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Notre Dame Student Honoured With Prestigious Scholarship

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Adam Guthrie is the first Grade 12 student from École Secondaire Notre Dame High School to be selected as a winner of the Loran Scholarship. He is one of 32 winners, out of 84 finalists and 4, 438 applications from across Canada.
Guthrie will receive $100,000 over four years, including a $10,000 annual stipend, tuition waivers, access to summer internship funding, a weeklong Outward Bound expedition and annual retreats, as well as personal mentorship.
“When I received the call from Heather Spratt, one of the Directors of the Loran Foundation, as I was in the car with my parents on the way back home from the Calgary Airport. After just spending a weekend getting to know the 82 other finalists in Toronto, I didn’t feel very optimistic about my chances. Every student there had accomplished great things and we were all strong leaders.  When Heather told me that I was successful in my interviews and had been chosen to receive the scholarship, I was speechless. All I could do was say thank you. I probably said it 10 times in that brief conversation!  Honestly, it still hasn’t fully sunk in for me. For months I have researched the incredible people who have been awarded the scholarship, and suddenly this honour has been given to me. I am incredibly grateful,” said Adam Guthrie, Grade 12 student. Guthrie plans to study either engineering or medicine in post-secondary.
“I will leave my options as open as I can to allow my path to wander a little before settling into the next chapter of my life, “ said Guthrie. “Also, the Loran Scholarship has caused me to completely rethink my plan in terms of where I will go to school. Now, I am considering schools from coast to coast. I am just starting the research into schools that never would have been an option before.”
For more information about the Loran Scholarship, please visit: http://www.loranscholar.ca/

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COVID-19

Learning loss piles up alongside snow while ‘e-learning’ collects dust

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From the Fraser Institute

By Alex Whalen and Paige MacPherson

During COVID school closures, students in the province missed at least 125 days of school between March 2020 and February 2022, more than any other province (except Ontario), generating a significant learning loss from which students have not caught up.

In a world increasingly connected by technology, and given the Nova Scotia government recently spent tens of millions of dollars enabling at-home learning, one might think that students would seamlessly shift to online learning during the recent snowstorms to avoid losing crucial instructional time. Unfortunately, that’s not happening.

During COVID school closures, the Nova Scotia and federal governments spent at least $31.5 million dollars on “virtual school” and other technological upgrades so students could, according to the provincial government, “succeed, even in an at-home learning environment.”

Unfortunately, the electronic learning infrastructure—which includes Chromebooks, laptops and iPads for students and teachers, and additional support and new teachers for Nova Scotia Virtual School—is collecting dust in a corner while Nova Scotia kids are falling further behind.

This isn’t some blip in an otherwise strong record of instructional time for Nova Scotia students. During COVID school closures, students in the province missed at least 125 days of school between March 2020 and February 2022, more than any other province (except Ontario), generating a significant learning loss from which students have not caught up.

Indeed, according to the latest results (2022) from the Programme for International Assessment (PISA), the gold standard of testing worldwide, Nova Scotia 15-year-olds trail the Canadian average in reading by 18 points and trail the Canadian average in math by 27 points. For context, PISA characterizes a 20-point drop as one year of lost learning.

Moreover, between 2003 and 2022, Nova Scotia student performance in reading dropped by 24 points—more than one year of learning loss—and dropped by 45 points in math. In other words, in math, 15-year-old Nova Scotia students today are more than two years behind where Nova Scotia 15-year-olds were in 2003.

These troubling trends underscore the need to put the existing e-learning infrastructure to work. During a recent two-week period, students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education school district missed seven days of school due to snow. And some students missed an additional five days due to weather and power outages. That’s nearly three weeks. While more instructional time is not a silver bullet for student success—and with power outages, e-learning is not a perfect solution—it could still make a big difference.

According to international research, missed classroom time causes learning loss and impacts children for life, reducing their life-long earnings. Nova Scotia education researcher Paul Bennett found that lost classroom time due to inclement weather compounds absenteeism and sets back student achievement and social progress.

The Houston government should ensure that Nova Scotian students have access to teacher-directed e-learning when schools are closed and, like other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, abandon the practise of simply cancelling school due to inclement weather. It’s simply common sense. The snow may pile up, but there’s no good reason why learning loss must pile up with it. Parents are right to demand access to the e-learning they’ve already paid for through their tax dollars.

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Education

$13 million for RDP’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing-Technology Access Centre in Alberta Budget

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Provincial funding to expand RDP’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing (CIM-TAC) will significantly boost applied learning and research opportunities

Expansion of Red Deer Polytechnic’s nationally recognized Technology Access Centre will provide more than 2,400 students direct and indirect innovative learning opportunities by 2030.

Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) is celebrating a significant capital investment of $13 million by the provincial government to expand RDP’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing-Technology
Access Centre (CIM-TAC). The funding was announced today as part of the Government of Alberta’s 2024 budget.

