How did you celebrate African Heritage Month? How will you continue to honour African Heritage every month of the year? In Nova Scotia, our African Heritage roots run deep. This February, HRCE schools (and individual classes) have done some amazing work to learn more about, and to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of those of African descent, both here and abroad. The wide range of stories, photos and videos of student learning shared on Twitter is impressive! I noticed that many schools took the opportunity to visit, and to invite in, members of their community so that students could hear their stories first-hand. Special thanks to our partners in learning… our community is our classroom! I was excited to share in African Heritage Month celebrations with students and staff at Kingswood Elementary with Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson. The local pastor and historian shared messages of hope as he invited his young audience to have a dream, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. The energy in the gym was both inspiring and contagious! Even though February has come to an end, let’s keep that energy and momentum going by celebrating our differences and Validating, Affirming, Building and Bridging with students and families every month of the year. I also visited Burton Ettinger and Rockingham Elementary Schools in the past few weeks and enjoyed seeing the many learning connections being made to both African Heritage Month and this year’s Heritage Day honouring Maud Lewis. As a system, we are continuously looking at ways to improve, reflect and best serve our students. Every HRCE school has a Student Success Plan to guide their improvement journey. As a region, we have recently begun a process to develop a Regional Student Success Plan. A lead team and a 20-member working group have been tasked with this deeply important work. Members of the working group have experiences in many roles in our system. They are also staff who are able to connect directly with classroom teachers, students and other school-based staff. Principals, vice principals, support teachers, special education staff and other system leaders have embraced the challenge! To date, the working group has completed three full- day sessions and are currently in Stage 3 of the process (see graphic). They have finished examining all regional level student achievement data in mathematics, and from that, have developed a vision, goals and targets for all HRCE students as mathematicians. The next step is to examine achievement data in literacy. I will share more as this work evolves and helps chart direction for our future. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about some of the work happening in the HRCE. It’s impossible to capture all of the extraordinary things taking place in our system to support our students; I hope the stories of impact featured in this month’s report give you a glimpse into public education in our region. Elwin LeRoux Regional Executive Director’s Message 2 Improving Student Achievement Equitable Education Fine Arts Programming Inclusive Education Council to Improve Classroom Conditions System Review: Transition and Expansion Instruction and Leadership Our Goals: watch for thes above symbols next to featured stories each month