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Livingstone Range won’t pilot new curriculum

Associate superintendent of curriculum, Chad Kuzyk

Citing ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholder concerns and limited preparation time, Livingstone Range School Division will not pilot the new curriculum.

The school board made that decision April 20 during its meeting via the on-line Zoom platform.

Trustees followed a recommendation from senior school division implementation not to pilot the new Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum in the 2021-’22 school year.

School jurisdictions have the option of piloting the new curriculum in 2021-’22, or to wait until it is mandated by the government for 2022-’23.

Trustees met in closed session with the school division’s senior administration on April 20, prior to the open board meeting.

During the open meeting, associate superintendent of curriculum Chad Kuzyk outlined for trustees the process that led to the recommendation not to pilot the new curriculum.

Following the government’s March 29 release of the draft curriculum, Kuzyk attended an April 8 meeting with the deputy minister of education.

On April 14 Kuzyk collected feedback from the Livingstone Range admin council and school principals.

That was followed by meetings with the school division’s numeracy, literacy, First Nations, Metis and Inuit, and early learning committees.

Concerns raised by those committees included age-appropriateness, a missing Indigenous component and the lack of opportunities for students to engage in creativity, exploration, and higher-level thinking.

There is also concern teachers and students spent 14 months learning to teach and learn in new ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Piloting a new curriculum adds additional change in classrooms.

On April 16 Kuzyk attended a piloting information session hosted by Alberta Education.

Livingstone Range staff and parents were encouraged to fill out the government’s “Have Your Say” survey.

Kuzyk also provided a Livingstone Range survey tool that went into depth with parts of the draft curriculum.

The school division also used a curriculum comparison tool and accessed information both for and against the draft curriculum from academics in the province.

Trustee Brad Toone thanked school division administration for its “in-depth dive” into the draft curriculum.

“It’s always crazy when these things come up in our already busy schedules,” Toone said, “With everything that’s going on with COVID . . . this has just been huge for you and we appreciate everything you have done.”

“It really helped form our decision.”

Trustee Clara Yagos agreed.

“I think we have come up with a logical and reasonable conclusion to this,” Yagos said.

Livingstone Range will write Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid and the Alberta School Boards Association outlining its position.

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