Forest Heights Community School

Family Communication
Embedded Collaborative Learning Time

During the past four years, our schools have adopted the Embedded Collaborative Learning Time model to enhance professional learning for teachers. There is overwhelming evidence that student learning and student engagement increase when teachers have opportunities to work together as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). This year’s evaluation of the collaborative learning teams from all schools indicates that teachers are engaged in valuable learning and are adjusting their teaching practices to improve student engagement and achievement. Teacher Survey results are available at

What will “embedded collaborative learning time” look like?

To support the early dismissal dates, instructional time will be extended by an average of seven to 10 minutes each day for the entire school year.

On 14 designated days of the school year, the school day will be reduced by 90 instructional minutes for staff to collaborate and engage in professional learning.

The added daily instructional time exceeds the time given to the 14 ninety-minute early dismissals spread over the school year on various afternoons (schedule below).

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has been a leader in working with the following partners to review research and develop a framework for moving forward with collaborative learning time:

Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU)

Nova Scotia School Boards Association (NSSBA)

University Schools of Education

Nova Scotia Educational Leadership Consortium (NSELC)

Association of Nova Scotia Educational Administrators (ANSEA)


Benefits to students and their families include:

Decrease in the number of times teachers will be away from their students for professional development

Enhanced examination of student work so supports are in place sooner

Continued support for inquiry-based learning and student engagement

Increased student achievement in all areas, including math and literacy

Improved assessment practices

Issues, such as cyber bullying and the development of social emotional competencies of students, are more effectively addressed

A classroom environment that allows students to work from their preferred learning styles and talents


Evidence-based Nova Scotia documents that support this direction include:

Report and Recommendations of the Education Professional Development Committee (EPDC) – 2009

Department of Education Response to the above Report – 2009

Report of the Professional Learning Communities Study Committee – 2011

Steps to Effective and Sustainable Public Education in NS – 2011


Principals and Board staff consulted with school staffs and their SACs to develop a modified schedule that occurred in all SSRSB schools during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. That same model will be followed this school year.

The instructional time has been lengthened by an average of 10 minutes, through extending and/or reorganizing the school day. Daily instruction in Nova Scotia must be at least 240 minutes per day, including recess, for students in grades primary to 2; 300 in grades 3 to 6, including recess; and 300 in grades 7 to 12, not including recess. All P-12 schools have exceeded the minimum of 300 instructional minutes per day by an average of 10 minutes.

On designated days throughout the school year (schedule below), students will be dismissed early. Staff will remain at school for collaborative learning time after the students leave. This structured time will be used to examine student achievement data and to plan for specific strategies to improve student learning and student engagement.

We appreciate your support as we continue to find creative ways to encourage professional learning for our teachers and to improve on student achievement and engagement. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the principal.


Miles Page
Forest Heights Community School

Early Dismissal/Embedded Collaborative Learning Time Schedule
2016-2017 School Year

The schedule for early dismissals for embedded collaborative learning time for the 2016-2017 school year is as follows:

Wednesday, October 5
Wednesday, October 19
Wednesday, November 2
Wednesday, November 16
Wednesday, December 7
Wednesday, January 11
Wednesday, February 1
Wednesday, February 15
Wednesday, March 1
Wednesday, March 22
Wednesday, April 12
Wednesday, April 26
Wednesday, May 10
Wednesday, May 31

Please see the 2016-2017 start and end times for your school/family of schools, along with the early dismissal times for the fourteen dates above. Please note that additional changes may occur prior to the beginning of the school year. Changes will be communicated to affected schools.

It is important to note that the amount of instructional time during the school day at all of the schools below has been extended by an average of 10 minutes.  Schools have changed one or all of the following:

start and/or end times

reduced the length of recess and lunch breaks

School 2013-2014
School Start Times
2013 – 2014
School End Times
Early Dismissal time
for the fourteen (14) Wednesdays
ACES 8:00 *1:50 12:20
CDES 8:00 *1:52 12:22
NRCS 8:10 *2:20 12:50
CAMS 8:55 *2:50 1:20
FHCS   9:00 *3:10 1:40 

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FHCS Contact

PO Box 29
Chester Basin, N.S.
B0J 1K0
Phone: (902) 275-2700
Fax: (902) 275-2710

Community School Coordinator