— Ontario’s largest school district is getting Seo Training, a new curriculum designed to help improve teaching skills and prepare students for the workforce, with the aim of boosting graduation rates and helping to improve the quality of education in the province’s poorest schools.
The Ontario School Boards Association says the program, which will be rolled out nationwide over the next few years, will be aimed at teachers and students across Ontario’s 1,000 school districts, and the majority of which will have fewer than 400 students.
Teachers and students from the province are invited to participate in the pilot program and learn more about the program.
The program, designed by Pearson and the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), has been tested in a pilot program in Toronto and has been replicated across the province, said Ken Miller, president and CEO of the Ontario School Board Association.
The province’s largest district, Peterborough-Lakeshore, is the first to test the program in the Greater Toronto Area, and is expected to have its first results in December.
In the first phase of the pilot, teachers are being offered the Seo Skills Core, which aims to improve teaching, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in English, math, reading, and science.
In total, more than 2,000 teachers and student will receive the Seos Skills Core and receive a range of professional development materials, including curriculum guides, practice exams, and teaching workshops.
The province also announced a new textbook, the New Teacher, which is aimed at increasing teacher engagement and teaching quality.
It will also introduce new teacher training programs and provide more resources for teachers.
Teacher training will be offered in a variety of subjects, including history, science, English language, literacy and culture, geography, social work, health, nursing, child development, and social work.
“Teachers are critical to our communities and we need to do everything we can to support them to be the best teachers we can,” said Ontario Minister of Education John Phelan.
“The Ministry is committed to continuing to expand the program nationwide, and we are excited about what the Seomans Skills Core will mean for Ontario teachers, students and communities across the country.”
Ontario school boards also announced plans to spend $1.5 billion on teachers training and other support programs, and are seeking to attract more students from other provinces, such as Alberta, to the province.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, which has been overseeing the Ontario Seo program, said more than 700,000 students are currently enrolled in English as a second language programs in Ontario.
The province has been grappling with how to improve English as the second language in schools, which currently ranks as the lowest of the three most common languages taught in Ontario, according to Statistics Canada.
Ontario has been struggling with a record-low enrolment rate of 4.7% in 2017.
The government has committed to investing $1 billion to create more English language immersion programs, including in English-speaking countries.