“It’s already been a very long process,” says Chad Erickson, associate superintendent for Red Deer public schools, of efforts to update the curriculum.

Alberta Education needs to forge ahead after ‘long process’ of creating a new curriculum, say Red Deer school officials

New direction is needed to prepare students for 21st- Century

A new kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum can’t come soon enough for Red Deer public schools.

Last week, a government advisory panel tasked with modernizing the school curriculum released 26 recommendations focusing on the need for more work readiness, financial literacy, and rooting numeracy and literacy lessons in all learning.

The recommendations were largely supported by educators, and similar to restructuring that was already underway by the former NDP government.

But they come a full decade after Alberta Education first set out to update the curriculum, said Bruce Buruma, community relations director for Red Deer public schools.

As it could still take months or years to get a new curriculum approved by the provincial government, “we need to be up to date and move forward on this,” added Buruma.

He feels preparing students properly for the 21st century depends on it.

“It’s already been a very long process,” agreed Chad Erickson, associate superintendent for Red Deer public schools.

Alberta’s former NDP government was part way through a $68- million curriculum revamp when everything was put on hold as the new UCP government conducts its own review.

Much of what was recommended this week by the UCP-appointed panel is in line with the direction the NDP was going, said David Khatib, associate superintendent of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

“Quite a few (recommendations) were not new to us… but we value the panel’s input.”

Khatib supports putting greater emphasis on preparing students for careers and post-secondary studies — as does Erickson.

The two administrators feel students are under greater pressure these days to plan a career path in a world in which technological change is making some jobs obsolete.

“It’s a tough time. We want to ensure students have the practical knowledge… to understand careers and do some planning,” said Erickson.

Khatib likes the panel’s notion of teachers doing informal “formative assessments” in class, throughout the school year, to gauge student knowledge, instead of basing it only on test results.

He said this is already happening as teachers interact with small groups of students on a daily basis.

However, the panel’s suggestion that more standardized testing be done in the lower grades is raising concerns.

Neither Khatib nor Erickson support it, noting the province got rid of the Grade 3 standardized tests, recognizing it can be stressful on young students and not be a true measure of their achievement. These kind of tests are now done only in Grades 6, 9 and 12.

Khatib is also concerned about a recommendation that “single-stream” courses be provided for high school students, so their futures aren’t limited. He isn’t sure if this is a suggestion that only university-level courses be offered.

“There’s a need for further clarification on that.”

Erickson encourages central Albertans to voice their opinions on the panel’s curriculum proposals through a public online survey.

They “aren’t written in stone,” added Khatib.

The survey is available until Feb. 24 at www.alberta.ca/vision-for-student-learning-engagement.aspx.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer public schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More ambulances are needed in Red Deer to handle inter-hospital patient transfers, says mayor

‘Code reds’ — meaning all city ambulances are in use — happen monthly

On the ropes: The Red Deer Boxing Club wants to expand, but is stymied by back-alley location

The club’s founder is looking for other site options, sponsorships

NDP speak out about future surgery access for women

Surgeries called “limited clinical value”

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Einarson, Homan, Jones frontrunning at Tournament of Hearts

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Manitoba, Ontario and the Jennifer Jones wild-card team… Continue reading

Feds hope to meet with Wet’suwet’en chiefs and negotiate end to blockades

OTTAWA — Traditional chiefs from British Columbia at the heart of the… Continue reading

Ponoka selling its airport to flying club

Agreement is for 25 years with option to buy back

Disturbances prompt Wetaskiwin to close emergency shelter

Citing increased threats, assaults, vagrancy and other crime, the City of Wetaskiwin… Continue reading

Blockades expose a polarized nation

The political response to Canada’s blockade crisis so far has been to… Continue reading

Canada hosts Lima Group, appeals for world’s help on Venezuela crisis

GATINEAU, Que. — Canada and its Western Hemisphere allies are calling on… Continue reading

Trump ally Roger Stone sentenced to over 3 years in prison

WASHINGTON — Trump loyalist Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to more than… Continue reading

Most Read