Following feedback Alberta Education to release new curriculum this fall
French and science curriculums ready for classrooms
Elementary students and teachers will benefit from updated K-6 curriculums and resources in classrooms this fall.
Alberta’s government is continuing to take a balanced and measured approach to kindergarten to Grade 6 (K-6) curriculum renewal, based on advice from the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group. All K-3 students will learn from new French First Language and Literature, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature and Science curriculums this September. School authorities will also have the option to implement new curriculum in these three subjects for grades 4 to 6 if they choose.
Alberta’s government is delivering on its commitment to provide updated curriculum with essential knowledge and skills to better prepare students for the future.
“Curriculum renewal is essential to help prepare our students for a rapidly changing labour market, which is placing an ever- increasing premium on adaptability and transferable skills. To ensure successful implementation, we are making significant investments to provide teachers with the resources they need to support students in transitioning to the new curriculum.”
In response to feedback on the original draft, changes across the three K-6 subjects have been made to address areas of concern with content load, age appropriateness and wording clarity. Subject-specific changes include:
- Strengthening French First Language and Literature content by adding spelling rules and specifying which types of texts are studied in each grade.
- Enhancing French Immersion Language Arts and Literature content to align with the principles of learning an additional language and developing students’ creative writing skills.
- Strengthening Science content to promote understanding of agricultural practices in Alberta and align with previously implemented subjects. In the new K-6 Science curriculum, students in Grade 3 will examine how layers of Earth’s surface, including the discovery and location of dinosaur fossils, hold information about the past. In Grade 6, students will examine abstractions, coding structures and the impact of computers and technology.
Alberta’s government has listened to all feedback from classroom piloting and engagement activities to make final updates to the K-6 French First Language and Literature, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature and Science curriculums. In the 2022-23 school year, 47 school boards across the province piloted the draft curriculum, including 941 teachers and 22,000 students. The updated curriculums align with top-performing jurisdictions in Canada and globally and with new curriculum previously implemented across the province. Albertans can access the final curriculum online to see what has changed.
“For this school year, we had 60 teachers from K-6 participate in the French Immersion Language Arts and Literature (FILAL) pilot. Teachers are impressed with how condensed and clearly laid out the curriculum is as well as the consideration that has been given to age-appropriate sequencing of learning outcomes. Teachers are looking forward to implementing this curriculum next school year and to receiving a list of curated Alberta Education resources to support with implementation.”
“The FCSFA appreciates the willingness to listen and the cooperation of Alberta Education. We are committed to continue this cooperation with the province to be able to offer a French First Language and Literature curriculum which meets the needs of our francophone students.”
“The CASS board of directors appreciates the ministry’s responsiveness to feedback and supports phased implementation that provides school authorities flexibility to implement new curriculum based upon local contexts.”
Supporting successful curriculum implementation
Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring the curriculum implementation process is as successful and practical as possible for elementary teachers this September. In 2023-24, approximately $47 million is being invested in teacher professional learning as well as learning and teaching resources to make sure teachers and students are equipped for the updated K-6 curriculum in classrooms.
“Professional development and timely access to resources are essential to ensure educators and the system are fully prepared to implement new curriculum. The Alberta School Boards Association looks forward to continuing to engage with our member boards, and to collaborate with the government and education partners on required supports to ensure the success of all students.”
“The Calgary Board of Education shares the government’s goal of providing a quality curriculum that prepares students for future success. Together, we are committed to ongoing effective implementation.”
As part of this investment, Alberta Education is working with the province’s four largest school authorities to develop science resources. This collaboration will ensure resources are accessible to all school authorities to support student learning and the successful implementation of new K-6 Science curriculum.
“Through our pilot process, Edmonton Catholic Schools has worked closely with Alberta Education to provide feedback to ensure quality learning experiences for all students. An updated curriculum, including Computer Science, will help students develop skills and aptitudes for the future.”
“Edmonton Public Schools is committed to creating resources and support materials that will help K-6 teachers across the province implement the new Science curriculum.”
