Levelling the Playing Field

In the fall of 2016 we launched the first annual Support Our Students Alberta Survey of Alberta Schools. A survey was sent to every school in the province that receives public funds and today we are pleased to present our report, Levelling the Playing Field: A Comprehensive Resource Audit of Alberta Schools, full report available to download below.

Special thanks goes to all the school administrators who took the time to complete the survey, we look forward to working with you again on this year’s survey! Sharing the voice of your school enhances our ability to advocate for Alberta students.

Three main themes emerged from our findings, specifically around health, specialization and fundraising. Some examples of our findings are:

Health:

  • 58% of respondents reported a nurse as “not available” for their school
  • 36% of urban respondents reported a nurse as “not available” for their school
  • 71% of rural respondents reported a nurse as “not available” for their school

Specialization:

  • 70% of respondents reported NO Teacher Librarian in their schools
  • 45% of respondents reported NO Physical Education Teachers in their schools
  • 95% of respondents reported NO Health Teachers in their schools
  • 52% of respondents reported NO Special Education Teachers in their schools

Fundraising:

  • 13% of urban respondents indicated raising more than $50,000
  • 4% of rural respondents indicated raising more than $50,000

“More kids are coming to school with ADHD, diagnosed and not yet diagnosed, anxiety disorders, psychological effects from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, trauma, and other family issues. Kids are exposed to, and are even doing, drugs at an alarming rate. Kids are suicidal and self-harming. We have a FSLC come 1 a week. Easily half the kids that need to be seen are not because of time restraints. We could easily employ a counselor 2-3 days per week. Yet, Educational Assistants are being cut back more and more; FSLC time is being cut back – FSLC’s are burning out because of the pressure they feel of not having enough time to help all these kids; kids are falling through the cracks; teachers are expected to do more and more all the time. No longer do they simply teach, they are EA’s, behavior specialists, learning support/resource teachers, counselors, psychologists, and life coaches. Often this is not only for the kids, but their parents as well. And we are surprised (well really we aren’t) when kids are unable to engage enough to learn. It is impossible to care about reading and math if a child just saw his mom get high before he left for school; or maybe she didn’t have any dinner or breakfast, and has nothing packed for lunch; or maybe he was punched by his step-dad walking out the door. I have parents coming to me in tears not sure how they are going to feed their kids, or clothe them for winter, let alone put a present under the tree for them at Christmas. I vent, but kids are dealing with more and more, but are receiving less and less help.”  -Principal (International Border Region)

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