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Remarkable RDC Student Receives National Honour

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From RDC Communications

RDC Student Receives National Leadership Award

Red Deer College student, Robin Chiles, was recognized on a national level at the College and Institutes Canada (CICan) Conference in Niagara Falls recently.

The award for Leadership Excellence in the Student category is given to a student who has made a remarkable contribution within their institution, as well as in their community.

Robin Chiles is a dedicated wife, mother of two, community volunteer, full-time nursing student, and recognized student leader at Red Deer College and leader in the central Alberta community.

Robin is in her final year of the Bachelor of Science Nursing program and is a student leader on the RDC Board of Governors, the Students’ Association, and a member on the Nursing Society on campus. She has achieved both the Dean’s Honour Roll and the President’s Honour Role for academic excellence while showing passion and commitment for her community.

While excelling on campus, Robin finds time to support her local community through supporting young women in her congregation, participating in the Red Deer River Clean-up and Red Deer’s Point in Time Homeless Count. As a two-time cancer survivor, she is very active in supporting programs that help those affected by cancer such as the fundraiser Relay for Life.

“I am so very honored and to be nominated and receive the CICan Student Leadership award. When I first began my educational journey at Red Deer College being a student leader was not something, I set out to achieve. However, I soon recognized my passion for helping others succeed. My success would not have been possible without the support of many at Red Deer College, my husband and family. The opportunity to develop my leadership skills and be supported to do such has been one of the many highlights during my time at RDC,” says Robin Chiles, Student Member on RDC’s Board of Governors and CICan Award Recipient.

Robin is set to graduate from the Bachelor of Science Nursing program in December 2019. This award is an excellent nod to her leadership at Red Deer College and the involvement that she will carry forward in the community.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Education

Focus in fall should be on getting kids up to speed after covid – Red Deer Public School will not pilot K-6 curriculum

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Red Deer Public Schools logo

Red Deer Public will not pilot K-6 curriculum

Priority will be on recovery and supporting students

Alberta Education’s release of the DRAFT Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum has received significant concerns from a range of stakeholders raising issues with the proposed programs of study.

The new curriculum is over 500 pages long with many of the pages containing outcomes and objectives that are sound, providing the knowledge, skills and perspectives that students need. Some of the pages however, have raised issues, some of them significant, particularly on segments of the Social Studies curriculum. We concur with many of those concerns.

Sharing the issues and concerns of many in our community, as well as across the province, The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to not participate in piloting the new curriculum at their April 14, 2021 meeting.

While the development of a new curriculum framework has been over a decade in the making, we need to ensure we take the time needed to get this right. Ultimately, the curriculum belongs to all Albertans and it should reflect the hopes and aspirations we have for our students who are the future of this province. What will students need in an ever changing world…curriculum fills those needs. The content and way many of us learned in the past is not what today’s students will need to be prepared for the future. Every student needs to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to create their future.

Our focus will be on recovery… Given the significant challenges we anticipate with what we hope will be a return to school under ‘near normal conditions’ in September, Red Deer Public’s focus for the 2021/22 school year will be on recovery, as it will be with school divisions across the province. We know there will be learning gaps for many students and our priority needs to be addressing those and getting students back on track. We are also mindful of the social and emotional challenges many students and families have faced during the pandemic, so we need to prioritize mental wellness as well. With competing priorities, including curriculum implementation, we need to focus on our most important work and make the best choice for students. Recovery is our most pressing need and it will be Red Deer Public’s priority for next year.

With that in place, seeing both strengths and weaknesses in the draft curriculum, Red Deer Public wants to provide constructive and meaningful input to make the new curriculum better without officially piloting the new curriculum.

Our teachers will play a key role…Work will still take place with our teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 6, as well as division and school leadership, to inform our decisions and provide constructive feedback. That work will take time and will be done through a detailed and authentic look at the curriculum’s content as well as how teachers will be able to deliver the outcomes. That process will not involve Red Deer Public students.

