All four St. Albert school boards have now said they will not test-drive the province’s new draft K-6 curriculum this fall.
Greater St. Albert Catholic (GSACRD) and the Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord announced last week that they would not participate in this fall’s pilot of Alberta Education’s draft K-6 curriculum. Sturgeon Public and St. Albert Public made similar announcements in early April.
The draft curriculum has drawn harsh criticism for its design and content from parents, educators and various other organizations since it was tabled March 29. The Alberta Teachers’ Association has called for a complete halt to the draft’s development and testing pending an independent review and rewrite.
Alberta Education plans to have schools volunteer to test-drive the draft this September.
In a letter released April 16, GSACRD board chair Noreen Radford and superintendent Clint Mororziuk said their board would sit out the fall pilot as their top priorities are student learning and filling achievement gaps caused by the pandemic.
“The Board is deeply concerned about the mental health and well-being of staff and students, and we want to ensure that our community is able to recover from the challenges of the pandemic with a return to normality to the greatest extent possible,” Radford stated in the letter.
“Our staff have been dealing with a great deal of pressure, particularly with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, and it is a priority for us to be mindful of teacher workload next year as we continue to feel the effects of the pandemic.”
In an April 12 letter, Centre-Nord officials said it would not pilot the new curriculum as it lacks Francophone perspectives and opportunities to highlight the diversity of Francophone Albertans. The COVID-19 pandemic is not an optimal context in which to test the draft, and the board could not be certain that conditions in schools would be back to normal this fall.
In the letter, Centre-Nord superintendent Robert Lessard stated the board wants to focus on the immediate learning needs of its students, adding that it would be better to revise the curriculum over the next year and wait for a better time for a test-run. Board chair Tanya Saumure called on the province to engage in authentic consultation with Albertans to address gaps in the draft, especially those related to the needs of Francophone students.
GSACRD and Centre-Nord officials encouraged families, staff and students to review and comment on the draft curriculum.
The draft curriculum and a survey on it can be found at www.alberta.ca/curriculum.aspx.