Parkland School Division Responds to K-6 Curriculum Changes

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In response to concerns and comments from Albertans, the provincial government is making some changes to the K-6 interim curriculum.

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These changes will include continued curriculum renewal, with adjusted implementation schedules, changes in the design of the humanities curriculum, and more opportunities for engagement in the new year.

In a Dec. 13 announcement, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said the Government of Alberta has heard all comments from Albertans on the draft K-6 curriculum ( K-6) and was taking significant steps to respond to feedback from parents, teachers and subject matter experts.

“Our government is committed to a transparent and open curriculum review process and we are keeping that promise. We have listened to the valuable information provided by parents, education stakeholders, teachers and Albertans and are making significant changes in content and implementation to reflect this, ”said LaGrange. “The steps we take now will allow our students to learn from an updated curriculum that prepares them for the future. “

Parkland School Division Superintendent Shauna Boyce said while there is still work to be done on the Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum project, the changes are moving in the right direction.

“I think they’re a welcome and good first step, but I think there’s a lot of work to be done, in implementing a curriculum for the fall,” Boyce said. “From an educator’s perspective, a provincial curriculum should exist as a well-thought-out collection of different curricula that will provide a solid framework for student learning.

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The Parkland School Division has heard and provided feedback on all subjects in the K-6 interim curriculum, with social studies by far the most worrying for many people, Boyce noted. A strong and well-designed curriculum would ensure that learning is developmentally appropriate and sequentially for everyone, she added, regardless of subject.

“I think like with all new programs there are always things that need more attention, that need to be fine-tuned,” she said. “Yes, there have been some delays in the implementation, but there is concern that the draft program still does not have the proper scope and sequence. A blueprint that would guide this learning process throughout the program, K-6 or ideally K-12, ”Boyce explained. “I’m really happy to see it’s wanted. That’s what they plan to do with social studies, but I think it really needs to be done at a higher level for the whole school curriculum.

Recognizing the unique pressures on students, families and teachers, due to the pandemic, the Government of Alberta is changing the timelines for implementing curricula.

A new curriculum in three subjects, English Language and Literature, Mathematics, and Physical Education and Wellness, will be implemented in September 2022. Alberta Education will seek advice from an advisory group of experts in education and implementation of curriculum at the start of the new year. The group will also provide recommendations on implementation strategies for other K-6 subjects.

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A new draft blueprint addresses substantive comments received relating to age and relevance to social studies curriculum development and outlines a plan for making changes to curriculum content. The Blueprint and Continued Engagement will inform a new draft that continues to ensure that students learn historical content, acquire civic skills, explore First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Francophone perspectives, and experience different cultures. and communities.

Additionally, this series of content changes in four areas will address specific feedback that Albertans, as well as pilot school authorities, have provided to date. Changes have been made to the English and Literature, Physical Education and Wellness, Fine Arts (Music) and Science curricula to provide clarity, strengthen content and expand key topics such as positive body image, climate change and learning about dinosaurs.

“I believe we need an updated curriculum in Alberta. The one we have is very dated, but I really believe it needs to be carefully developed and have this balanced approach to content and concept and critical thinking skills, ”Boyce said. “If we don’t take this seriously, our students end up at a disadvantage. “

Although Alberta Education has made changes to the content of these subjects, some areas have not yet been addressed, such as changes related to the perspectives of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Francophones in subjects other than social studies. The government is working with education partners and community stakeholders to gather feedback on these areas before changes are made in the spring.

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Based on feedback, the draft mathematics curriculum will also be updated this spring, ahead of final provincial implementation in September 2022. All other subjects, including the draft curriculum in French, will also be updated.

In January and February, there will be new engagement opportunities for Albertans to share their feedback on the updated draft content, as well as the draft Social Studies Master Plan at www.alberta.ca/curriculum- have-your-say. Additionally, Albertans are invited to attend virtual information sessions on the updated curriculum and implementation plans, which began in mid-December.

“We will take this opportunity to engage and provide feedback as often as possible. I think this is a very important process, ”Boyce said, adding that a full curriculum review has been prepared by Division Director Kathy Mann and can be viewed on the PSD website at www .psd.ca

In the spring of 2022, the Government of Alberta will consider feedback from all classroom engagement and piloting opportunities. This input will be used to finalize the social studies master plan, develop the corresponding social studies curriculum project, and further revise all subjects in the pre-K-6 curriculum.

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