Given province-wide concerns with the new curriculum, we encourage Alberta Education to be flexible in piloting the new curriculum and request that they welcome and listen to feedback beyond pilot jurisdictions in order to improve the curriculum. Where we can provide input on elements of the program, Red Deer Public is ready to make meaningful contributions.

During the 2021/22 school year we will still need to engage our teachers in preparing for a new curriculum for when it is officially implemented. We will do this through detailed analysis of the content, professional development and collaboration to be well prepared for whatever direction the new curriculum takes so we can do our best for students.

We must also remember that this is only half of the new curriculum, work is also underway developing curriculum for Grades 7 to 12. To begin with, we need to ensure the K to 6 curriculum is sound as it lays the foundation for future grades. Alberta Education needs to take lessons learned from the current process to ensure that middle and high school curriculum is the best it can be and reflects the expectations of Albertans.

Whether it is this or past governments, politics seems to influence the process. Albertans must have confidence in the curriculum development process. We feel it would be beneficial for this to be an independent process that engages the best minds and takes a broad perspective on what critical skills and knowledge all students will need to succeed. This in turn will allow Alberta to be the best it can be for years to come. There has to be a way for curriculum to be developed around sound and shared principles.

In the meantime, the Government of Alberta is seeking input on the draft curriculum, and we urge our parents and community to take the time to review and understand the curriculum first and then share their perspectives. Teachers will be providing input from the classroom perspective, however, all perspectives are vital as part of the curriculum review process.

This new curriculum is important as it will impact teaching and learning for years to come. It needs to set students up for success, so now is the opportunity to make sure we get it right for all of our students.

Nicole Buchanan, Board Chair

Chad Erickson, Superintendent of Schools

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Community

RDC launches $1 Million fundraising campaign after huge commitment by anonymous donor

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Red Deer College has launched an ambitious and significant student bursary fundraising campaign. A generous, anonymous donor has committed a $500,000 donation to match gifts made to the new RDC Student Bursary Fund. Gifts of any size made to this fund during the campaign will be matched 1:1 by the donor funds, doubling the impact of each gift.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our community has been tremendous. As it impacts Red Deer College directly, we have experienced decreases in both new student enrollment and in registrations for continuing students,” says RDC President, Dr. Peter Nunoda.

It is a priority for the donor and for RDC that students are not deterred from pursuing their chosen educational path by financial constraints. The many impacts of COVID-19 have caused some students to pause or delay starting their post-secondary education.

“In addition to this immediate financial support for students, it was important to the donor that these funds be used to connect the community to the effort. By creating the matching program, we hope that other community members who wish to support post-secondary students will be inspired by the potential to double their impact on new and continuing RDC students,” says Dr. Nunoda.

The RDC Student Bursary Fund is new and will be established entirely by donor gifts, doubled by the anonymous donor’s matching gift. Bursaries will be available for full- and part-time students, up to $1,500 and $750, respectively, per year. Bursaries will be distributed as tuition credits on a first come-first served basis. When the matching campaign has fully funded the RDC Student Bursary Fund, it will provide financial support for more than 1,300 students. The bursary created by the matching campaign will be available to new and returning students in credit programs, beginning in Fall 2021 Term. Application for these awards is open now at rdc.ab.ca/studentbursary.

“We’re grateful for the support of all of our donors, internal and external, small and large, and especially to this anonymous donor for their commitment, which will provide immediate and broad support for our students,” says Dr. Nunoda. “It has been a challenging year for many in our community, but we continue to come together in large and small ways to support one another. This is one more example of what makes me proud to be a part of this community.”

More information about the initiative, including the link to an online donation page, can be found at rdc.ab.ca/giving.

This new bursary is one of the ways in which RDC and generous donors support students in helping to keep post-secondary education accessible and affordable. Students enrolling in courses for 2021/2022 can apply for a variety of scholarships and awards now through May 31. RDC is pleased to award more than $1 million in scholarships and bursaries each year.

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