Alberta Education has doubled its funding commitment to combat learning disruptions in the early grades and address the complexity of students’ needs.
In a release Tuesday, the province said it will provide an additional $10 million this year to help Grade 1 students who need help catching up to grade level in the areas of foundational math and literacy.
“Alberta’s government is building on last year’s success, where we helped at-risk students catch up to their peers by more than half a year’s worth of learning,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange.
“We are taking action to prevent future challenges for our youngest learners, who are in the critical years of their development.”
The $10 million to support Grade 1 students who require additional support is part of the government’s commitment to provide $110 million over three years for students experiencing both academic and mental health challenges because of the pandemic.
The funding is in addition to the support the government provided in 2021-22, when they committed $45 million to provide extra supports to students in grades 1 to 3. As a result, 70,000 students regained an average of almost seven months of literacy and numeracy development.
The government also indicated that approximately 20 per cent of students required further intervention to catch up. To further support those students, Alberta’s government provided another $10 million to help school authorities continue to support the same cohort of students, who are now in grades 2 to 4.
“Targeted early literacy and numeracy programming is a proven practice that has a significant impact on student learning,” said Scott Morrison, president of the College of Alberta School Superintendents.
“The College of Alberta School Superintendents board of directors appreciates the additional funding to support foundational math and literacy skill development for Alberta Grade 1 students.”
School authorities can begin applying for this funding immediately. The first four months of the school year allowed teachers to assess students and identify students in need of additional interventions and supports.
Beginning in September 2022, school authorities are required to administer literacy and numeracy screening assessments for all students in grades 1 to 3. Students in grades 2 and 3 were assessed earlier this school year, and Grade 1 students were assessed by the end of January 2023. The $10 million the government is adding for this year will help ensure Grade 1 students who are behind grade level will receive the supports they need.
School authorities will reassess students at the end of the school year to measure their progress.