To help teachers across the province prepare for the upcoming school year, Alberta’s government is providing a variety of supports and resources online, including:
- the final K-6 French First Language and Literature, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature and Science curriculums
- the Provincial Resource Review Guide, with guidelines for selecting learning and teaching resources aligned with the new curriculums
- bridging resources to assist with transitioning from the current curriculums to the new curriculums
- videos and support documents with an overview and orientation to the new curriculums
- tools that support teacher planning, collaborating and sharing
- information about flexible professional learning opportunities
Alberta Education will provide school authorities with additional details to facilitate planning and implementation for September. School authorities will also continue to have flexibility to select resources to support curriculum implementation in their classrooms.
Next steps for implementation, piloting and engagement
Alberta’s government is continuing to take a balanced, phased approach to K-6 curriculum renewal based on advice from the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group.
More information on curriculum implementation, further piloting opportunities and engagement will be shared online as details become available.
- More than 240,000 students will be learning from the new K-3 French First Language and Literature, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature and Science curriculums during the 2023-24 school year.
- As announced in March 2022, school authorities will also implement grades 4 to 6 English Language Arts and Literature and Mathematics curriculums this fall.
- In 2023-24, approximately $47 million has been allocated for the K-6 implementation process. This includes funding for school authorities:
- $45 on a per-student basis to purchase additional curriculum resources to support implementation of new K-6 curriculum in three subject areas.
- $800 on a per-teacher basis to support professional learning.
- In addition, Alberta Education will retain funding to purchase, license and develop high-quality learning and teaching resources aligned with the new curriculum.
- Between March 2021 and February 2023, Alberta’s government provided many opportunities for Albertans to share feedback on the draft K-6 curriculum:
- More than 34,000 online surveys were completed.
- More than 1,100 attendees participated in virtual information sessions hosted by Alberta Education.
- Nearly 600 Albertans shared diverse viewpoints on each subject area at 31 virtual engagement sessions.
- Twelve partner organizations were provided $800,000 in grants to help them engage with their communities and report their unique perspectives.
- In the 2021-22 school year, about 360 teachers piloted draft K-6 Mathematics, English Language Arts and Literature, Science, Physical Education and Wellness, Social Studies and Fine Arts curriculums with about 7,800 students.
- In the 2022-23 school year, 941 teachers are piloting draft K-6 French First Language and Literature, French Immersion Language Arts and Literature and Science curriculums with 22,000 students in 47 school authorities across the province.
- The 12-member Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group had balanced representation from across the education system to help ensure the best interests of the entire education system inform the group’s advice and recommendations.
Alberta’s province wide state of emergency ends as wildfire situation improves
Wildfires and smoke are shown in British Columbia and Alberta in this satellite image taken Thursday, May 18, 2023. Alberta’s public safety and emergency services minister says a province wide state of emergency that was declared nearly a month ago to deal with unprecedented wildfires will end Saturday night at midnight. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – Co-operative Institute for Research on the Atmosphere (CIRA) at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Alberta’s public safety and emergency services minister says a provincewide state of emergency that was declared nearly a month ago to deal with unprecedented wildfires ended Saturday at midnight.
Mike Ellis told a news conference the wildfire situation in Alberta remains serious but, overall, things have improved significantly and it’s anticipated they will continue to improve.
He says support will not stop for communities affected by active wildfires, including Fort Chipewyan, which remains evacuated due to a large fire burning about seven kilometres away.
The state of emergency was implemented May 6 to expedite co-ordination of firefighting resources and support for evacuees.
Christie Tucker with Alberta Wildfire says the Rocky Mountain wildfire which threatens Fort Chipewyan remains a top priority and 85 Canadian troops were on the way to the area on Saturday afternoon
Tucker told the news conference the blaze was quiet on Friday until the evening, but crews are working to prevent flames spreading to the community and rain is expected in the area in the next day or so.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2023.
Saskatchewan landowners fight against illegal drainage washing out land, roads
WAWOTA, Sask. — Lane Mountney spreads a map over his kitchen table at his farmhouse in southeast Saskatchewan, pointing to yellow and orange arrows slithering across the document.
Many of the arrows represent existing channels and ditches, moving across fields and out of wetlands to drain water. The arrows eventually make their way to a creek, causing what he describes as a deluge of problems downstream.
“All these years, guys have gotten away with draining water and the next guy figures he can get away withit,” Mountney said in an interview at his farm near Wawota, Sask., about 200 kilometres southeast of Regina.
“If this keeps going like it has, I don’t know what Saskatchewan’s going to look like in 10 years.”
