing routes for kids will also be posted on the South East Cornerstone Public Schools website in the coming weeks. 

With classes set to get underway on Tuesday, September 4, Little has just a small bit of advice for children and parents as the school year is set to get underway.

"Number one, we would like to remind students and parents to use safety procedures when dropping off and picking up students. This is especially important in the first few days, as children are excited and aren't paying as much attention as they normally would," she said. "Just some extra precaution around school zones would be greatly appreciated."

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