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The government of Nova Scotia says it is increasing transparency in the public school system and strengthening the voices of local families, students and school advisory councils (SACs). Along with changes to ensure families and other community members have more say, a government news release says SACs will have greater support and funding to ensure meaningful input into local and regional school decisions. Families will be better able to connect with and get answers from schools, regional centres for education (RCEs) and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). During the next year, the department of education and early childhood development says that school communities will see changes empowering local voices, including an enhanced role for SACs in supporting schools, RCEs and CSAP. This will include: -- a new innovation fund that will provide grants of up to $10,000 to SACs that apply to develop innovative projects supporting student well-being and achievement -- an annual conference for all SAC chairs to provide policy input and discuss common school challenges and opportunities -- more opportunities for input into how school funds are distributed in schools, including the Healthy Schools Grants -- more parent, guardian and community representation on SACs. According to the department, families will also see enhanced transparency and engagement with schools, regions and leaders through: -- regional executive director-led public engagement sessions with parents and guardians of school-aged children and regional leaders, three times a year, to discuss student achievement, well-being, capital planning and more -- improved parent navigation in RCEs and CSAP, including greater clarity about the role of parent navigators and a greater focus on ensuring families' questions are answered. There will also be more opportunities for participation at the regional level for students and other members of school communities: -- a new regional student advisory committee that reports directly to its regional executive director/superintendent on topics such as achievement and well-being and other aspects of student experiences, especially as it relates to the Student Success Survey -- a new regional advisory table that reflects the diversity of each region, made up primarily of SAC members, to advise regional executive directors.

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