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June 29th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 26
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Alberta Education launches six-year curriculum overhaul
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Starting this September, Alberta Education will be changing what’s taught in the province’s classrooms and asking Albertans to provide input.

The cost for the new curriculum development will be over $64 million. About $39 million will pay for for staffing; about $20 million will pay for an engagement strategy and another $5 million will pay to build a digital platform to facilitate rebuild called the Curriculum Development Application. The funds had previously been budgeted.

Over the next of six years, work will be done on six subjects including arts, languages, mathematics, social studies, sciences and wellness.

“Critical subject areas have not been updated in many years, so this work is long overdue,” said Education Minister David Eggen. “This new process will allow us to fulfil our commitments to educate our students about the history, perspectives and contributions of our Francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities.”

About $4 million in existing funding will be spent on consultation with indigenous partners on the new curriculum.
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In a statement, Alberta Education said the new curriculum will have a common design to ensure consistency. The standardized design will make it easier for teachers to plan across subjects, said the statement, and will also enhance the ability of teachers who are teaching multiple subjects across grade levels to better plan for classes.

“Sleeker programs, allowing teachers to go more in-depth and to bring in more local elements, will ensure that our programs remain engaging, fulfilling and responsive to student needs,” said Mark Ramsankar, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Albertans will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the development of new curriculum through face-to-face meetings and an online survey planned for this fall.

Crowsnest Consolidated High School vice-principal Ian Baxter said it is too soon to speculate on how the changes will affect local students and educators.

“We’re not sure what it’s all going to mean,” he said. “The social studies were revamped not long ago. Will there be huge changes? I don’t know but I think it’s important to involve all the stakeholders.”
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He said some CCHS teachers might come forward to offer their input.

“I’m sure we have a number of teachers who will step forward,” he said. “The curriculum we’re giving to kids needs to be relevant.”

The new curriculum will be implemented for students from Kindergarten to Grade 4 by late 2018. Grades 5 to 8 will receive it in late 2019. After that, the high school curriculum will be developed in phases from 2020 to 2022.
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June 29th ~ Vol. 85 No. 26
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