Important 2014-15 school year dates:

Sept. 4 — First day of classes for students

Dec. 24–Jan. 5 — Christmas Holidays

March 16–20 — March Break

June 26 — Final day of classes

P.E.I. Education Minister Alan McIsaac released the details Tuesday for the 2014-15 school calendar that includes adding more professional learning days for teachers without sacrificing time in the classroom.

The number of instructional days remains the same at 181 but there are three new PD days. To accommodate that increase, two more school days have been added to the calendar and some professional development will be done around parent-teacher interview days.

The added days are an attempt to try and improve P.E.I.’s test scores after an international student test showed that 15-year-olds in the province were last in the country for math, science and reading.

“High quality learning is about high quality teaching,” said McIsaac.

“These professional learning days will provide opportunities for teachers to learn new concepts, meet with other teachers in their school or grade level, try out new concepts in their own classrooms and evaluate how these concepts are working with their students.”  

Elizabeth Costa, with the P.E.I. Department of Education, said the third PD day will happen when some grades have parent-teacher interviews and others don’t.

“We know that the best place for teachers is in the classroom with our students and we know parents prefer to have their child’s teacher in the classroom with them so this will minimize the amount of time that we have to pull teachers away from the classroom and still provide high quality professional learning opportunities,” she said.

Peter Rukavina, vice president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, said his organization wants the school year to be even longer.

“To really take professional learning and the school calendar out for a ride and get more instructional days and more professional learning days — we’ve got to address that issue and that’s sort of the next hill to climb,” he said.

The education department said it will have details in the coming months on three new initiatives:

  • Better career planning for high school students.
  • A new leadership program for principals.
  • An instructional development website for teachers.