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The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is delivering new Chromebooks, new courses, and a new focus on outdoor learning as the province's 130,000 students and pre-primary children return to public schools this week.

"This can be an exciting time of year for families and students, and I want you all to know that everyone in the school community is working together, committed to delivering excellence in both student achievement and well-being," said Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. "We continue to invest in our education system so that it meets the learning and social needs of our students." The department has purchased more than 10,000 new computers and other devices for schools across Nova Scotia. Students in higher grades will have access to individual computers, and younger students will use technology as needed for group and classroom projects. NEW PROGRAMMING AND CLASS SUPPORT FOR 2023/24 YEAR

According to the department, there are a number of new initiatives and courses for students this year, including creating elementary math specialists (either individual teachers like there are for physical education and music, or implement as a team-teaching model); expanding existing junior high school support group models, and expanding programs like GuysWork to promote healthy masculinity in schools. Additionally, this year there is a new pilot course called Netukulimk and the Environment 11, which blends Mi'kmaw and Indigenous knowledge and Western science using land-based experiences; a new physical activity framework intended to increase active learning and reduce sedentary behaviour; more term substitutes hired throughout the province; and reinstatement of all elements of the Student Attendance and Engagement Policy to encourage and support students to attend school. The province has also introduced Life 11, a new course that allows students to ask and answer important life questions, such as, Is it better to lease or purchase a car? When should I get a credit card, and what is a credit rating? How does government work? How do I cook a balanced meal? The province's skilled trades team is also introducing a new certificate program for high school students who want to combine industry-related learning and focused course selection. Implementation of the High Skills Major Program will begin in a small number of schools; program details will be released in the fall. Nova Scotia is also moving ahead with a new literacy strategy with a clear focus on phonics and phonological awareness. The department says the details of the strategy will be released later this month.

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