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Alberta

Literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills featured in new Alberta K-6 curriculum

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The following is a news release from the Province of Alberta

New K-6 curriculum: Renewing focus on essential knowledge and skills

Alberta’s updated draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum brings a renewed focus to literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills, giving students a strong base of essential knowledge for future learning.

The revised and strengthened K-6 curriculum – the result of more than a year of consultations with parents, teachers, and subject matter experts – is based on proven research and is designed to improve student outcomes across all subjects, following several years of declining and stagnant student performance.

“The new curriculum delivers on our commitment to Albertans to refocus learning on essential knowledge and skills in order to give our children the best possible chance at success. Parents and teachers have waited a long time for this, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve delivered. Another promise made, promise kept.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

Parents and teachers will see four key learning themes in the revised curriculum that spans all grades:

  • Literacy
    • Using phonics and other proven best practices, students will be taught to master reading, writing, speaking, and listening in order to build a strong foundation for learning.
  • Numeracy
    • By learning to think fluently about numbers and equations, students will gain essential knowledge for everyday tasks and a foundation for more complex learning in the future.
  • Citizenship
    • Drawing from history, geography, economics, civics, and other studies, students will develop an appreciation of how Canadians have built one of the most generous, prosperous, and diverse societies in the world.
  • Practical skills
    • From household budgeting, to digital literacy, business planning, healthy relationships and the importance of consent, students will learn a new set of essential skills that will prepare them for success in the real world.

“The new K-6 curriculum is inspired by the science of reading and brings to our teachers, parents, and children what is currently known around the world as best practice to support our children to become successful readers and writers.”

George Georgiou, professor, faculty of education – educational psychology, University of Alberta

“This new draft curriculum is clear, concise, concrete and comprehensive. I am excited for both the teachers and their students, as it is a huge step forward towards evidence-based best practices in math education. This increased standard of excellence will give many parents great confidence that all our children will develop the mastery of fundamental knowledge, understanding, and skills in mathematics necessary to succeed in life.”

Nhung Tran-Davies, parent and math advocate

“The Edmonton Chamber applauds the new focus this curriculum places on financial literacy and the foundational skills that employers and entrepreneurs rely on each and every day. This will help spur creative thinking and fuel a new generation of Alberta entrepreneurial leadership.”

Janet Riopel, president & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

“As a former member on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – Alberta, during our hearings was the first province to ‘publicly declare that it was launching its own initiative to develop mandatory curriculum on the Treaties and residential schools for all students’. We believed that education, in general, is the key to reconciliation and with the work done to date; it is consistent with the United Nations Declaration in the promotion of respectful relationships between citizens and as a Chief, I am honoured to be a validator to the new education curriculum and look forward to its transforming and positive change.”

Former Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild

“Including computer science in Alberta’s new K-6 science curriculum is a watershed moment; it means Alberta students will now learn the foundational ideas, problem-solving and creative thinking skills behind this 21st century science which now touches nearly every aspect of our lives.”

Cathy Adams, professor and Vargo teaching chair, faculty of education, University of Alberta

“I am thrilled that the Alberta government has ensured that consent will be taught as an essential part of the K-6 curriculum. I have been advocating for these changes for many years and applaud this leadership. We clearly know that this topic thrives on society’s ignorance and indifference so the sooner we give our young people the tools and confidence, the better. To prevent maltreatment we need to start at the youngest age possible, so, in my mind, this education will not only change lives, it will save them.”

Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder, Respect Group

Alberta’s government remains committed to a transparent review process. The draft K-6 curriculum is now online at alberta.ca/curriculum for all Albertans to provide feedback until spring 2022.

Next steps

Classroom validation, a process where school authorities are invited to test the draft curriculum, is targeted to begin in September with schools across the province that choose to participate.

Six million dollars have been set aside this fiscal year to support the new K-6 curriculum in select schools supporting validation. These funds will be used to develop critical resources and professional development to support teachers through this important validation phase.

Additional funds will be made available to support further implementation efforts in future budgets.

The feedback from Albertans and the classroom validation will be incorporated into the draft K – 6 curriculum before it is implemented across the province.

Students are expected to be learning from the new curriculum during the 2022-23 school year.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s Grade 4 student results for reading literacy in the Progress in the International Reading Literacy Study has declined over 10 years:
    • 2006 score: 560 – ranked 1st of 45 countries
    • 2016 score: 547 – ranked 17th of 50 countries
  • Alberta’s Grade 4 student results in math and science in Trends in International Mathematics and Science studies declined between 2007 and 2019:
    • 2007 math score: 505 – ranked 16th of 65 countries
    • 2019 math score: 490 – ranked 39th of 64 countries
    • 2007 science score: 543 – ranked 4th of 65 countries
    • 2019 science score: 530 – ranked 16th of 64 countries
  • In September 2022, the draft Grades 7 – 10 curriculum is expected to be ready for classroom validation.
  • During the 2023-24 school year, the draft Grades 7 – 10 curriculum is targeted for province wide implementation.
  • In September 2023, the Grades 11 and 12 draft curriculum is targeted for classroom validation, with provincial implementation the next year.

Alberta

Saskatchewan ranchers call for investigation into retail meat pricing

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REGINA — A group of Canadian ranchers is calling for an investigation into meat pricing.

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association says it’s asking the provincial and federal governments to look into what it calls an “imbalance” between the price ranchers receive for the cattle and the price consumers pay at the meat counter.

The group says many ranchers and feedlots are operating at a loss this year. Grass is still scarce on the Prairies due to last summer’s drought, and the cost of feed grain and fuel has skyrocketed since last year.

But packers and retailers are reporting strong profits this year. The Stock Growers say they believe slaughterhouses may be intentionally running fewer shifts to in order to keep wholesale beef prices high and allow fed cattle supplies to build up in the countryside.

In the U.S., the Biden administration has already expressed concerns about rising meat prices and vowed to implement policies aimed at increasing competition in the meat-packing sector.

According to Statistics Canada, the retail price of beef is up 11.2 per cent year-over-year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

First test production of plastic a milestone for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

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CALGARY — The $4.3-billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex, which has been under construction northeast of Edmonton since 2018, has produced its first plastic pellets.

Owner and operator Inter Pipeline Ltd. said Tuesday the newly commissioned facility has been producing test pellets steadily since late June, an important milestone en route to the expected start of full commercial operation sometime this fall.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex will convert Alberta propane into 525,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene beads, an easily transported form of plastic that is used in the manufacturing of a wide range of finished products.

Steven Noble, spokesman for Calgary-based Inter Pipeline, said the facility will be the first integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene production facility in North America. He said approximately 70 per cent of Heartland’s total production capacity has been already contracted out to long-term customers.

“Through the duration of the project’s construction, we’ve seen demand for polypropylene increase significantly … including at one point hitting an all-time record (market price),” Noble said in an interview. “The demand that we initially forecast certainly hasn’t gone away.”

The Heartland facility is being built with the support of a $408-million grant from Alberta’s provincial government. The cash grant, part of an incentive program aimed at growing the province’s petrochemicals sector, is to be paid to Inter Pipeline in equal instalments over three years once the complex is operational.

Noble said by creating a new market for propane, the Heartland facility is an example of how natural resource development in Alberta is diversifying.

“The fact that we’re now looking at our raw resources in a different way, and figuring out different ways to get value out of them and create other refined products right here at home … is really the part of the story that everyone here is excited about,” he said.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex is expected to employ 300 people once fully operational.

The polypropylene produced at the facility will be branded as Heartland Polymers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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