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Funding boost will help Sackville 20/20 further develop its vision for community-integrated education

Sackville 20/20 member Karen Sears emceed Friday afternoon’s funding announcement.
Sackville 20/20 member Karen Sears emceed Friday afternoon’s funding announcement. - Katie Tower

ACOA grant will pay for hiring of community-supported education coordinator

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

Sackville 20/20 has received a significant boost to help further its vison of bringing a more innovative and community-based model for education to life in Sackville.

The local, volunteer-based non-profit organization has received a $190,000 contribution from the federal government, through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. The grant will enable Sackville 20/20 to hire a community-supported education coordinator to help develop an integrated education community model.

“This is a really significant investment in education and in our community,” said Andrew Wilson, chair of Sackville 20/20 Inc., during the official announcement of the funding at town hall on Friday afternoon.

Wilson said up until now, the work of Sackville 20/20 has relied on volunteers.

“With the support of ACOA and our various community partners, we will be able to create a full-time coordinator position that will take the crucial role of consolidating, professionalizing and expanding the scope of work undertaken over the past five years, and mapping its future course,” he said.

Wilson said acquiring this funding for a two-year, full-time position – the first of its kind in the province – validates the work Sackville 20/20 has been doing since its inception – and it “allows us to move things forward in exciting and innovative ways.”

The Sackville Schools 2020 vision is one which includes more outdoor learning spaces, community connections, hands-on learning, inclusive education, bright and open areas, more innovative teaching approaches and so much more. It’s a concept that would help bring more 21st-century approaches to the local education system and to ensure area children are being provided with more experiential, engaging and community-based learning opportunities.

Beausejour MP Dominic Leblanc was unable to attend Friday’s funding announcement but Sackville 20/20 member Karen Sears read a statement on his behalf, which included the following: “By supporting Sackville 20/20 in its delivery of this integrated community approach, we are enabling youth in our region to develop the expertise they need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.”

Mayor John Higham agreed, saying educators in Sackville are trying to do what they can to prepare students to take on the new economic, social and technological environment they will experience as graduates.

He said the hiring of a full-time community coordinator will help support that goal, allowing more opportunities to create and experiment with experiential learning.

The coordinator position will be supported by an advisory group that includes representation from the town, the Anglophone East School District, health care, business, Mount Allison University and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Wilson said the search for a candidate with considerable experience and expertise in the education field is currently underway, with the application deadline set for this Friday, Aug. 9. Visit sackvilleschools2020.com for more information on the position. The hope is to have someone in place by the start of the school year in September.

Role of Community-Supported Education Coordinator:

During the next two years, the coordinator’s responsibilities will include:

•establishing a community asset map,

•tracking engagement and collecting relevant data,

•establishing and building on community partnerships and connections,

•working with diverse stakeholders to create and implement strategic plans,

•bringing stakeholders and community members together to further the vision of Sackville as an integrated educational community model in line with 21st Century educational values.

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