Mountney’s map depicts what’s called the Wawken Drainage Project, a plan developed by the local watershed group that has since been taken over by the Water Security Agency, which is responsible for overseeing drainage in Saskatchewan.
The project is nearly 14 square kilometres and contains 880 wetlands of various sizes representing a total of 2.4 square kilometres of water.
A project document indicates that 88 per cent of these wetlands have been drained, partially drained or farmed. About 12 per cent remain intact.
Most of this water is supposed to flow into a creek that runs through a parcel of Mountney’s land.
The plan developers believe the creek can handle the flows, but Mountney is not convinced.
Last year, he and his wife, Sandra Mountney, dealt with flooding ontheir horses’ pasture. They decided not to use their well water at the time because it was yellow.
“They were very excited to tell us that nobody inside the project area is going to lose acres, but they haven’t even looked at who’s going to lose acres miles down the line.” Sandra Mountney said.
Brent Fry, who farms grain and livestock, said it’s common for his land to flood for three days when people upstream get 50 millimetres of rain.
He said it has caused roads and access points to erode.
“There are about four farms out there and all they’re doing is draining whether they’ve got permission or not,” Fry said. “I don’t even know what to do because the government’s not doing anything — they’re siding with the big guys.”
Farmers have drained water in Saskatchewan for generations and many have done so illegally by digging ditches without permits.
Most producers drain because it allows them to grow more crops, helping them pay for land that has become increasingly expensive. However, it has caused yearly flooding for people downstream. Roads also wash out and habitat gets lost.
At the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention in February, reeves passed a resolution asking the Water Security Agency to require those who are illegally draining to remediate their unapproved works.
Saskatchewan legislation requires upstream landowners to receive permission from those downstream when they want to drain, but many say that’s not happening.
Sandra Mountney said the Water Security Agency hasn’t been taking concerns seriously.
“It’s hard to know who’s really protecting our waterways,” she said.
The Wawken project began about three years ago but hasn’t been completed. It’s among many drainage projects underway.
Daniel Phalen, a watershed planner, worked on the project as technician before he left for another job.
He said landowners had been draining water with no permits before the plan. His job was to determine how many wetlands were drained and what works had already been done.
Phalen said the plan was to put in structures that would slow down the drainage to reduce problems downstream.
It’s unclear what work had been done on the Wawken project to mitigate flows since Phalen left. The Water Security Agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Phalen said projects can get held up if affected landowners don’t come to an agreement. Expropriation is allowed but it’s rare, he said.
Another nearby drainage plan, known as the Martin project, has stalled because of landowner concerns.
Researchers have estimated Saskatchewan has lost half of its total wetlands over time for crop production.
Phalen, who also worked on the Martin plan, said it was concerning to see the number of wetlands sucked out.
“The Water Security Agency doesn’t have the manpower to do much about it,” Phalen said. “There’s such low enforcement already that if they had any policies in place, people would just drain anyways. It’s kind of a scary problem to be in.”
Sandra Mountney said she’s worried about losing wetlands because they help recharge groundwater supplies and filter contaminants — particularly important when it’s dry.
The Water Security Agency has released a drainage management framework that aims to prevent flooding and ensure Saskatchewan retains a “sufficient” number of wetlands.
Leah Clark, the Interim Executive Director of Agriculture Water Management, told attendees at a Saskatchewan Farm Stewardship Association meeting earlier this year that 43 per cent of wetlands are retained within approved projects. She added the province has “thriving” wildlife populations.
However, she said under the policy, landowners would be able to select which wetlands to retain.
“It will achieve a working landscape for landowners to continue to use their land for farming and ranching. This approach will allow for new development while retaining current drainage,” she said.
Phalen said Saskatchewan could look to Manitoba for solutions to retain wetlands.
Manitoba has historically drained most of its wetlands in the agricultural regions, he said, but the province has since developed a policy where landowners are paid for retaining them.
“You know, $100 an acre is not a ton of money, but it’s another incentive to help producers,” he said. “It’s such a complex problem where you got this huge financial incentive to drain.”
Lane Mountney said regulations just need to be enforced.
“It’s almost too late,” he said. “They should have been out there checking stuff before we got this point.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2023.
Jeremy Simes, The Canadian Press
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