The Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees is still reviewing Alberta’s new Kindergarten to Grade 6 draft curriculum, and is uncertain how exactly the public school division will move ahead amid vigorous debate over the curriculum’s merits.
“There’s lots of information out there [and] lots of conversation from parents,” said Fiona Gilbert, the trustee for Ward 6 and RVS’ board chair. “From a Rocky View perspective, we want to be thoughtful in our comments and in our approach.”
Gilbert said because the government is piloting the draft K-6 curriculum this fall, there is a lot of information and details the district has to review before determining how exactly they will move forward with it. She added many divisional staff are not working during spring break – April 2 to 9 – meaning any final decision has been delayed since the draft was first unveiled at the end of March.
“[The board is] waiting to hear from our curriculum experts and our learning staff as to what impact [the curriculum] would have to Rocky View Schools to pilot or not pilot,” she said.
A draft of the Alberta government’s revamped curriculum was released on March 29 and includes revisions to every school subject. The draft curriculum, which is founded on four key learning themes – literacy, numeracy, citizenship, and practical skills – will be piloted in classrooms starting this September.
The government will allocate $6 million toward implementing the new curriculum in classrooms later this year and will be holding four virtual feedback sessions in April, as well as monthly sessions from May until February of next year.
The initial draft has been subject to some criticism on social media, as well as from the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA). The ATA’s president, Jason Schilling, said in a statement that teachers were not appropriately consulted during the development of the draft curriculum.
“Teachers understand the readiness of young students for different pieces of content and how to bring curriculum to life in the classroom,” he said in an ATA press release. “Our association and its members are best positioned to provide advice on the successful implementation of new curriculum. To develop a curriculum without incorporating a grassroots, classroom-based understanding of how students learn could set our students up for failure.”
According to Gilbert, RVS encourages both parents and students to submit feedback about the curriculum through an Alberta government online survey.
“I think it’s important that voices are heard in this curriculum,” she said, adding she encourages parents to provide their own feedback online via a government survey.
While Gilbert declined to comment specifically on the curriculum, she advised that with a little more time, RVS will look to work with parents and students across the division to provide feedback to the government, in whatever form that takes.
“I’m not sure exactly how that will look, to be honest, but we obviously want to hear from parents,” she said. “We want to know what their thoughts are as well, [but] there’s still so much that is unknown at this time that we're still waiting to get some direction from the government.”