It appears one Yukon school will lose up three educational assistants next year, while others will lose some as well.
Recent Education department data provided to the News shows planned changes in staffing for the 2023/24 school year.
The data, which is current as of June 15, was attached to a July 4 letter to education critic and Copperbelt South MLA Scott Kent from Education Minister Jeanie McLean. It was in response to Kent’s questions about school staffing allocations.
Takhini Elementary School will lose three educational assistant positions, which is the biggest drop of all schools in the document.
Educational assistants provide special attention to students with diverse needs.
Jack Hulland Elementary School will be losing one educational assistant, while gaining a 0.3 teaching position.
Hidden Valley Elementary School will gain a part-time educational assistant position, while the number of teachers remains the same.
A June 2 letter to McLean from the Hidden Valley school council indicates department officials suggested that the council rearrange resources in the school to create a vice-principal position, which the council said would mean pulling from learning assistance or educational assistance staff to fill the post.
Notes on the data state educational assistant placements could change over the summer as students with intensive needs transfer between schools.
In total, the number of educational assistants at all Yukon schools in the document remains roughly the same going into the 2022/23 school year. Eight teaching positions have been added compared to the 2021/22 year.
Reasons for the staffing changes were not provided to the News by press time.
The minor staffing changes come after a year of intense controversy for the department of Education.
An investigation is currently underway into the use of physical discipline and isolation at Jack Hulland. Concerns have also been raised about the government’s conduct in the investigation.
In a March 29 release, Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Annette King pushed for “stronger and more decisive action” regarding forcible holds and isolation spaces at Jack Hulland Elementary School.
“From my observations, any lessons learned regarding communication with families and providing timely therapeutic supports have not been applied to this situation,” King said.
“Instead, students are transferring out of Jack Hulland Elementary School in search of a more welcoming and safe learning environment.”
Hidden Valley has also been under the spotlight this year, as several lawsuits and court proceedings have followed a former educational assistant’s conviction of sexual interference with a student in his care.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org