Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

LaGrange: Feedback needed to refine curriculum

As the Minister of Education my role has been guided by a simple phrase: do the right thing for the right reason. I know we have taken the right steps with the Kindergarten to Grade 6 draft curriculum, and put Alberta students on a path to success.

After years of declining student academic performance in literacy and math, the new curriculum will renew the importance of teaching foundational knowledge across all subjects to better prepare students for the future. Alberta’s new Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum focuses on teaching essential knowledge and skills that students need. We need to make sure our children do not fall behind and we can ensure this by refreshing a curriculum that has not been updated in decades.

The responsibility for development of curriculum in Alberta falls with the Minister of Education and the Department of Education. This legislated responsibility that has been in place for decades. Through our transparent curriculum development process, we have also involved classroom teachers, faculties of education and subject matter experts to provide input.

The newly released draft curriculum is in fact just that, a draft. Upon its release, we have now entered a yearlong consultation and review process, which is critical as we move forward eventual implementation. In recent days, I have received questions about the piloting and I think it is important that all Albertans understand the process.

In-class piloting of the curriculum is one of the many ways the education system can provide feedback on this draft. Typically, a maximum of 10 per cent of classrooms around the province will participate in the pilot stage. Piloting does several things, it allows teachers to work with the curriculum and provide feedback on how students respond to the information, provide feedback on how the volume of information works for the age group in question and it allows for the testing and refinement of accompanying resources.

School boards are elected to make decisions for their schools, and they remain in the best position to make decisions for their students. School divisions have flexible options to participate in piloting. They may choose to participate with written feedback, or to pilot one subject, an entire grade or even the entire curriculum. How they choose to participate will be up to them and we value all the feedback we receive.

I understand that this last year has been extremely challenging for students, families and teachers. I am so thankful for everything teachers have done to ensure their students could be successful this school year. If the challenges of this past year have taught us anything, it is that our ever-changing world is more connected than ever before, and we want our children to have the skills and knowledge they need to navigate it. That is why it is so important to hear from Albertans on the draft curriculum and to make sure our final curriculum, which will go into classrooms in September 2022, delivers for students, parents, and educators.

I look forward to hearing feedback over the next year from parents, teachers, and subject matter experts to refine the curriculum, and I hope every Albertan will read the draft curriculum and visit www.alberta.ca/curriculum to provide their feedback.

Adriana LaGrange is the Minister of Education.

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