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Alberta

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’s top health official says province isn’t in a second wave of COVID-19

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province is not in a second wave of COVID-19 despite increased daily case numbers in recent weeks.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says some provinces may have determined they’re in a second onslaught of the pandemic, but that’s not the case in Alberta where the numbers are ‘”relatively stable.”

She says there would have to be a huge spike in infections and the future at the moment remains in the hands of the public.

Hinshaw says the number of cases in five- to 19-year-olds peaked in April at the height of the pandemic, and since the current school year began infections in that group have been dropping on a weekly basis.

Alberta has recorded 158 more cases and one additional death, and  alerts or outbreaks have been reported in 97 schools.

Hinshaw isn’t calling on Albertans to cancel Thanksgiving, but adds gatherings shouldn’t exceed 15 people and those invited should be part of a family’s usual cohort.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta to review concerns of four mayors who oppose 911 EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says he will review the concerns of four mayors who say the government’s plan to consolidate 911 emergency medical service dispatch services will put lives at risk. 

Tyler Shandro met Thursday with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Red Deer’s Tara Veer, Lethbridge’s Chris Spearman and Mayor Don Scott of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.  

The mayors have been lobbying hard against the change, which the province says would save money and make the EMS dispatch service more efficient.  

Nenshi says 911 dispatch should be operated at the municipal level because local knowledge and integration with fire services can’t be overlooked if safety is the top priority.  

Veer, Spearman and Scott say the meeting shows Shandro is willing to seek out additional information from municipalities to understand the effect consolidation would have on local patients, and they hope the province will come to the conclusion that it does not make sense to change the system.  

Shandro says it was a good meeting and he will consider what the mayors have told him.  

“I think consolidating ambulance dispatch into AHS makes sense. It will make the system work better and save money that we’ll reinvest in the health system,” Shandro said Thursday in an email.  

“Most importantly, the evidence I’ve seen shows it won’t change response times or cause delays for ambulances or other first responders. But I respect the mayors’ concerns and the information they shared, and I committed to them that we’ll review their concerns and get back to them before the transition begins.”  

The fire chiefs of the four municipalities also attended the meeting.  

Alberta Health Services says it has three EMS dispatch centres in Calgary, Edmonton and Slave Lake that currently dispatch ambulances for 60 per cent of the province’s population and cover most of the province’s geographic area. The government announced the plan to consolidate the dispatch service last month.  

At the time, the four mayors said they were blindsided by the decision and said it would put the lives of their residents at risk.   

The mayors then asked for a meeting with Shandro and called on Premier Jason Kenney to reverse the decision.   

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020

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