Edmonton Catholic School Board votes to not pilot Alberta's draft curriculum

A growing number of schools boards, including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic and the Calgary Board of Education, have decided against participating in the pilot program for Alberta's new K-6 curriculum. Kim Smith spoke with Carla Peck, a social studies curriculum expert and University of Alberta professor, about the social studies concerns.

In a virtual school meeting Monday, the Edmonton Catholic School Board decided unanimously to not pilot the Alberta government’s draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum.

Board members said they embrace opportunities to participate in provincial curriculum updates. However, after a comprehensive review of the draft curriculum proposed by the province, won’t be piloting the curriculum in Edmonton Catholic schools next year.

Read more:
Alberta Teachers’ Association says draft K-6 curriculum is ‘fatally flawed,’ demands rewrite

Chief Supt. Martin Robert said the district completed a universal survey, and created 17 focus groups that examined the draft curriculum by subject and grade.

“At this time… we believe that the conditions have not been met for a quality piloting process,” Robert said.

“Edmonton Catholic Schools will not be piloting the draft curriculum in the 2021-2022 school year.”

He said, instead, the district would be focusing on nurturing positive mental health and the foundations of numeracy and literacy next school year.

Read more:
Edmonton Public Schools will not pilot Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum

“The pandemic echo will be long and far reaching,” Robert said. “Our students and staff have been deeply impacted by the ongoing disruptions to learning and the mental health impacts.”

Read more:
Social studies, religion, Indigenous history sections of proposed Alberta curriculum under fire

Trustees thanked all the teachers and administrative staff for volunteering for the curriculum review. It included focus groups that looked at inclusive education, equity and diversity, as well as age-group appropriateness.

The review, which ended up being more than 100 pages, includes recommendations to the education ministry for curriculum redesign.

READ MORE: Calgary Board of Education won’t pilot Alberta’s draft K-6 curriculum

Trustee Debbie Engel said she wants the public to know: “We have heard you loud and clear… a new curriculum is needed.”

She said teachers and consultants did a “deep dive” before making this decision and it was not a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Read more:
Alberta education minister warns districts that opt out of curriculum pilot won’t give ‘rich feedback’

The board said it would write a letter to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange with the review feedback and also continue to be part of any future curriculum redesign.

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