Division will not pilot new draft curriculum

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The Livingstone Range School Division has announced it will not be piloting the province’s new draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum for several stated reasons.
The school division made the announcement on April 21.
The board of trustees determined the division will not pilot the draft curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year, after a motion was passed at the board’s April 21 meeting.
“Based on recommendations from senior administration, Livingstone Range School Division will opt out of the curriculum pilot,” says Lori Hodges, board chair. “With considerations of timing, stakeholder feedback, and the impact on students and teachers, we feel it’s not in the best interest of students and teachers to pilot this curriculum.”
The school board said teachers and students have spent the last 14 months learning to teach and learn in new ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that piloting a new curriculum adds additional unnecessary change in classrooms.
Providing students and teachers with a consistent and stable learning environment is important when so many things have changed and continue to change because of the pandemic. The timing of the piloting and future curriculum implementation is not ideal.
Stakeholder feedback
After examining the draft curriculum in depth, senior administration sought feedback from school-based administrators and lead teachers in numeracy; literacy; First Nations, Métis, and Inuit; and early learning. These educators expressed concerns about the age-appropriateness of the curriculum; the missing Indigenous component of the curriculum; and the lack of opportunities for students to engage in creativity, exploration, and higher-level thinking.
Parents from the jurisdiction have reached out to provide comments that they were uncomfortable with Livingstone Range School Division piloting the curriculum. This stakeholder feedback contributed to the board’s discussion and ultimate decision to not pilot the curriculum.
Impact on students and teachers
The school board seeks to make decisions in the best interest of students, in alignment with the mission, vision, and core values. The trustees said the new curriculum at this time may be overwhelming for both students and teachers, may leave learning gaps for students, may result in lack of very important parent support, and may have a negative effect on the mental health of both students and teachers.
“Our commitment to ‘Every student, every day’ has guided the trustees’ decision-making process to opt out of the curriculum pilot,” said Hodges. “Because we value collaboration and leadership, we will continue to examine the draft curriculum and provide feedback through the ministry of education’s channels.”
The school board hopes to contribute in a meaningful way to the review process and to excellence in education for all students in Alberta.