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Back to Basics for K to 12 education in Alberta – Province ditching “discovery” learning

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From the Province of Alberta

Improving student learning in Alberta

A new vision to guide education will transform student learning, update curriculum and strengthen the K-12 system.

Alberta’s government is honouring its commitment to end the focus on so-called “discovery” or “inquiry” learning by repealing the 2013 ministerial order on student learning and replacing it with one that will give students a foundation of literacy and numeracy and a knowledge of the rich and diverse history of Alberta and Canada. The new ministerial order emphasizes civic virtues, core knowledge, and outcomes students need to succeed in school and throughout life.

“This new ministerial order on student learning is a return to proven teaching methods that will set up Alberta’s students for rich personal and work lives. Moving forward, education will promote skills development and knowledge pursuit, equipping students to explore opportunities that will help them develop their talents and unleash their potential.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The new ministerial order was developed after the government broadened consultations to hear a wider range of perspectives from parents, teachers, and subject matter experts. It places an emphasis on essential core knowledge, evidence and fact-based materials, and focuses on literacy and numeracy as foundational elements woven throughout the entire curriculum.

“As a lifelong teacher, I fundamentally believe that students should gain the knowledge and skills they need to form foundations for successful and fulfilling lives. Literacy and numeracy are the bedrock for successful learning, and I am pleased that the final ministerial order recognizes that importance.”

Angus McBeath, chair, Curriculum Advisory Panel

Now that the new ministerial order is in place, the 2018 draft K-4 curriculum will be reviewed and future curricula will be drafted for the next grades. All draft curricula will be aligned with the new vision.

Due to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines for piloting the new draft curriculum are being adjusted. Validation will be expanded from K-4 to include Grades 5 and 6. Participating schools will start piloting this curriculum in classrooms in September 2021. At a minimum, a draft curriculum for Grades 7-10 will be ready for classroom validation in September 2022.

It is anticipated that all students attending school in Alberta will be learning from the new K-6 curriculum by the 2022-23 school year.

Quick facts

  • In August 2019, the independent 12-member Curriculum Advisory Panel was established.
  • In December 2019, the panel submitted a draft ministerial order on student learning and recommendations on curriculum direction to government.
  • In February 2020, more than 8,500 Albertans, including education partners, gave feedback on the draft ministerial order during a public engagement.

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Alberta

Alberta Liberals appoint John Roggeveen as interim party leader

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CALGARY, United Kingdom — Alberta’s Liberals have appointed a Calgary lawyer to hold the party’s top job months after the resignation of its former leader. 

The party issued a statement saying its board of directors named John Roggeveen to the role, but offered few other details. 

The party, which currently holds no seats in the provincial legislature, has been without a leader since November when David Khan stepped down to pursue a job in his previous field of law.

Roggeveen, too, is a lawyer by trade, most recently practising privately in Calgary. 

Liberal Party President Helen Mcmenamin describes him as “the ideal candidate” for the role, citing “years of political experience and a deep commitment to building the Party and serving Albertans.”

Roggeveen says it’s an honour to take the party reins and is pledging to bolster its presence in the province’s political landscape. 

“Good policies are one of the strengths of our party, but good organization will be the foundation for successfully implementing them,” he said in the statement. “My focus will be on creating a stronger organization so that the Alberta Liberals will be a force in the next election.”

The Liberals were once the province’s official Opposition, but after a high of 32 seats in 1993, the party suffered from ups and downs until it fell to third-party status in the legislature in 2012.

It secured a seat for only one member in 2015 and was shut out of the legislature entirely during the most recent election in April 2019.

Saturday’s statement neither specified the expected length of Roggeveen’s stint as party leader nor spelled out the process for choosing a permanent successor.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Wayne Middaugh leads Howard rink to victory in its opening game of Tim Hortons Brier

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CALGARY — It was a triumphant return to the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier for Wayne Middaugh.

With Glenn Howard ailing, Middaugh led Howard’s Wildcard 3 team to a 9-5 win over Gregory Skauge of Northwest Territories in the opening game of the tournament for both rinks Saturday.

Middaugh originally joined Howard’s rink last month as a fifth but was forced into action after Howard suffered broken ribs in a snowmobile accident.

A broken leg derailed Middaugh’s competitive playing career in January 2016 when he was Howard’s vice at the time.

Middaugh was on crutches at the Brier that season to help the team from the coaching bench.

Middaugh last actively played in the Brier in 2013.

A Canadian Curling Hall of Famer, Middaugh has won Brier and world gold medals at three different positions.

He and Howard won a world title together in 2012 with a different lineup.

On Saturday, the Wildcard 3 team cemented its win with three in the ninth end.

In other action, New Brunswick’s James Grattan defeated Mike McEwen (Wildcard 1) 6-3, Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs got past Yukon’s Dustin Mikkelsen 11-3 in eight ends and Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson edged Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher 5-4.

Two more draws were scheduled for later Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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