“Red Deer Polytechnic is playing a critical role supporting technological innovation while creating opportunities for students. That’s why Alberta’s Government is making a strategic investment to expand the CIM-TAC and give RDP even greater capacity to train apprentices and help sectors across our economy remain competitive,” says the Hon. Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education.

“We thank the Government of Alberta for the $13 million provided in Budget 2024 to expand our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing–Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC). This funding will help create new and innovative teaching and learning spaces at Red Deer Polytechnic, while expanding our applied research capacity to support Alberta based companies,” said Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic.

“Because of this investment, Alberta based manufacturers across multiple sectors will have greater ability to develop, test and scale their ideas, while RDP students will be engaged at the forefront of made-in-Alberta technologies and manufacturing solutions. This expanded and enhanced innovation ecosystem will enhance productivity and social impact within our province,” said Cullum.

Students in a breadth of RDP’s programs and disciplines already benefit from education and skills-training opportunities within the CIM-TAC each year, through project work, internships, and workshops. The expanded CIM-TAC is anticipated to provide direct learning opportunities to 450 post-secondary students and indirect learning opportunities to an additional 2,000 students by 2030. These opportunities will afford RDP’s students direct interaction with community and industry partners to tackle real-world challenges in manufacturing and
advanced manufacturing. Additionally, over 500 junior and senior high school students will benefit from experiential learning within the CIM-TAC as part of dual-credit opportunities afforded through the Central Alberta Collegiate Institute (CACI).

RDP is Alberta’s third largest provider of skilled trades education. Learners enrolled in RDP’s apprenticeship and technology programs are among those who will benefit from the CIM-TAC expansion as this capital investment will support unique training opportunities.

“With the expansion of Red Deer Polytechnic’s CIM-TAC, our students will gain unparalleled access to advanced manufacturing technologies and immersive learning spaces. Students will have the hands-on experience and expertise needed to excel in the modern manufacturing sector. This expansion underscores our commitment to providing students with the tools and skills necessary to become industry-ready professionals, ensuring they emerge as highly sought-after innovators and contributors to Alberta’s economic prosperity,” says David Pye, Dean, RDP’s School of Trades and Technology.

The provincial Government’s $13 million investment in RDP’s CIM-TAC complements the recently announced historic $20 million gift to RDP from the Donald Family that will establish the Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation. This parallel public and private funding support will be a game-changer for post-secondary training in central Alberta, in particular for healthcare providers and healthtech innovators.

“As RDP’s CIM-TAC grows capacity, it will undoubtedly provide new ways for students and faculty to engage in education and applied research with external health practitioners and researchers in this unique innovation ecosystem. Our students will have even more opportunities to gain valuable skills that prepare them for successful careers while also making meaningful contributions to Alberta’s healthcare sector,” says Heather Dirks, Interim Dean, RDP’s School of Health and Wellness.

Red Deer Polytechnic’s expansion plans for the CIM-TAC are in alignment with the Government of Alberta’s economic and social priorities, including the Ministry of Advanced Education’s 2030: Skills for Jobs Strategy.

This strategy outlines a need to increase student access, build capacity for skills training in technology and trades, and support research and commercialization through the post-secondary sector.

“As one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Polytechnics and Colleges, we already make a significant positive impact across our province and country,” says Dr. Tonya Wolfe, Associate Vice President, Applied Research.

“The future is very bright as we plan for the expansion of our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing-Technology Access Centre. This means we can create even more impact in productivity in the manufacturing sector through collaboration between students, faculty and industry that help people solve challenges in their daily lives.”

The overall cost of the capital expansion of the CIM-TAC is projected to be approximately $21.3 million. This includes the $13 million provided by the Government of Alberta in Budget 2024, with $4.8 million in capital and equipment provided through Government of Canada grants, and $3.5 million from Red Deer Polytechnic’s own reserves. Construction on Red Deer Polytechnic’s CIM-TAC expansion is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2024.

Quick Facts:
• Red Deer Polytechnic’s expanded CIM-TAC will support a variety of sectors through advanced
manufacturing capabilities including energy innovation, transportation, aviation and agriculture. The Centre will also support RDP’s future expansion into more medical device manufacturing and healthcare innovations to support both patients and providers.
• RDP’s expansion of the CIM-TAC will grow the facility’s footprint from 15,000 square feet to
25,000 square feet.
• The CIM-TAC currently houses $7.6 million of advanced manufacturing equipment. As the facility expands, so too will RDP’s capacity to house additional technologies and equipment used for product development, advanced manufacturing and medical device manufacturing.
• In 2022, Red Deer Polytechnic attracted more than $2 million in applied research investment. RDP also completed 64 projects for 57 companies and participated in more than 1,300 engagements with industry partners.
• Since the CIM-TAC’s inception in 2009, Red Deer Polytechnic has supported more than 300 industry partners (including repeat clients).

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