RELEASE — As a leader in the field of education, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) is adopting a thoroughly modern approach to ensuring student success and well-being by establishing a think tank for digital transformation and artificial intelligence in education.
One of the board’s main objectives is to shrink learning gaps and help students who are struggling academically to catch up. This tool may also be used to improve outcomes for all students.
This project is part of the CECCE’s strategic plan for innovation, learning experience transformation and student engagement.
The pandemic, lockdowns and frequent student absences have resulted in achievement gaps for some. Many students have experienced or are experiencing anxiety and other mental health challenges. Artificial intelligence will enable the CECCE to assess student needs more quickly and accurately by factoring in all available data. School teams can then identify the best strategies to ensure every student’s success and well-being.
As with all CECCE student information, the data will be stored securely and confidentially on the board’s servers.
To bring this major project to fruition, the CECCE is partnering with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT), the go-to consulting firm for school boards in minority communities in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick seeking management practice support. RCGT also offers expertise in the use of advanced statistics and artificial intelligence for the education sector.
Phase 1 begins this month. RCGT will first assess the CECCE’s infrastructure, technical capability and technological tools, then develop a structure and prototype designed to pinpoint students’ needs. This fall, a number of schools will be selected to participate in a pilot project prior to the full-scale deployment of artificial intelligence algorithms.
Roll-out to all elementary and high schools is expected by the end of the 2022-23 school year. The new think tank will give all partners an opportunity to network and access experts from across the educational spectrum who can share insights and chart the way forward.
“This innovative undertaking will give us an even clearer picture of individual students’ needs so we can zero in on the best ways to support their academic success and well-being,” said Director of Education Marc Bertrand.
“Student success and well-being matter to the CECCE, so we are embarking on a new era of using artificial intelligence to narrow achievement gaps,” said CECCE Chair Johanne Lacombe. “This initiative is consistent with the goals identified in the board’s new strategic plan for transforming the learning experience. We are excited to explore all the ways in which this 21st-century technology can serve students and education.”
“The pandemic exposed and exacerbated learning challenges many students have always faced, and the negative impact may well continue to affect students and school boards for years to come. We are pleased to be working with our partner, the CECCE, to implement this initiative to address this major challenge because we want to build stronger, more inclusive communities,” said Pierre Fortin, Management Consulting Partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.
The CECCE is a leader recognized for transforming the learning experience, for the excellence and caring approach of its Catholic schools in a diverse, inclusive and vibrant francophone community. With over 25,500 students attending its 45 elementary schools and 13 high schools, as well as its Virtual Learning Academy and school for adults, the CECCE is the largest Canadian network of French-language schools outside Quebec.