Northwestern Pictou County

Information for School Review

(Information added as it becomes available)

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why is this School Review Process necessary? The Province of Nova Scotia has asked all school boards to determine the future need for Public, Private, Partnership (P3) schools within their jurisdiction. Pictou Elementary is a P3 school and a decision from CCRSB’s governing board regarding its future is required by April 30, 2017. The School Review Process offers CCRSB the best method to determine the future need for Pictou Elementary.

  2. How long does the School Review Process take? The Provincial School Review Policy says that a School Review Process may take anywhere from seven to nine months. This school review process is scheduled to take the full nine months.

  3. What role does the data from CCRSB’s Long Range Outlook play in this School Review Process?
    The data from CCRSB’s Long Range Outlook was key in developing the Recommendation for Review which began this review process. The LRO data will also be used by the School Options Committee as they formulate recommendations for the governing board. Available educational programming, student services and supports, current and future enrollment, school capacity, school utilization and other information in the LRO are key in decision-making for any review process. 

  4. The Long Range Outlook includes enrollment projections. How are those projections made?
    The provincial Department of Education and Early Childhood Development supplied all school boards with a mathematical formula to calculate projected enrollments. Projecting enrollments is not an exact science, but the trends they highlight are very valuable. Those enrollment trends are important to consider during a School Review Process.

  5. Do the enrollment projections anticipate the closure of schools? Is that why some schools, like Northumberland, show a slight increase? 
    No, the enrollment projections do not anticipate the closure of schools. The enrollment projections are based on information from historical registrations at schools, and for a high school like Northumberland, enrollment data from feeder schools. Large classes in an early grade at elementary school now will continue through and show-up in the enrollment projections for Northumberland Regional High School in the future.

  6. What is a Recommendation for Review? 
    A Recommendation for Review, as required by the Provincial School Review Policy, is a report prepared by school board for consideration by the school board’s governing members. Generally, the report is based on data from the school board’s Long Range Outlook and provides the governing board with rationale for placing a group of schools under review.

  7. Why is this School Review Process beginning in the summer? 
    On June 27th, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development informed CCRSB’s governing board that a decision regarding future need for Pictou Elementary, a Public, Private, Partnership (P3) school, is required by April 30, 2017. To meet this deadline and to comply with the Provincial School Review Process timeline, the School Review Process had to start in the summer.

  8. If this School Review Process is meant to decide the future of Pictou Elementary, why were the other schools included? 
    The Provincial School Review Policy only applies to individual schools in exceptional circumstances. The Policy states that a School Review Process should include all schools that could be impacted by the outcome of the review or that could expand the range of options for consideration. Determining the future need for one school requires the inclusion of neighbouring schools in order to consider alternatives.

    By including Pictou Academy, Dr. Thomas McCulloch Junior High and Northumberland Regional High School in this review, CCRSB is fulfilling the requirement of the Provincial School Review Policy.

  9. What is the School Options Committee and what is their purpose? 
    The School Options Committee (SOC) is a multi-stakeholder committee brought together to support the school board in conducting a school review. The voting membership of the SOC is made-up of two members from each School Advisory Council and two community/business members from the local community. Non-voting members are appointed by the superintendent of schools and may include staff (as needed) and other representatives from directly impacted groups. It also includes an independent facilitator who will help to guide the work of the SOC and provide support. The SOC should be diverse and include members representing a variety of voices, ideas, opinions, experiences and groups.

    The work of the SOC is governed by a Terms of Reference developed by school board staff and approved by the governing board. The SOC works, conducts three public meetings and gathers input from the local community over the course of five months to provide a final report and recommendation to the governing board with regards to the schools involved in the review process.

  10. How do parents, guardians and the public get involved in the School Review Process? 
    Parents, guardians and the public can get involved in the School Review Process by attending the public meetings which the School Options Committee will host, as well as by responding to any requests for input sent out by the SOC.

  11. What is the role of school board staff and the governing board during the School Review Process? 
    The role for the governing board members is very limited while the work of the School Options Committee is underway. The governing board members began the formal review process by accepting the staff Recommendation for Review. Though questions and discussions will likely happen during the time that the SOC is working, the next direct involvement for the governing board will come following their receipt of recommendations from the SOC. Their final decision will come on April 19, 2017, during a public meeting.

    Staff members will be involved in the process as suppliers of information only. As the SOC meets and as questions come forward, staff members will provide answers to questions, produce reports and attend SOC meetings to provide direct support to the committee members. The governing board may ask staff to develop a Staff Technical Report once the recommendations of the SOC are received (see “Directive M” of the Provincial School Review Policy).

  12. Are the three options listed in the Recommendation for Review the only ones that can be considered by the School Options Committee? 
    No. While the School Options Committee is tasked with reviewing and providing feedback on these options, they are free to develop other options provided they adhere to the SOC Terms of Reference. For example, the SOC cannot recommend that the schools involved in the review continue to operate as they are now, in the future.

  13. Why is keeping everything the same (status quo) not an option that the School Options Committee can consider? 
    Based on the data from CCRSB’s Long Range Outlook and the rationale put forward in the Recommendation for Review, the governing board has stipulated that the way Pictou Elementary, Pictou Academy and Dr. Thomas McCulloch are currently organized does not allow for the optimal use and delivery of educational services for students, or the efficient use of facilities. The goal of this review process is to optimize the services and programs that we offer students. To achieve this, it requires a different configuration, and concentration of students in any given school.

  14. Since status quo is not an option, does that mean a school will have to close? 
    Given the mandate of the Recommendation for Review, to optimize services and programs for the students at these schools, closure is a real possibility. The final decision – to accept a recommendation for closure or not – rests with the governing board.

  15. What happens to the Report and Recommendation from the School Options Committee? 
    Once the School Options Committee completes its Report and Recommendation it will be formally presented to the governing board. The governing board will then take the report and recommendation of the SOC into consideration as the members make their final decision.

  16. How long will the governing board take to make its decision? 
    The Provincial School Review Policy directs the governing board to make its final decision within 30 days of the presentation of the SOC Report and Recommendation and the Staff Technical Report (if required).

  17. When will students, parents, guardians and the community be told about the final decision? 
    The final decision will be communicated widely to students, parents, guardians, community and staff members directly following the public board meeting on April 19, 2017. A press release will be issued to media, the information will be posted to the CCRSB website, twitter and Facebook, and direct contact will be made with parents and guardians in the days following the decision. 

  18. If a school is closed, will it affect busing? 
    This will be determined as the School Review Process moves forward. We anticipate that our Transportation Department will be asked by the School Options Committee to develop bus routes as options are considered.

  19. When will families be told about new bus routes?

    If there are changes to bus routes the information will be communicated before the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

  20. If Pictou Academy is protected by provincial legislation, does that mean it cannot be closed?
    We are aware of the legislation that exists pertaining to Pictou Academy and are seeking legal advice on its potential impact on this process. Any information gathered about this will be shared with the School Options Committee for their consideration.